Keep It Tidy
The kitchen is the heart of the home. It is from behind the stove where we can deeply nourish ourselves, and our families. Visitors always tend to navigate towards the kitchen, where they are often enticed by delicious treats sitting on the slate counter. We love to throw parties and find the kitchen is usually the first spot to overcrowd as folks make their way around our home. People are naturally drawn to the kitchen because it is indeed, the heart of the home.
I love to cook, as you know, but find that in order to do my best, I need a clean and organized work space. Wether you have a tiny kitchen or a large one, organization is the key to success. Even as a professional chef, I too get into food ruts. You know, those moments where ingredients don't look enticing, you've been making the same meals over and over, and are simply unmotivated to create in the kitchen. This is where the kitchen sweep comes into play!
The Kitchen Sweep is my way of doing a straight up deep clean of your pantry. Where, you literally pull everything out, view, asses, and consolidate your ingredients. If it sounds overwhelming, you're right, cause it can be! Well, that is only of you haven't looked through your larder in a long time.
What comes out of the kitchen sweep is often times tossing expired ingredients, removing empty jars or bags that are taking up space, consolidating similar ingredients, and putting back to order the ingredients on your shelves.
By doing a clean out of all your ingredients, you will have a better understanding of what you have, become inspired to use ingredients you haven't utilized in a while, and feel good about the cleanliness of your kitchen. It's motivating and every time I do a kitchen sweep, I immediately feel so much better.
I want to encourage you to reassess your kitchen, clean it out, and fall in love with cooking healthy, whole-food based meals for you and your loved ones. A kitchen sweep might just be a proper action step to get things moving!
So, crack open a nice bottle of vino, crank some tunes and lets do this!
How to Do a Kitchen Sweep
Step One: Make Space
Clear off your counters or dinner table because you're going to need somewhere for the items in your pantry to land.
Step Two: Empty Your Cupboards
Seriously, take every single jar, box, bag, or sprouting potato out of all the places you store food. Use some vinegar water and clean those shelves, which are likely covered with a bunch of schmutz. You can hold off on the freezer and fridge, we'll get there later.
Step Three: Assess
Start browsing through the likely massive pile of ingredients you now have created. Check the Sell/Use By dates, look for mold, critters, hardened ingredients, or any unknown items. Compost, recycle, or toss any mysterious items.
Step Four: Condense and Consolidate
Do you have 1 cup of ingredients in a gallon sized jar? Huge bags with barely anything in there? Now's the time to start placing ingredients in properly sized containers. If you are like me and you have a need to save every glass jar you've ever used, then you should have no problem finding a smaller jar.
Step Five: Label
I can't tell you how often I forget to label an ingredient then months later, I just can't seem to find it. I know I bought plenty and I know it's in my cupboard, but without a label, I sometimes can't tell what's what. So bust out a sharpie and a few labels, and put them on everything!
Step Six: Reorganize
Now that you've done all the dirty work, it's time to reorganize your cupboards. Place large containers in the back, smaller up front and keep similar items together. Notice how neat and organized everything looks now.