This week I think our time will be best served in the kitchen/pantry. Summer is such a busy time, with all the extra activities and that means extra little hands in the refrigerator! So, it seems as though that is as good a place as any to start. Let's dive in...
Fruits and vegetables should be fairly obvious as to whether or not they are bad. No question there! Oh yes, and don’t forget to compost! Autumn, after the garden has finished giving us her wonderful bounty, is the perfect time to till up the garden… and we will need that compost in the spring!
Cleaning out the refrigerator also gives us an opportunity to straighten and rearrange everything, so it has a little more semblance of order. You may even want to point this out to the family, “I just spent the afternoon cleaning and rearranging the fridge, guys. Please help me keep it this way!”
Let’s not forget the freezer! If you aren’t in the habit of writing the date on items as they go in, you may want to start that now. It is also a good practice to get into to rotate the items in the freezer, newest items to the back, oldest items to the front to use first. Plus, with the canning and freezing season upon us it is imperative to have extra freezer space, and cupboard space for all of our new fresh yummies! I just blanched and froze 12 ziptop bags of Roma tomatoes this past week, and my friend is going to show me how she cans tomorrow!
Feel free to refresh your memories with my original posts on this area:
Next? The pantry or cupboards. Enlist some kids help with this (they don't have to be your kids... nieces, nephews, or even the neighbor's kids!). Again, these items (spices, mixes, crackers, pasta, and any other stuff) can be composted. Their containers (cardboard boxes and such) should be able to be broken down for recycling, leaving virtually no waste (or, realistically, cardboard and paper can be composted as well if you have the space)!
Cupboards and pantry (in my opinion) go hand in hand in the kitchen. Don’t forget the dreaded plastic container cupboard (dun dun DUN... insert evil presence bad guy music here). This, you must tackle. Pair all containers with lids. Any lid without a bottom, or vice versa, has to go in the recycling. Straighten containers! Stack them neatly! Put all lids together in one place! You would be surprised what a space saver this is, and how easy it will be to pair tops and bottoms when it is time to put some leftovers away!
You may also want to sort through dishes, plates, cups, baking pans, etc. to decide if you really use all of the utensils (don’t forget the gadget drawer!) in your kitchen. While you are here, you may as well take care of everything! Swap, recycle, sell, or donate whatever turns up. Happy bagua, happy mind!
For a quick review of the original pantry post, click here:
Any sections I forgot that your kitchen has and mine doesn't? Go around the room, counterclockwise, through each shelf, cupboard, nook, and cranny. Clear each space. Make room in your bagua, make room in your life!
Finally, grab a broom or your vacuum cleaner and sweep up! Again, I am a fan of doing a semi-annual cleaning (floors, walls, kickboards, windows) but if the mood doesn’t strike you, at the very least try to do the windows and floors. Also, I use a drain freshener of salt, baking soda and white vinegar weekly to keep scum from building up in drains. This also helps keep the fruit flies/fungus gnats down. Pour a half- cup of salt, then a half-cup of baking soda followed by a cup of vinegar into the drain. Let the drain foam for as long as possible, even overnight, and then flush with boiling water
I have houseplants outside all summer (for sale, of course!), and when they come inside I annually have a problem with these little pests. First, if your plants will tolerate it, allow the soil to dry completely for up to two weeks. This should rid your plants of most of them. I have also flushed the soil with a light solution of liquid soap (Ivory or other) and water to get them out of the soil while they are still outside. More information can be found from various sources on the interweb.
There! Clean fridge, clean cupboards, clean pantry! Ready for the winter months in a clean and organised kitchen! What’s next?