Organize your kitchen with these helpful tips

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A professional organizer shares her secrets for clearing the clutter in the most used room in the house (KTRK)

After reviewing your current organization, follow these helpful tips from organizer Charlotte Rodriguez.

EMPTY ALL CABINETS AND PANTRY

As you remove items from the cabinets and pantry, review expiration dates and toss if expired or if the canned goods have bulges. Check flour, sugars, etc. for insects.

If you have an excessive amount of one product and don't use it a lot, consider donating the food.

Sort items into groups like canned goods, baking, pasta, etc. so when you reorganize your cabinets you have a view of how much space you will need for your assorted groups.

DRAWERS

Sort utensils, cutlery, and your miscellaneous items drawers. When organizing your silverware and cutlery, try to put all similar items in the same drawer.

Most people have a catch all drawer. Carefully go through this drawer making sure to toss or donate what you do not need or use.

SPICE DRAWER OR CABINET

It is a good idea when you purchase your spices to write the date on the side of the container. Then you will know how old your spices are.

You should follow this rule of thumb:
- Ground spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, turmeric): 2-3 years
- Herbs (basil, oregano, parsley): 1-3 years
- Seasoning blends: 1-2 years
- Whole spices (cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon sticks): 4 years
- Seeds: 4 years (except for poppy and sesame seeds, which should be discarded after 2 years)
- Extracts: 4 years (except for vanilla, which will last forever)

When you are going through your spices, determine what spices you really use. There is no need to keep spices that are not used because it will take up space. Donate or toss the others.

DISH CABINET

When it comes to your dishes, consider what you use and what you don't. If you have several items which you never use, consider donating them. When organizing your dishes, have the dishes most frequently used in the most accessible place. Other dishes can be put on higher shelves if they aren't used often.

POTS AND PANS

Take a good look at these because many of us have several pots and pans that we never use or some that have seen better days. If this is the case, consider why you still have it. If it is an item you love to cook with, no matter how old it is, keep it. Donate the pots and pans you don't use.

When putting them away, make sure to put them someplace that is easy to access.

KITCHEN APPLIANCES

If you purchased something you thought you would use and never do, consider donating or selling it.

Put the most frequently used kitchen appliances in an area that is easy to access, and the others in a less accessible space.

SNACK AREA

Having a separate space for snacks in a cabinet or pantry works well for some families. Make sure to separate snacks so you know which ones you are running low on.

REFRIGERATOR/FREEZER

When taking things out of the refrigerator be sure to check expiration dates and discard the expired items. Check fruits and vegetables for spoilage.

Organize like items together, such as condiments, drinks, fruits, and vegetables, dairy products, and meats.

Go through your freezer and toss any expired items. Organize like items together, such as meats, ice cream, and frozen foods.

SOME HELPFUL HINTS

Make sure you have adequate storage containers and baskets. If you are on a tight budget you can still organize your kitchen by shopping at the following places: Dollar Store, 99 Cents Store, or Walmart. You can also find some good deals on Amazon or shop QVC, as they have great container storage sets.

Label cabinets and storage containers for easy use by other family members.

Keep an erase board available in your kitchen so that when you are running low on something you can add it to the board. Putting it on the refrigerator is a handy spot.

Make sure your kitchen is functional and set up so that you can easily find things.

Avoid over buying, as it takes up a lot of space.

Periodically review your inventory and get rid of things you do not use.


Rodriguez purchased the following similar items from different stores and kept a log to see just how much she saved by shopping at the discount store.

Related Topics:
homestretch your dollarkitchen productsHouston
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