Kitchen Purge 2019: Days 8-14 “Food Prep is Where It’s At”
Before you get started on food prep, you might want to check out the last two posts: http://organizeperfectly.com/kitchen-purge-2019-are-you-ready/
Day 8: MIXING BOWLS
One thing to remember about bowls: they often come in sets that stack ever so nicely. For some reason, because of this, we think we have to keep sets together. I may have made a “til death do us part” vow to my husband, but my mixing bowls have no such promise to each other or to me. They can be separated. In other words, keep the mixing bowls you use, not the ones you pick up and move out of the way to get to your favorites. Also, keep in mind that you probably don’t need more than a few mixing bowls. I have 2 large ones that I use all the time and a couple smaller ones. All of these can double as food storage containers since I also have lids for them.
Day 9: MEASURING DEVICES
I have a friend who only keeps a teaspoon, tablespoon, and cup. She found that she always just grabbed her cup and guesstimated at what half of it was when 1/2 cups were called for. This is farther than I would choose to go, but it’s certainly very minimalistic!
I have a cup set, a spoon set, and a couple larger Pyrex measuring cups that I use a ton.
Did you get all yours out and count them?
Day 10: COOKBOOKS/RECIPES
I think that in a past age I would have used cookbooks a lot, but I really don’t anymore. Honestly, I pull out my tablet, search for a gluten free eggplant recipe that uses eggs if that’s what I have in my fridge. If I find something I really like then I print it off and stick it in my hardly full recipe box. I have one cookbook, which is full of notes about whether or not we liked a certain recipe and if it took longer in my oven. I still refer to it a number of times each year, even though I use the internet more.
Day 11: POTS/PANS
I have never understood why people keep lids that don’t fit any of their pans. When you get everything out make sure you put each lid on a pot, you might find that you have duplicates you didn’t know about.
Don’t keep damaged non-stick pans, they’re not healthy to use. Don’t keep that rusty cast iron. If you haven’t yet found time to rid it of rust, you probably never will.
It’s easy to accumulate too much in the kitchen because there are specialty items for everything! Pots and pans are no exception. You might have a roasting pan with a rack, a turkey roasting pan, a crepe pan, a pancake griddle, etc. There is no problem with keeping specialty items that you regularly use. But a large turkey roaster that you use once a year might not be worth keeping. Consider buying the disposable roasting pan for that once a year event. Do you make pancakes in large enough amounts that you actually need the griddle, or could you just use your frying pan? There is no wrong answer here, you just have to evaluate your cooking habits realistically.
Day 12: CUTTING BOARDS/MANDOLINS/KNIVES/GRATERS/PEELERS
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, dare I ask you to get out every item that you use in cutting food and evaluate each one separately?
You have 2 peelers, but you definitely have a favorite that you always grab. Why keep the other one?
You have knives that are past their prime and can’t be sharpened, or a mandolin that you don’t use because you cut your finger on it last year. You don’t have to keep them!
You have a garlic press, but you hate cleaning it, so you just end up mincing with a knife. That’s okay, you don’t need a garlic press to be a good cook!
You bought a spiralizer so that you could make those trendy zucchini noodles, but your family doesn’t like them, so you never use it.
You have a plastic cutting board that’s a little rounded on the bottom and won’t sit still while you cut, so even though you haven’t gotten rid of it, you never grab it to use, either.
Day 13: APPLIANCES
Appliances are often large, unwieldy, and difficult to store, so you really don’t want to keep excess in this category. Set every single kitchen appliance you own on the counter. If you didn’t group crock pots with your pots then get those out, too. Remember, you don’t need a specialty appliance for everything you do!
Do you have a toaster and a toaster oven? Toaster ovens are useful for more than just toasting bread, so you might want to ditch the toaster.
Do you have a cute little crock pot so that you can take cheese sauce to a party at work? How often do you use it? Do you use any of your crock pots now that you have a pressure cooker?
What about your yogurt maker? juicer? coffee maker? blender? salsa maker? Kitchen-aid? hand mixer? waffle maker? popcorn maker? ice cream maker? deep fryer? dehydrator? air fryer? ETC?
Sit down and ask yourself if you actually use your hand mixer, or do you prefer your blender or KitchenAid? How often do you use that air fryer? Do you really like making salsa?
Again, there are no wrong answers here, just a plea for you to honestly evaluate what you use.
One day, in my own kitchen, I came to the realization that I didn’t really use my ice cream maker. We loved the ice cream and sorbet I made in it, but it was such a pain to use. I had to put it in my freezer hours before I wanted to use it, and my freezer is always stuffed since I only have the one little freezer above my fridge. Then, I needed special ingredients that I didn’t always have on hand. All this added up to a lot more forethought and planning than I was willing to put into ice cream. So, much as we enjoyed it, I donated it.
Day 14: COOKING UTENSILS
Cooking utensils: This category includes mixing spoons, ladles, rubber spatulas, whisks, spatulas, meat hammers, tongs, you name it. For this category, I would recommend that you separate them into type.
How many rubber spatulas do you have? How many whisks? Do you really need 3 different ladles?
Are the utensils you have safe to use on your pan type? You shouldn’t be using metal on enameled cast iron or non-stick pans.
I find that one of many items (whisk, ladle, meat hammer, tongs) is sufficient. I like to have 2-3 spatulas, rubber spatulas, and spoons because I use them all the time and often need one before it’s been washed.