(StatePoint) Better organization in the kitchen means spending less time searching for the right ingredient or tool so you can have more time for savoring meals with family and friends, and more time for personal pursuits.
Whether you’re throwing together weekday lunches for the kids or hosting an elegant dinner party, here are some tips to keep your kitchen -- and meal prep -- organized.
Do you feel like you’re constantly battling clutter? Not only can clutter make you feel less comfortable, it can impact your efficiency. Take some time to sort through those areas of your kitchen that tend to collect unused food products, such as the pantry, the refrigerator door and the back of the fridge. You’ll be surprised how long certain items have been sitting there. Toss anything that has expired, and donate anything unopened and in good condition that you can’t or won’t use to a food pantry. Transferring items such as grains, sugar and flour to labeled containers of the same size makes for more uniform storage that can help you maximize shelving. You might also consider alphabetizing spices so they are easier to find and grab when you need them.
Upgrade Your Fridge
Trading in your refrigerator for a newer model can be a game changer, and not just because modern appliances tend to be more energy efficient. Today’s refrigerators can also be a world apart in functionality and organization, offering you more storage space, greater control and even the ability to multitask.
For example, a sleek French door refrigerator from Midea, the MRQ22D7AST, boasts a drawer with its own temperature control that can be adjusted via a smartphone app, so you can stay on top of meal planning while on the go, and ensure foods are stored at their ideal temperatures. For example, if you know you’re coming home from the supermarket with meat or seafood, you can turn the temperature down to 30 degrees. Or, if you want to uncork a perfectly chilled bottle of wine that evening, you can turn the temperature up to 41 degrees. This particular fridge also features three cooling zones with multiple evaporators that manage humidity and air transition between the fridge and freezer, keeping food fresher longer and ice odor-free. Plus, a unique glide-out tray, provides easy storage and access to party platters, cakes and other large items, making hosting a breeze. Additional features like a deli net, retractable shelf and dual icemaker represent some of the best of what you can expect of today’s refrigerators.
Improve Go-To Tools
Coordinated, efficient meal prep relies on your go-to tools being in good working order. To that end, a knife sharpener can make a useful addition to your kitchen, whether you opt for a simple sharpening stone or an electric model with different settings. If you’re low on counter space or would prefer having this task handled professionally, check your local hardware store. Many provide this service at an affordable cost. Other small items, such as can openers, zesters and peelers, are all prone to rust, which can make them difficult to wield over time. Likewise, plastic spatulas can become cracked and damage with use and wooden spoons can become splintered. Assess these items and replace them as needed with new tools that offer a better grip and smoother operation.
With a few small tweaks and updates, your kitchen and all the items within it big and small, can make your life easier, more organized and more convenient.