It is January so as good a time as any to spend 30 minutes emptying your kitchen cupboard and sorting it out. You’ll be rewarded with a smug sense of satisfaction that, even if the rest of your house is a disaster, at least one of your most-used cupboards is pristine and easy to use.
I’m not usually this organised in the rest of my house. But I really believe that doing this makes me a quicker more efficient cook and therefore much more inclined to cook from scratch. It also means I avoid buying multiples of things as I am more in tune with what I have in my cupboard.
Before you even begin. Have a think about if your cupboard is in the most useful place. I like to use a cupboard that is eye level in front of the area where I do most of my food prep, near my stove. As soon as I start cooking I just open the doors and have everything to hand. Not every kitchen design will allow you to do that but it really saves time when you’re cooking if you’re not running around the kitchen to get everything.
Ready to have a good clear out? Just follow these easy steps:
1. Clear everyone else out of the kitchen and put some music on.
2. Take everything out of your cupboard, put it on the kitchen counter.
3. Give the shelves a good wipe with hot soapy water to get rid of pepper grinds, bits of pasta and mystery sticky spots.
4. Throw away anything that is past its use by date.
5. And anything you know isn’t going to make you feel good during or after eating it.
6. Throw away any spices or oils that are older than a year as their flavour will not be good.
7. Make a list of what you need to stock up on for next time you’re grocery shopping. My essential store cupboard list will be coming soon if you need help.
8. Try and organise by whatever method floats your boat. For example, I tend to keep my ingredients for Asian cooking together and my oils and vinegars together.
9. Try and use the front part of your cupboard as much as possible so you’re not reaching back for things. I put the things I use least at the back of the cupboard.
10. If your shelving space allows, treat yourself to a set of large mason jars (Ikea do brilliantly inexpensive ones) and decant as many things as you can into them. You’ll instantly feel like you have one of those kitchens that appears in magazines. And it is easier to see what you’re running low on. I keep all my flour, dried lentils and beans, rice, sugars, quinoa and other grains in jars. I’m pretty good at recognising things but I stick a label on the bottom of each jar to be safe.