Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Taking Control of Your Kitchen ~ with guest blogger, Emma Banks



Is it really Spring? Well, right at this moment, the wind is seriously howling outside my office window and I see… snow. Small flakes are dancing in the whirling wintry gusts. Sigh. I do believe this IS the last of winter here. Please let it be! I have seeds to plant and veggies to grow!

With spring having sprung (in most areas of the US) it may just be time for some cleaning. Yes, I said it. The “C” word. Chase your winter blues away with a good spring-cleaning and especially your kitchen. If you’re a foodie, baker, recipe creator, culinary warrior… any or all of the above, you undoubtedly spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I know I do. So here are some very helpful tips from fellow blogger, Emma Banks, to help make things a little easier for you with healthy ways to spruce up your space! Her blog, Smile As It Happens (great title!) is a fun, free-flowing, eclectic mix of everything from DIY projects, food, friends, family, and life!


Taking Control of Your Kitchen
 with Emma Banks
I love cooking – the chopping, dicing, simmering and delicious smells. It’s where I spend most of my time, and it’s where (and how) I bring my family together after a hectic day. Since so much time is spent in my kitchen, I have to take the time to organize and clean it; it’s a necessary evil. When I finally stop putting it off, these are my go-to tips:

The Power of Baking Soda...


Before we even start talking about cleaning kitchens, we need to go over what you’ll be cleaning with. I don’t know about you, but I have two young kids, and the last thing I want is to use harsh chemicals on surfaces that they (or their food) will touch. Because of this, baking soda is a necessity. A dirty oven can be cleaned with a baking soda/water paste. A stainless steel sink looks new after letting the baking soda set and then scrubbing it away. And when I clean the shelves in my fridge, I just wash them with baking soda and hot water so that soaps/detergents won’t leave behind a scent that affects my food. There are a bunch of other uses for baking soda that you can find online.

When Life Gives You Lemons... Clean Your Kitchen!


Lemons are also incredibly helpful. They smell fresh, and the acidity helps break away some gross stains and smells. For example, when I want to clean my microwave I boil two cups of water with some lemon in it and then wipe the area clean. Another trick I have for cutting boards is scrubbing them with a lemon half and salt to get the onion, garlic, and other smells out of the wood. Just be sure to rub them with oil after.

Repurpose...

From using old tins as magnets, to finding a use for all of those old spaghetti sauce jars you go through, it’s easy to reuse all of your kitchen’s everyday items. A few examples include; using old CDs holders to hold Tupperware lids, putting plastic bags in empty tissue boxes, or putting your mustard/ketchup/butter/other condiments in a lazy Susan to keep your fridge in check. Over-the-door shoe hangers are great for organizing cleaning products and snacks.


Redecorate...

Finally, the fun part. Once a year, I try to make a change or add a piece that gives our kitchen a bit of personality. Last year my husband and I painted one of our walls with chalkboard paint, allowing us to write recipes and notes on the walls, and adding some character to the room. Being wine connoisseurs, we stocked up on a few different wine tubs and bottle holders from Personal Creations this year, to help show off our stock. We’ve also added a pegboard to hang our pots and pans. It helps free up storage space and makes the space more eye-catching.

Even if cooking is your passion, it can still become a nightmare if your space is a cluttered mess. I’m not perfect, and there are times when I let the mess get out of hand. But planning a total overhaul of your kitchen a couple times a year can be a huge help.

Feel free to pass along these tips or share some of your own. Happy cleaning!

Emma

Thanks for the inspiration, Emma!

Healthy trails,
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