When I was growing up, I used to think my mom was CRAZY for keeping the house so clean. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t leave all my shoes at the backdoor, why my clothing had to be picked up off the floor in my room, and why everything had to have it’s own certain spot and be organized.
I’m sure every teen and kid is like that, but I never thought I’d change and I’m sure she’d be happy to know that I’ve now turned into her.
Going to the Container Store and looking at all of the wonderful organization tools gets me excited. I love how everything they have makes your kitchen and your home look so perfect! My apartment is small and my kitchen is even smaller.
Note to self: When we move to Portland, I don’t care WHERE we live, the kitchen has to be HUGE though with lots of windows so it’s easier for me to make all my delicious allergy free foods AND take beautiful photos for you! That’s definitely on the top of the list and I know Adam would agree because we actually do spend pretty much time in our dinky little kitchen as it is.
We have all of our dinner meals in there every night, well, unless it’s Sunday or we go out to eat and I’m always in there cooking and dancing away to my favorite tunes thanks to the awesome wireless stereo system Adam got me a few Xmases ago.
But again, everything has to have its place and this past weekend I decided it was time to do a little spring cleaning (spring is in 15days you know).
Here are a few tips you can take from what I’ve found online and used and from what I do in my home to make your allergy free kitchen just a little more organized… and I know if you are gluten free like I am, you know that storing all those flours isn’t easy so I’m going to give you a tip I use!
Hmm… where shall we start..
Organize the dried and canned goods in your panty so that everything is grouped by the type of food that it is. Dried foods should be on one shelf. Canned foods should be on another.
If you get Ball jars, or another type of glass jar, it will make it easier to store all of those dried foods such as rice, lentils, etc. In a second you’re going to see that I use Ball jars for my flours, but when it comes to lentils, rice, quinoa, and other items, I actually just slowly accumulated glass jars from other kitchen foods I’ve used (a huge glass jar of olives washed out and labels removed makes a perfect storing container).
Additionally, I’ve hit up thrift stores, yard sales, Goodwill, and more to get other jars I can use for storing items. It makes it so much easier when you can actually see through the jar and know what’s inside. And if you want to save some cash you can then buy in bulk too and store the large bags somewhere less accessible and refill your containers when necessary.
Most importantly when it comes to organizing in the kitchen and spring cleaning, I hate storing my flours.
I have about 10 different types of flours and gums that I need to store in my kitchen because I cook gluten free. It’s a pain to have all those bags that spill open and don’t stay closed and so I decided to use Ball Jars as a way to keep everything organized
If you buy the Ball Jar brand, the opening of the jars are pretty wide so it’s easier to fit your 1/4c and 1/2c inside, but other jars do have smaller openings so pay attention… Then again, you should always spoon your flours into your measuring cups anyway to have the most accurate measurement.
If you have an actual door that opens, a great way to organize your items is with a shoe rack, like this one from the Container Store (though you can get a shoe rack like this from anywhere – Target, Walmart, Ikea)..
Instead of organizing your shoes in your closet, use this space to put seasoning or jello packets, bread crumbs, and other smaller, yet light, boxes of food that you can easily see and access. This is a cheap way to organize your pantry without having to spend a ton of money on someone redoing your entire organization system for you.
Don’t forget to throw out any dried or canned goods that are past the expiration date. Even check the ingredients on older items to ensure you can eat them, especially if you found out you have allergies or sensitivities in the past few years. Even now I still go through my cabinets and sometimes surprise myself with items I find that have soy in them and I didn’t realize, so into a box they go and if they’re not expired I donate them or give them to a friend or family member who will use them.
Next, let’s move on to your spices. I have a TON of dried spices in my kitchen and it’s ridiculously hard to find them in a cabinet, and just disorganized to throw them on my counter or stack them there on top of each other. It’s a never ending mess I can’t STAND!
There are two tools that I use to keep them organized though, a spice rack that spins (which you can get at your local Walmart or even on Amazon.com – some of them come already filled with spices that you just add new spices in)…
AND this great Mastrad Spice grinder from Williams Sonoma that fits several different spices into one grinder, yet saves a ton of space on my counter since the spices all stack together (and I can put the extra large bottles somewhere in a cabinet or the pantry for refills).
*Image courtesy of Williams Sonoma*
And finally, go through all your cabinets, clean and dust them and get rid of any kitchen appliances you haven’t used in over a year. You can sell them on Craigslist and make a bit of $$!
If you’re gluten free and have any old wooden spoons you used to use when you ate gluten, get rid of them too! Wooden items such as spoons or spatulas can actually still have gluten in them and could contaminate your foods.
Get rid of anything rusty and if you have any Cast Iron pans, now is the time to season them. If you need some help taking care of them, check out this article from Martha Stewart.
p.s. I absolutely LOVE this 30-day / 20min kitchen cleaning list from The Kitchn – I know, I haven’t been religiously following it, but once I get a little less busy I promise I will!!
Happy Spring Cleaning!