Saturday, January 9, 2010

Pantry Challenge: Clean Out Your Kitchen, Not Just Your Pantry

Do you ever look through old cookbooks or browser bookmarks and notice that some old favorites have fallen by the wayside? The way we cook changes over the years, but our kitchens often don't. We move in, set up our cupboards and shelves, and that's how they stay. The breadmaker you were sure you'd use takes up space in a cupboard, the toaster you use twice a month gets dusty on the counter, and it just blends in.

As we clean out our pantries, take a good hard look at your kitchen. Start with the one thing that will give you the most bang for your buck: your countertops. Do you really use everything on your counters or are they just pretty? Are they pretty enough to stay? If you're not sure, move something off the counter, out of the way, and see if you need it before February rolls around. If you don't, maybe it doesn't need to be out on the counter.

Do you have a drawer under your oven? Do you know what's in it? How about that drawer full of kitchen gadgets? This is a great time of year to take stock. Set aside the things you don't use often and consider storing them out of the kitchen or donating them to someone who can use them.

One last check: what's on your refrigerator? Clear off the schedules for last year's soccer practice and the coupons for pizza that expired in October. Every little bit makes a difference.