Let's say you want to organize your kitchen. The first step is to look in all of your cabinets. If they are stuffed and you can't see what's in them, take everything out, and put on counter-top or table. Sort through your stuff, and see what you want eliminated. When you have four of the same pan, and you only cook twice a week think about the space the other pans are taking up for other kitchen gadgets that can come in handy. Ask yourself "what is this doing in my real estate?" People accumulate cooking utensils, pots, pans, bowls, Tupperware, knives, fancy kitchen gadgets, all in the hopes of becoming Emeril Lagasse or The Barefoot Contessa, but it's not the pan or the pot that will make you a great chef. If you look into your spice cabinet and you see spices and herbs from 12 years back that were never used....NO they are not still okay. If you have 5 Parsley or Basil bottles all half empty combine them into the largest bottle. It is not the spices that make you a great chef either. It's a combination of ease of accessing your and combining ingredients
A friend of mine collected so much Tupperware over the years, stuffing them into a bottom kitchen cabinet that went so far back, it was difficult to reach anything. She had to literally lunge her body into the cabinet to get to a Tupperware in the back. One time she became stuck in this particular cabinet. The more she struggled to get out, the more she became stuck. We don't want to stretch ourselves that much to be a great chef.
Many kitchens I see are stuffed to the brim, with most of the products, in the back of the cabinet. Dishes, glasses, bowls, Tupperware, pots and pans and pantry cabinets, lost and forgotten, and often outdated and Yuk!
One refrigerator I cleaned out had a package of meat that was 7 years old. Yummy!
Let's face it nobody wants to have kitchen disorganization but, with busy schedules and harried shopping, we often end up with at least three of everything, which causes in-efffectual cooking experiences.
Taking a look at everything in your kitchen, weeding out the too much and the too awful to keep, donating, giving away or tossing is the beginning of the organizing process. Next is alphabetizing your spices and herbs in or on a spice organizer in your cabinet or drawer closest to your stove. Alphabetizing spices makes it easy to cook, without hunting and pecking while your garlic is burning in the pan. Next get the pots and pans you use the most in the front of the cabinet, leaving the occasional pots and pans in the back of the cabinet. If you have the deep cabinets that go so far back that you have to enter them to reach something, let empty space be empty space. Don't go there. It really helps to have drawers or pull outs in cabinets so you don't pull out your back reaching into the far too deep spaces.
Next get rid of the hundreds of mis-matched coffee cups, glasses or plates unless they are hugely sentimental, and keep great sets, ( a set is four or more of the same item) that you love, in the cabinets nearest your dishwasher. Have a junk drawer for heaven's sake, but clean it out every couple of months so you have room for more junk. Junk drawers are okay so junk doesn't end up on the counter-top. If you don't have enough drawers for a junk drawer get a counter top organizer or basket with a lid or a cabinet specified for stuff you collect. Piles of mail and bills and rubber bands and whatever stuff does not belong on counter tops.
Refrigerators are for fresh food and food should not be kept in refrigerators very long. Food in refrigerators are for eating. Learn how to shop for food, not until you drop, but until you eat every drop. Buy enough food for you and or your family that is sufficient for every two weeks. When that food is finished go to the market again. Stop buying impulsively and look at what is in your fridge or pantry prior to going to the market so you don't end up with 9 bottles of ketchup or four boxes of strawberries. Food does turn. If you even have the slightest doubt that food or condiments or canned or bottled good or even frozen food has turned, don't take a chance, toss it.
Now for becoming a great chef, the essential ingredients are usually fresh food, just the right amount of fresh herbs and spices, fresh organic vegetables, fresh garlic and of course an organized kitchen. Just take your time and plan your meals. Go to www.epicurious.com for recipes, or become spontaneous if you are in the mood. With an organized kitchen, your cooking experience will fare....no pun intended....better.
Marla Stone is a Professional Organizer at www.i-deal-lifestyle.com. Contact Marla at firstname.lastname@example.org
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