10 Items To Get Rid Of In Your Kitchen
Give your cupboards a good cleaning
We are encroaching on the start of a new school year which means a new beginning for many of us. It’s a great time to prioritize some organizational projects to start the school year off right.
The kitchen is the center of attention in most of our homes. It is the place where everyone gathers to eat, prepare food, socialize and get things done. So many of our daily needs are found right in the kitchen. As a result, it’s important to keep these areas clean and organized. One good way to optimize their function is to do an annual kitchen purge. Get rid of what you do not need and should not hang on to.
Check out my list of the top ten things to get rid of in your kitchen, and see if you can find a way to declutter your favorite room to keep your cooking area safe.
. The Kitchen Sponge
Since the sponge often stays moist it can hold bacteria and cause illness if not cleaned sufficiently. Run the sponge through the dishwasher cycle each time you run the dishwasher. Replace them after a week of use. Don’t be stingy with these scrubbers: change them out once a week. Better yet, replace them with dish rags that are easier to launder and don’t stay so moist.
BPA Plastic Containers
BPA is a chemical found in many household containers. This chemical can leach into food and liquids. Throw out any plastics that are not BPA-free, or are chipped or cracked. Avoid plastics with a 3 or 7 recycle code on the bottom.
Old or Expired Spices
Spices and dried herbs lose their effectiveness and potency after about three years. So, be sure to give your spice drawer a regular refresh. If the spice does not have that rich smell, it’s time to go. Tip: whole spices last longer then ground.
Old or Expired Cooking Oils
There are so many cooking oils available these days. Each one is best for something from searing and roasting to baking and high heat. I have personally accumulated quite a collection in my pantry! Most oils last about six months after opening if stored in a dark place. Get rid of the oils that have been around for too long!
Expired Baking Soda and Baking Powder
These two kitchen staples have a long shelf-life. But, they do have expiration dates at which point they may not give your baked goods the lift you’re expecting. Additionally, if you use baking soda as an air freshener in the refrigerator, it will lose its’ effectiveness after about three months. A quick test to see if these staples are still active is to mix hot water and vinegar. Drop some baking soda or powder in. If it bubbles and fizzes, it’s good to go, If not, it’s time for a replacement.
Opened Jars of Tomato Sauce
We don’t always use an entire jar of tomato sauce when we’re cooking. So, the open jar ends up in the refrigerator and forgotten about. The maximum time in the refrigerator for these jars is seven days. Consider marking your opening date on the jar with a sharpie to keep track!
The freezer is a great tool, especially when it comes to food prep and planning. What would we do without one!? But too much time in the freezer causes freezer burn which dehydrates your food and gives it a dried-out taste and texture. Avoid freezer burn by storing your food in airtight freezer-safe containers and by not leaving food in the freezer for too long. Food starts showing signs of freezer burn after about three months. So, clean out your freezer and get rid of any food-growing crystals every season!
Rubber utensils can crack and melt, thus becoming hosts to bacteria. Instead, opt for silicone which can handle much higher heat and is easier to maintain.
Expired Vitamins and Medicines
Taking your vitamins and medication is a good thing, but once expired, they can be potentially dangerous. Dispose of expired vitamins and medicine in a safe way. Most cities and towns host a drop-off day. Additionally, your local pharmacy may have a safe way to dispose of them. Please don’t flush these hazardous materials down the toilet! They can contaminate the water supply causing safety risks to humans and marine life.
Flours are another pantry staple that often get forgotten about. Be sure and store your flours in airtight containers. Refined flours can attract bugs (yuck!). Know your flours’ shelf-life and get rid of any that are past their prime!