It’s that time of year: the clocks have just gone back, we’re seeing the last of the long weekends, the weather is getting cooler and the nights are getting darker. But before you get back to that comfy groove on the couch, take a few moments to ready your space for the long months of indoor activities ahead, starting with the kitchen.
Purge the pantry and fridge
Over the summer you’ve no doubt tried all sorts of new sauces and salad dressings, you’ve not wanted to take something half-gone to the neighbour’s BBQ and so you’ve bought another, and you’ve still got those awful candied almonds that Aunt Mabel gave you for Christmas. Before you fill the fridge, freezer and cupboards with foodstuffs for a long, hard winter (or a Game of Thrones marathon on a rainy Saturday), take a moment to throw out what you don’t need:
- Anything past its use by. Be honest, be lethal. Start with those funny looking boxes of spices at the back of the pantry
- Anything you won’t actually eat. Aunt Mabel’s unwanted Christmas gifts, sixteen cans of spaghetti from that day it was on special at the supermarket. Be realistic, if you aren’t going to eat it but it hasn’t gone off donate it and help others. Your pantry will be cleaner and you’ll feel good too.
- Interesting ingredients – if there’s anything in there that you’d love to try, but haven’t, then make a note and look up recipes online (or in our handy Recipe Box) that feature it. Kitchens where you experiment and have fun, challenge yourself!
Minimise the plastic
Do you have a plastic bag bag? A plastic bag drawer? Be realistic about how many you really do need and take the rest down to your local Op Shop. They’ll thank you and so will the cupboard. At the same time make a mental note to reuse fabric bags next time you’re at shops – many supermarkets are charging for bags now so your pocket and the planet will both thank you.
Sort out your Tupperware
Do you have cupboard into which Tupperware containers disappear, never to return again? Have a good sort through and recycle any that are too scratched or stained, or that are missing their lids. With those that are left create a divide or stacking solution in cupboard to make them easier to get to and easier to use. Our friends at BLUM have all sorts of drawer and cupboard inserts to keep kitchens tidy. They’ll be all set for all those new and exciting recipes you’re going to try!
Cull your plates and glassware
Nothing makes you feel better than getting rid of unnecessary chipped plates and glasses! In many urban centres you can even put glass and plastic into your recycle bin, but check with your local council first. You may think that you need the extras, but wait over the winter, and if you really do miss them then you’ve got the first items for your Christmas gift list!
Prioritise your utensils
You’ve probably got a favourite spoon or spatula you cook with nightly. Place these, and a few other frequently used items in a cute jar or container near your stovetop for easy access. Take the rest and find a good spot for them in a nearby drawer. Check out the BLUM website for some great in-drawer organisers, but make sure you throw out any old or bent utensils, and deliver any unnecessary duplicates to your local charity.
Organise your takeaway menus
Let’s face it, we’d all love to be like Nigella but when it’s a rainy Friday night and everyone’s tired from a long week at work or school no one wants to cook! Pop all your takeaway menus into a clear file – that way they’re all in one place, nice and tidy and don’t get lost. Or you could forego the paper altogether and set up bookmarks to your favourite restaurants’ menus on your computer.
After this is done you’ll find space you never knew you had! Make the most of your de-cluttered kitchen and give it a good clean, in all the nooks and crannies you’ve newly rediscovered. Then you’ll definitely dserve that bowl of icecream and Downton Abbey rerun!
Thanks to Houzz, for the inspiration for this article.