Chatelaine Kitchen

5 steps to organizing your kitchen cupboards for the holidays

Get organized now, and your kitchen will be ready and waiting for baking season.
Feature-Photo-Vintage-Tin-with-Cooking-Utensils Photo, Erik Putz.

In my experience, the only time I get around to handling most of my cooking and baking gear is when I'm getting ready to host a dinner party. Inevitably, I'm always wondering where I placed things, and end up digging deep into the trenches to retrieve said items. Taking some time to do some fall cleaning and organizing your wares will make cooking and entertaining easier for the coming holidays.

Here are five steps to help organize your kitchen cabinets and pare down your cookware, bakeware and small appliances to just the essentials:

1. Empty the cabinets. You might be surprised at what you find hidden deep inside your pantry. While you're at it, give the insides of your cabinets a quick wipe down – even they get dusty once in a while.

2. Take inventory. Divide them into piles: pots, pans, baking pans, baking dishes and small appliances (and their attachments). Decide what's essential to you. Baking must-haves include cookie sheets, muffin pans, round baking pans, stand mixers and food processors. Use this handy guide to help you decide which pots and pans to keep if you're unsure.

3. Toss or give away non-essentials. While you may love the heart-shaped baking pan or the Slap-Chop you received for your birthday, is it worth keeping if you have no intention of using it? Collect your never-used items for donation. Throw away the following:

- Anything with broken parts you've been "meaning to fix". - Any non-stick cookware with scratches in the teflon coating. - Any random mis-matched small-appliance attachments that don't seem to fit anything.


4. Clean. Now that you've decided what to keep and your cabinets are in tip-top shape, it's time to give your existing wares a fresh makeover. If you have a build-up of food on the bottom of your stainless steel pots, pans and bakeware, use this handy baking soda tip to remove them. Clean non-stick wares by boiling equal parts water and vinegar, then wipe them down with non-abrasive paper towels or cleaning pads. Scrubbing with steel wool pads will do the trick for your glass bakeware.

5. Organize. If you haven't already, think about organizing your cookware in one cabinet, bakeware in another and small appliances in your third. This will make it much easier to identify and access when you're cooking and baking. If you're limited in space, keep your most often used items near the front for easy access. (Now is a good time to rotate items to the front that you'll need for the holiday season.) Trying to maximize storage space in your kitchen? Store anything that lies flat (baking racks and pans) in the bottom drawer of your stove.


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