Is it just us, or do our homes simply transform in the summer? With all the natural light and open windows offering a beautiful breeze, our homes feel peaceful and serene during these months. While winter coops us up in comfort, summer let’s us free.
This also means it’s time for extra entertaining. Our friends are much more likely to leave the house for indoor-outdoor parties this time of year, and everyone’s sunny smiles make for a great soiree. Inevitably during these parties, many guests end up chatting with you and helping out in the kitchen, moving piping hot food and crispy salads from prep to serving.
While summer means more entertaining, it also means there’s more sunlight in the home to highlight (for better or for worse) all the dust and clutter you’ve compiled throughout the winter months. When you have people over, the last thing you want is too many things in the way of your people-packed home.
It’s time to minimize your kitchen clutter for the remainder of the summer season. You can do this by first clearing the following out of your space:
- Old shopping bags: Do you have a pile in your kitchen of old paper shopping bags? What about a plastic bag filled with hundreds of extra balled up plastic bags? What are the chances that you ever reuse those bags? Slim to none, I’m afraid, as any opportunity you have to put something in one of those bags, you can use a reusable bag instead and fit more without the bag breaking. Take this time to recycle paper bags in your recycling bin. While you can’t recycle plastic bags in the traditional recycling bin, most grocery stores offer a plastic bag recycling drop-off.
- Magazines and junk mail: Boy, do these pile up in the kitchen. Go through your junk mail and magazine pile and recycle any paper you don’t need. Make a vow this summer to deal with mail that comes in right away. If you don’t need junk mail, recycle it immediately. If you aren’t ready to read a magazine, stick it in the magazine rack or your beach bag for the future!
- Frozen food buried deep in your freezer: Is your freezer like ours – piled high with a bunch of food packages without a label? Is it buried so deep with food that you aren’t even sure you know what you have in there (especially on the bottom)? You aren’t alone. This summer, take everything out of your fridge and write your inventory in a notebook. Then, vow to cook it all this season! You’ll be surprised how much money you’ll save on groceries – and how fun it will be to experiment with cooking all your frozen goodies.
- Old condiments and dressings that have expired: How many jars do you have in your refrigerator just dying to be tossed? Take a look at the expiration dates on your salad dressings, relishes, ketchup, and more and dump those that don’t look so good. Wash out the jars and recycle them for extra eco points!
- Old grungy Tupperware: Is your Tupperware drawer filled to the brim with older varieties and even lidless ones? If you can’t find the lid, it’s a sign you should throw the plastic container in the recycling bin. If it’s stained or worn, try tossing it in the dishwasher. Can’t be salvaged? Shoot it in the recycling or trash bin (check for it’s recycling number on the bottom – 1 through 6 – to ensure it can be recycled) and buy a new set.
- Rusted or spotted silverware and kitchen tools: How long have you had your metal silverware, grill tools, slotted spoons, and other gadgets? Most last years and years. But if any of these pieces are rusted, it’s probably time for a new one. Spotted with water stains? Try polishing with silver polish, and if all else fails, splurge on a new set.
There you have it: a newly clutter-free kitchen that’s beautiful to cook in, entertain with, and enjoy. What else do you plan to clear out of the kitchen this summer? Let us know in the comments below!