This is the second post in my spring-cleaning series. Last time, I posted some tips on how to purge your closets. Now that our winter coats are put away and the lighter apparel has been moved to the front of the closet, let’s tackle the next biggest culprit-the kitchen cabinets!

When I clean out the kitchen, I empty everything I can out. That means empty out the pantry and spice racks; take everything out of the cabinets that hold utensils, containers, plates, etc.; pull those cookbooks off the shelves; completely empty out the freezer and refrigerator (we will save this for last so that we do not spoil any food). If you need, take each phase one at a time. Spend no more than an hour on each one. By the end of the day, the kitchen will be cleaned and ready for the summer!

Before you start with the items below, start your oven cleaning and dishwasher cleaning cycles. Open the windows and get your favorite Spotify channel going!

  1. Pantry

Now that everything is pulled out of the pantry and spice rack, wipe down any shelves or surfaces before putting anything back in. You will be surprised at how much dust and grime get in there. As we go through the items, keep in mind if there is a place to make food donations; some things in your cabinets may better serve others.

I like to put items into piles before I organize and return them to the pantry-returning to the pantry, donation, toss out, combine containers. Anything that I have not used in a year or is expired, I throw out immediately. If items are stored in glass containers, such as pastas or grains, then I look to see if they can be combined or put in smaller containers. Small amounts of breadcrumbs, crackers, and plain chips can be combined to be used on top of casseroles. Small amounts of leftover pastas can be combined to make a colorful or interesting pasta salad. Dried fruit or leftover nuts can be used with granola or as a trail mix; they could even be left out for the birds and squirrels. Can you use stale bread or leftover bagels for croutons?

Now that you have sorted through the pantry items, organize them as you put them back in!

  • Utensils and storage containers

Treat the utensils and containers just as you did the pantry. Take it all out and put it into keep or throw out piles. Wipe off the shelves and replace contact paper if you use it. Are they stained, never used, or broken? Throw them out! Are there any handles that are broken? Throw it out. Are those plastic containers scratched, stained, warped, or missing a lid? Throw it away! If you have never used it and must really come up with a reason to use it, guess what, throw it away or pass it along to someone else.

  • Freezer and Refrigerator

Pull everything out and immediately throw away anything expired or freezer burnt. Take everything off the doors, that includes children’s artwork and photos, and clean off surfaces and handles. Wipe off the shelves and clean out any drawers or ice trays. If you know that you will never eat it, throw it out. Cut up leftover amounts of vegetable for a snack later; you’ll want a healthy treat after all of this work! Try putting chopped up herbs in some butter or cream cheese for a dip or spread; I personally like chives in cream cheese. As you put things back in, organize them by shelves or drawers-vegetables and fruits, juices, baking supplies, condiments, etc. Be sure to put the oldest items in the front so that they get used first.

  • Plates, Cups, Mugs

We are almost done! The last step for me is the cabinets containing plates, cups, and mugs. Take them all out and clean off the shelves. Replace any contact paper. If there are chipped or cracked items, toss them. If there are mugs that you will never use, consider tossing them or giving them to someone else. If there are shelters in your area, think about donating them. Organize the items that you are putting back in a way that the things you use most often are in easy to reach places.

That’s it! I finish with swiffering the floor, wiping off the countertops, and a cold drink!

Don’t forget to have your husband take out the trash!

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