Welcome to Autumn!

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I am so excited for fall and for all the family fun that it brings. Cooler air, festivals, decorations, family celebrations and delicious food! The only thing I don’t like about this time of year is that time seems to fly by. Thanksgiving will be here before you know it, and if you’re anything like me, it will be all rush rush. That’s why I wanted to share a few kitchen organization tips that I’m going to start tackling now so that when the holidays roll around, I won’t be in full cleaning and organizing panic mode. If you choose to do some of these things, let me suggest just one a day- it’s much easier to organize in small chunks.

  1. Test your oven –  Ovens are are holiday pies, but a ‘too hot’ or ‘too cold’ oven can be a bummer. To test your oven, set temperature to 350°, place an oven thermometer in the middle of a center shelf and check in 20 minutes to make sure it has come to temperature. Take another reading in another 20 minutes to make sure it is holding temperature. If both readings are around 350° with a 10 degree variance, you are probably fine. If not, now is the time to call the repairman instead of the day before Thanksgiving.Putting a cake in the oven
  2. Check, consolidate and restock your spices – Combine any duplicate spices, adding the older one to the top of the newer one (I recently found 3 bottles of  cinnamon in my spice cabinet!). Make sure that any spices you use regularly are not too old and caked. Also, make sure you have all of your go-to holiday spices for cooking and baking, like poultry seasoning, sage, allspice and vanilla extract. Now put everything back in an organized fashion and make a list of what you need so that you can pick them up on your next trip to the grocery.Close up of jars of spices in hanging shelf
  3. Consolidate and restock pantry baking items – Combine any extra bags of flour, brown sugar, or baking powder. Here’s a good-to-have list of basic baking ingredients so you can always whip up something sweet without leaving the house; all-purpose flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, corn starch, white sugar, confectioners’ sugar, light and dark brown sugar, chocolate chips, shredded coconut, cocoa powder, honey, molasses, corn syrup, vegetable oil, condensed milk, evaporated milk, pecans and vanilla extract. Add anything you are out of to your shopping list and pick up what you’re missing on your next grocery trip.
  4. Organize your junk drawer – Having your scissors,rubber bands, tape, bag clips, scrap paper, pens and pencils all in one place will help anyone feel organized.
  5. Wipe down the baseboards – Use a little cleaner and a magic eraser to quickly spruce up those baseboards. Don’t go nuts, just identify those problem spots and give them a once-over.
  6. Wipe down cabinets – Try not to be too particular… just give the face of your cabinets a once-over.
  7. Organize the freezer Throw out any unidentifiable foods and combine those duplicate bags of frozen peas in a large freezer bag. Then, put everything back in an organized fashion.
  8. Sharpen those knives – Do it yourself (carefully) or splurge to have them sharpened by a professional knife sharpener. A professional can often restore worn or chipped knives as well.
  9. Disinfect trash receptacles – Grab some plastic gloves, disinfecting spray and a toilet brush and take the receptacles outside. Give them a good scrub, rinse and dry.
  10. Consolidate and categorize the food in your pantry – Combine any duplicate items in the pantry and reorganize according to category; grains, cans, pasta, condiments, baking items, beans, etc.A woman seen from behind opening the doors to a fully stocked pa
  11. Organize your Tupperware drawer/cabinet – Consider labeling your containers with your name if you send guests home with leftovers and want the containers back.
  12. Clean your oven – Not a job you want to save for the day before entertaining. Many modern ovens have a self-cleaning mode that you can take advantage of.
  13. Pick a drawer or cabinet to organize – Just do one. (You know, the one that things always disappear in or fall out of when you open it.)
  14. De-clutter counters – Ask yourself if you use it on a daily or frequent basis. If not, find another place for it. Sort through papers, find a new place for those bills, remove outdated items from the refrigerator doors. Ask yourself if the knickknacks are still bringing you the same pleasure they once did and store all unnecessary items elsewhere. 31 tips
  15. Organize cleaning supplies – Organize and consolidate duplicate items. Restock on any missing items. 31 tips
  16. Throw away or donate 10-15 things from your kitchen – Things have a way of adding up over the years. If you have a duplicate, if it’s broken, or if you haven’t touched it in 5 years… let it go.
  17. Use a cake stand or large plate to hold your top 8-10 kitchen ingredients – Mine are salt, pepper, garlic powder, balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, olive oil, ghee, cinnamon sugar, red pepper flakes and Italian seasoning. This is a pretty way to store these go-to items on the counter top, and saves time when cooking.
  18. Clean out the refrigerator – Throw away any expired items. Give everything a good wipe down and put everything back according in its proper place.31 tips
  19. Clean the microwave – Place 4-5 paper towels soaked in white distilled vinegar in the microwave and set it for 3-4 minutes. Let the towels cool then give the interior a good scrub down with the wet paper towels. The vinegar loosens up baked on food and freshens the lingering smells from the microwave. Give the outside a nice wipe down as well.
  20. Give your dishwasher some attention – Remove any debris from the bottom drain; run the dishwasher once without any dishes with 2 cups of distilled white vinegar to remove built up grease and grime. Run another empty dishwasher with 1 cup of baking soda to freshen the dishwasher and leave it shiny. 31 tips
  21. Inspect your bake-ware and cookware – Make sure over the course of use you still have both parts of your spring form pan and identify any pans you may need to buy or borrow. While you’re at it, put them back in an organized fashion.
  22. Okay one more thing to do:  Go to Ronco.com and order a Showtime Rotisserie for your holiday turkey.

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