After the excess of the holidays, it's time to get your home back in order. And that includes what may be the most important room-the kitchen. Having an organized kitchen can save you time and money and may even allow your entire family to eat more nutritiously.
Reconsider stocking up just because you got a good deal. If you're not careful, it can go to waste (waist), plus you have money tied up that might be used elsewhere. If you're out of space for your "deals," it's time to quit shopping.
Store your whole grains-such as brown rice, wheat berries, quinoa and rolled oats-in plain sight in glass storage jars. Keep cooking instructions nearby.
Do you have spices and herbs older than your firstborn child? Toss out old bottles, as they lose their potency, and replace with fresh ones.
Get rid of any cracked bowls. Bacteria can lurk in those cracks.
Organize your tool drawer and toss out what you hardly ever use. Do you really need 10 wooden spoons and six rubber spatulas?
Buy and use a meat thermometer. Store it in a drawer right next to your stove and oven and use it every time you cook meat or poultry.
Toss all those margarine and yogurt containers, as well as any containers without lids. Invest in sturdy glass storage containers that can go from freezer to microwave to table.
Keep only those items you use regularly. For example, if you've moved beyond the baby stage, give away most of the bibs, bottles and sippy cups. Put Christmas cookie cutters away now.
Can you barely see the exterior due to all the magnets holding up photos, clippings and coupons? Clean the area up. Make room for a running grocery list and perhaps a weekly meal plan.
Pull everything out one section at a time, wash down shelves and reorganize it so you can see what's there. Toss out old gunky bottles and jars of dressings, sauces and condiments.
Pull out a beautiful bowl (perhaps one you received as a wedding gift) and place washed fruit in it. Keep it front and center.
Having a less cluttered kitchen puts your tools at your fingertips and makes the task of cooking a nutritious meal a little easier.
Christine M. Palumbo, RD, is a nutritionist living in Naperville.
See more of Christine's stories here.