There’s something most people overlook that can have a profound effect on your ability to eat well everyday.
I’m talking about your kitchen.
That’s why I want to give you a plan for turning your kitchen into one that you’ll love in one week or less.
Now, I know that cleaning and organizing your kitchen is probably not on your fun list.
But I promise this will pave the way for fun adventures we’ll have in your kitchen soon.
Sadly, the average kitchen is far from ready to support healthy, happy, and adventurous food prep. Instead, it’s disorganized and full of items that are either unhealthy or just forgotten and taking up space.
If that describes your kitchen, here’s what you can do. (Note: Go at your own pace. If you just want to get all this done, you can do it in a day or two. Or, you can space it out over a week.)
Make a list of all the equipment and utensils you don’t yet own that you wish you had. Put a star by items you really want to get right away (to distinguish them from the ones that are more like dream items you can put off purchasing for a while).
Make a list of all the ingredients you’d like to have in your kitchen—stuff that would support you in making delicious, healthy food anytime you want.
Go through your kitchen and move everything that isn’t in the refrigerator into another room, such as the dining room. This means all the foods in your cabinets, all the utensils and appliances, seriously everything. You’ll know you have completed this step when your kitchen is as empty as it would be if a new person were moving in (except for the stuff in the fridge).
Do a deep cleaning of your kitchen, which is much easier now that it’s empty. Scrub all those drawers and cabinets, hitting every corner, nook, and cranny, until the entire room is delightfully clean.
Clear out your refrigerator and freezer, discarding all unhealthy or unappealing foods and keeping only items that you’ll use.
Temporarily empty all the remaining items from your fridge and freezer, and do a thorough cleaning, wiping down every wall, shelf, and drawer. When your refrigerator is sparklingly clean and pleasing to your eyes and nose, you can put the keeper items back in.
Return to the non-refrigerated food items you put in the other room. Get rid of any spices, dried fruits, nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes that are over a year old.
Go through the rest of the non-refrigerated food you put in the other room, and get rid of everything that isn’t on your ingredients list you made above. This includes all the unhealthy foods, of course, but it also includes the healthy ones that you never seem to eat but think you “might” someday. Throw them away or donate them. This might seem drastic, but, again, it’s important to completely free your kitchen of both tempting foods you’d regret eating and of clutter. We’re making space for healthy foods, a healthy lifestyle, and a healthy you!
Put all the items you’re keeping back into your clean kitchen. Here’s how I like to group them:
- Sea vegetables
- Dried fruits
- Whole grains
Store these items in quart-size glass mason jars so you can see what’s inside. This is not only practical, but it also looks pretty! (While you’re at it, get some extra jars for storing smoothies, soups, and salad dressings in the fridge. I even use jars as drinking glasses for water, juice, and tea!)
Go grocery shopping to buy any items that you put on the ingredients list you made above.
Once you get the food items:
1. You should put most produce in the refrigerator. There are some notable exceptions, though. Never refrigerate bananas and tomatoes because they’ll turn mushy and lose their flavor. Onions and garlic should be kept at room temperature as well.
2. Some fruits, such as avocados, bananas, pears, plums, peaches, and melons, continue to ripen after you buy them. If they’re not ripe when you first get them home, store them at room temperature until they’re ready. Then transfer them to the refrigerator if you aren’t going to eat them right away. They’ll usually keep for several more days.
3. Put the staple ingredients in your cabinets, in the appropriate sections.
Go through all the equipment and tools you moved from your kitchen to the other room, separating out anything that you actually use and that’s in working condition. Those are your keepers. Next, gather any equipment that you won’t be using or that’s worn out, and go donate it somewhere.
Put the keeper equipment and tools away in your kitchen, storing each item as close as you can to where you’ll actually use it. For example, keep the juicer on the counter by the sink, the blender and food processor on the counter where you chop, and so on. All other tools should be within easy reach from your counter. This will greatly increase your efficiency and pleasure in the kitchen.
For the remaining items on the equipment list that you made above and want to get right away, either order them online, or purchase them at a cookware store. Then store them in your kitchen, again putting them as close as possible to where you’ll be using them.
Okay, so there you have it—your roadmap to a kitchen you’ll love. Now don’t take longer than a week to do it, because next week I’m going to give you some savory breakfast recipes, and you’ll want to start your days by savoring them in your sparkly new kitchen!