Food from the Hart

Posts Tagged ‘organizing’

Tip of the Day: Streamline Your Pantry

In Tips on September 29, 2011 at 11:39 am

Three boxes of half empty sugar, two-year old flour closed with a rubber band, brown rice scattered on the cabinet shelf; a variable war zone of common pantry items.  Does this sound familiar? With limited space it’s easy to fall victim to chronic pantry disorganization.

Avoid becoming just another statistic and try streamlining your pantry.  I suggest purchasing hermetic glass jars to store dry ingredients. You’ll be able to see what you have on hand and stay organized. They’re inexpensive and seal to keep moisture and air out, keeping items fresher, longer.  If you want to get really fancy, label and date each jar.

To purchase: The Container Store, $2.99 each



Kitchen Therapy: Spring Cleaning

In Features on March 11, 2011 at 5:05 pm

With spring right around the corner, it’s time for the annual spring cleaning ritual. This yearly tradition is important for everyone, but even more so for those of us living in small spaces.

We organize our closets, donate old sweaters and shoes, clear clutter and throw out year-old newspapers, but often we forget about the kitchen and pantry.  In the spirit of spring and new awakenings, extend your purge to your kitchen cabinets and refrigerator.  Here are some tips for springing into April on the right foot.

Dinnerware / Cutlery

Dinnerware and cutlery often get overlooked when it comes time to clean.  I bet you have a least one cracked plastic glass from a baseball game in 1999 and old mismatched dinner plates from college. With limited space to store items for entertaining it’s important to clear out what’s mismatched and old to make room for items that are usable for both everyday and special occasion.  This can be an expensive venture, but it doesn’t have to be.  There are plenty of inexpensive places to buy durable and versatile dinnerware.

I suggest investing in these core items:

8-12 white place settings, including dinner plates, salad plates, bowls

8-12 glass tumblers

8-12 wine glasses

8-12 coffee cups or handless mugs (handless mugs store easier and are more versatile)

8-12 place setting of flatware (knives, forks, spoons)

1-2 large white serving platters

1 set of nesting mixing bowls

12-24 votive candle holders

2 tablecloths

10-12 cloth napkins

For great deals on any of these items check out the following:


Crate and Barrel


10 Strawberry Street at

Refrigerator & Freezer
  • Contrary to popular believe common fridge items like mustard and ketchup do go bad.  Check the door of your fridge and ditch anything that’s been lurking for more than 1 year.  If you don’t know how long something has been “chilling”, throw it away.  Chances are it’s been there too long.
  • It’s ever a good idea to use harsh chemicals or cleaners where you store food, but giving your fridge a good wipe down with more than water is a must.  Try mixing vinegar and water together to create an eco-friendly and food-safe disinfectant.
  • For your freezer, take an inventory and purge anything that looks like it has freezer burn or has been in for over 6 months.  Again, if you’re not sure, toss it.  Use your vinegar / water disinfectant mix to clean any surfaces.
  • Similar to the refrigerator/freezer, ditch anything that’s been open for more than 6 months.  This means half empty boxes of pasta, rice, crackers, etc.
  • Give your spices a once over.  Anything that has been around for over 1 year should be thrown away.  Spices don’t necessarily go bad, but over time they do lose their flavor.

And after all this spring cleaning fun is over, donate anything usable to charity and reward your efforts with a strong cocktail! Happy cleaning!

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