As I continue my series of deep cleaning the house room by room, I am on the last post on the kitchen. I am using tips that I learned from Melissa Ringstaff's website A Virtuous Woman. I must say that as I was trying to organize my information for today, I really had a hard time narrowing the information down. Melissa provides an incredible Bible study called "From Chaos to Calm" (that is soon to be a book) on her website that really goes into detail on how to keep house and home. I have downloads to details she gives on cleaning appliances around your kitchen properly, and how to properly clean the floors and walls of your kitchen. BUT Melissa has asked that I direct you to her site to get this information. I totally understand, especially since she is going to put all of this into a book for you. If you have not already checked out her Bible Study "From Chaos to Calm," you really, really need to. It was life changing for me.
Today we are going to look at the Pantry and Mealtime. My pantry is a MESS, so this is a great reminder for me as I prepare to get my meals ready for next week. So I'm going to start with highlighting stuff for the pantry and then talk about how to properly clean up around mealtime.
Pantry (Inventory Link Here) NOTE: some of the following information is my opinion (hey! It's my blog! I'm entitled to give my own opinion)
- Take stock of your stock: Take an inventory of what you have in your pantry (see link above). Make a list of things you are low on and things you should replace. By "replace" I mean, take a look a the nutritional value. Decide what you are willing to get rid of and replace with a healthier version.
- (Here goes my personal opinion I warned you about) About two weeks ago I gave in to temptation and bought a Hamburger Helper kit. The meal was delicious, but there was so much sodium, carbohydrates, and fat in the meal, it negated my hour-long workout earlier that day. As tempting as it is to have those "quick fix" meals at your hand, decide if that is really something worth having in your family. Don't get me wrong, having one or two of those meals (Hamburger Helper, a can of ravioli, or one of those meal in a can) is not that bad. You need things in there for times when you don't have the money in your budget for fresh food or when your husband is in charge of the meals or when you have the babysitter over during dinner time. There just needs to be something for that quick fix meal once in a while. Just don't make that take up your pantry.
- Snacks: Take inventory of the snacks you have available. I know (for serious I REALLY know) how yummy those Debbie Snacks are, but is that all you have to offer for your family to enjoy? Take a look at what you have. Do you have dried fruit? How about baked chips? Or even those incredible veggie chips they have available now. It may take some retraining on your part and your family's part on finding healthier options, but it will be worth it in the long run.
- Staples: Make a list of the staple items you just need to have in your pantry. Check out the sales papers and stock up when you can. For example, about once a month or so, Publix tends to have spaghetti sauce, pasta noodles, and tomatoes on sale for BOGOF. I tend to stay away from most canned veggies (there's really not that much nutritional value to them so I use either frozen or fresh), but canned tomatoes is really a must for me. I stock up on all kinds when it's on sale (diced, stewed, with green chilis, zesty, etc). They are great to add to soups, pasta dishes, or on top of a crockpot chicken. I also bake a lot. So when I go to the store, I try to buy a small bag of flour (not always all-purpose; sometimes I buy wheat or bread flour). Also, if I haven't made my own baking mix, I try to stock up on that as well (just be careful of the expiration date. If I have extras, I put it in a ziplock bag and then put in the freezer). Also, it's a good idea to have a couple of cans or boxes of low sodium broth. Those work in soups, rice, and even a little splash works great when steaming or cooking veggies.
- Organization: Once you have all that you need for your shelves, organize it for easy access and in order of importance. Since my pantry is open, I organize mine for safety. I keep all my ceramic storage bins (that has flour, sugar, rice, and grits) on the top shelf. I really, really don't want to have to clean up that mess. My next shelf I have all items that are in glass containers. Although my older kids can reach these items, I'm not as worried about them dumping the items on the floor. My next shelf has items that are in boxes or bags (like those packets of Tuna Sensations...yum!) My bottom shelf has all the canned items. I know that if these get pulled off the shelves, the chances of them landing painfully on someone's toes is not that high. The biggest problem I get with these being on the bottom shelf is how some little kid (Abigail) ends up stacking them. At least she isn't stacking the glass jars. :)
- Take a look at how I organize my meals in a previous post.
NOTE: Her tips here are mostly for those who do not have a dishwasher. I can tell you, though, that when my dishwasher was broken for 4 months, these tips were GREAT! You don't appreciate things such as a dishwasher until you don't have one.
- Mealtime Clean Up Tools:
- GET GLOVES. I didn't at first and my hands dried out quickly. Once I got some good gloves, I was able to handle hotter water for my dishes and I looked adorable. :)
- Mealtime Clean Up Order:
- Pre-treat spills with stain remover. My goodness! Do this! Even if you have just a plian old table cloth or Dollar General placemats, if you pre-treat pretty quickly, you will not regret it.
- Stack dishes according to how you are going to wash them. NOTE: I do this even when I have a dishwasher. I have a container next to my sink that I put utensils in to soak while I load the rest of the dishes. It's the last thing I empty. This really helps loosen and remove food stuck on the spoons, forks, and knives. I also separate and organize dishes for top shelf and bottom shelf. This way I don't have to keep going back and forth.
- Handwashing the Dishes:
- Begin washing the least soiled dishes first, such as your drinking glasses
- The water: replace water if it gets too soiled or lukewarm. The water should be about as hot as you can handle to kill germs (and loosen grease). The hotter the water, the more quickly your dishes air dry.
- Put dishes away as soon as you are done washing them. If your water was hot enough, the dishes should be dried by the time you are done. If you put the dishes away immediately, this will really help keep your kitchen clean. And, if you remember from before, it's best to begin cooking the next meal in a clean kitchen. Just clean as you go!
- If you have a dishwasher: make sure you do the pots and pans last. While you are washing the rest of your dishes, soak the soiled pots and pans. If I have something that can go on the stove, I will boil water in the dirty dishes while I washing the rest. This will loosen the stuck on food to make washing easier. AND if you cannot fit the dishes into the dishwasher, then handwash them. The last thing you want to do is walk into the kitchen in the morning to see a dirty dish in the sink. If you start the day with a clean sink, it really will motivate you more.
|Photo credit: http://16sparrows.typepad.com/16sparrows/2010/02/washing-dishes.html|
Next week I will move on to the bedroom.