How well organized is your fridge / freezer?
If you’re a mom, you know that with the start of fall come both the good and the bad. Getting the kids back to school and your house back into a routine is good. Dressing in sweaters, long pants and boots is good. If you’re a stay at home mom, getting your quiet mornings and early afternoons back to yourself is very good. But what about having to brace yourself for the next four months of cooking for holidays and extended families, football season, school functions, daily lunches and weeknight dinners in the midst of the busiest season? That’s something that will always take some adjusting to.
Before you’ve 100% committed to trading in your Kindle and flip-flops for school notebooks and Halloween decorations, take a day or two in your last bits of freedom to fully prep your kitchen for the fall madness.
1. Cleaning Overhaul
Go through your fridge, section by section, emptying the shelf completely and using a disinfectant spray to clean up any sticky, syrupy, crumby messes. Check the expiration date on items that were shoved to the back of the fridge and toss anything that’s gone bad or won’t be used in the next few weeks.
Following that, go through each shelf and drawer in your freezer and create an inventory, so that you know what pre-made meals, ingredients, and frozen dinners you can plan a quick meal around on your busiest nights. Instead of hand-writing it, try using an app like Out of Milk or Fridge Pal to keep track. Don’t forget to organize and create space in your freezer while combing through – you will likely need it very soon!
Do yourself a favor and remove anything that doesn’t belong in the kitchen from your working space. Odds and ends inexplicably wind up crowding your surface areas throughout the year. Start with a clean slate by moving these to their correct places; or at least somewhere away from the kitchen. This initial absence of junk will go a long way in helping you to maintain cleanliness.
2. Equip Yourself
What plans does your kitchen have already lined up? Are you hosting a birthday or hockey viewing party; your husband’s side of the family for Thanksgiving; a few friends for an evening get-together, or the whole PTA for a welcome-back meeting? The start of fall is the best time to upgrade and replace any run-down kitchenware for two reasons: You need tools that can deliver during high-pressure scenarios and in frequent use, , and with so much help in the kitchen, you’ll want your appliances to look good. Replace rusted or heavily scratched pots and pans with a reliable single piece or set, like Belgique stainless steel or Anodized cookware, sold through ShopHQ.
3. ‘Tis the Season!
If you come across any pans, dishes, or other gadgets that take up space and aren’t being used, consider donating them to thrift stores or the Salvation Army.
At the start of the season, move your boxes of fall decorations, and autumn-inspired kitchenware from storage to somewhere that’s easily accessible. If you have room, get started on washing the items you’ll be using and organizing them in your cupboards. If it’s your first time baking for the holidays, purchase a festive serving tray or candy dish from eBay if you’re looking for cheap, or Crate and Barrel for something more sleek and upscale.
4. Ready, Set, Recipes
Search Pinterest or a favorite website and select 10-15 new fall dishes to try out on friends and family, and print and add them to your cookbook. If your book is dirty, clean it up, and if it has pages tearing, replace those pages or else replace the book entirely. This is the ideal time for going through and ditching unwanted recipes and reminding yourself of new ones you’ve been meaning to try!
There are a limited number of days at the start of the school year that you have to get yourself organized and prepared for the months ahead. As fall is one of, if not the best time of the year for food and drink, take advantage of your time now in getting ahead of your kitchen duties so that you can enjoy the season as it comes!
Jessica Herbine is a young professional who enjoys arts and culture, binge-watching television shows, drinking and dining out, and keeping busy in the city. She is organization-obsessed and an interior design fanatic, and loves sharing her favorite DIYs, décor, and spaces through her blog at thebestlittleapartment.tumblr.com