Fall Back (Into an organized home)

I had already been working on a post about cleaning and organizing your home for fall, when THIS happened. The big one of 2011 has jumbled my already precariously perched tupperware and pot lids, and shuffled my spices. Alas, I was going to start with the closets, but G-d, apparently, wanted me to start in the kitchen.

G-d could have told me to clean the kitchen first by getting me a new microwave or whispering in my hub’s ear to “go forth and clean out.” Stranger things have happened. G-d working in mysterious ways and all. Just look at the platypus.

As you see, my Gatorade almost bit it. That would’ve been a sticky situation.

note to self: check to see if husband has stacked tupperware on TOP of a stock pot.

My hubs is Chinese, we need A LOT of tea.

For the next 6 weeks, until the beginning of fall, every Wednesday will be the “Fall Back” organization series. EVERYONE needs to really look at their home and thingsĀ  with a very discerning eye, and decide what needs to go and what can stay, and to really, really clean your home with non-chemical, inexpensive cleaners. You don’t want to end up on “Hoarders,” do you?

This week will focus on the kitchen. This room tends to get wayyyy out of control and overwhelmed with things very quickly.

Major Steps

  1. Day 1: Take EVERYTHING off of the counter and clean with baking soda and vinegar. Rinse with water. Do the same with the backsplash This is also good for grout, use a toothbrush loaded with baking soda and a smidge of water, and go at it.
  2. Day 2:Clean out your toaster (oven) and microwave. For the toaster oven, shake it out, halve a lemon, dip it in kosher salt, and scrub the inside (UNPLUGGED!!!)
  3. Day 2: Clean out your microwave. Take a large, microwave safe, glass bowl, fill it halfway with water and use the other half of the lemon you used to clean the toaster and place it in the bowl. Microwave on high until the water is boiling and steaming. Take the bowl out of the microwave, and immediately wipe down the interior of the microwave
  4. Day 3: Take EVERYTHING out of the fridge and clean it out by removing EVERY shelf and wash it with dish soap. Clean the interior with a spray bottle filled with 3/4 water 1/4 vinegar
  5. Day 3: Do the same with the freezer. (put the frozen food in a cooler temporarily)
  6. Day 4: -Biggest Day-Take EVERYTHING out of the cabinets, one cabinet at a time (more below in “minor steps”)
  7. Day 5:Wipe out your oven with lemon juice and baking soda, and then set to self clean. Pull out overhead vent filter and spray off and clean with dish soap and water.
  8. Day 5: put your coffee basket, and pot into the dishwasher-if you can’t, use salt and lemon juice to clean
  9. Day 5: pull out the oven and fridge and mop or steam mop entire floor and under appliances. If you have baseboards, I suggest the Mr Clean baseboard mop.

Minor Steps:

  1. After washing out your fridge, place a cereal bowl full of water with 1 T of vanilla extract into the back of the fridge, in front of the fan, until it evaporates. This will leave your fridge smelling fresh and clean. Replace your baking soda box in both the freezer and fridge.
  2. CABINETS!! Take everything out of each cabinet, vacuum out any old spices that have fallen, flour that has escaped, and then wipe it out with a damp cloth.
  3. SURVEY EVERYTHING. How old is it? If you remember buying it when GWB was president-throw it out. Is it cracked? Is the tupperware missing its lid? Does it have BPA or teflon in/on it? If you answered YES to any of these things, toss it. If it needs to be cleaned-clean it.
  4. Place like with like and consider consolidating. Do you have 15 a few boxes of tea with a few teabags in each? If they are labeled, why not place them together in a container, separated by paper towel so they don’t bleed flavors? Do you have more than 2 open containers of nut butter? Use them up!! Cookie party?

TIPS:

If you can, have the most used articles you cook with i.e., spoons, spatulas, measuring cups, knives, on the side of the oven of your dominant hand. For example, I am right handed, so my knives, wooden spoons, etc are on the right facing side.

Don’t stack plates more than 6 high. If you have a lot of ceramic plates, use plate dividers or a cloth napkin between every 6. This makes them less likely to chip.

Flour only lasts 6mo before it needs tossed. It.goes.rancid.

To test baking powder, place 1T in 1 cup of water, if it fizzes it’s good. Baking SODA however WILL need to BE REPLACED every 90 days in the cabinets, 30 days in the fridge/freezer.

DO NOT store your EVOO in clear glass on the counter. LIGHT damages it.

If your brown sugar gets hard, place a white roll in with it for a few days, this should bring it back. If it doesn’t, try nuking it, if THAT doesn’t work, use it in boiling preparations or toss it.

Honey and Salt last forever.

You ONLY need to store bread in the freezer if you live in a humid climate.

Don’t hang mugs that you want to keep forever by their handle, it breaks them down more quickly.

Oh, and listen to music/podcasts/books on mp3 while you do this. It makes the time go faster in the way it does while you’re running.

Have FUN. And I will post my after pictures for you.

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