A Kitchen Recovery Checklist To Start Things Off Right

At the start of each year, while the days still feel a little long, it's a good time to make sure your kitchen is in tip top shape. You might have already done The Kitchen Cure, but post-holiday is a great time to run down this quick kitchen checklist to make sure your space is ready to take on all your culinary adventures in the new year!

Aside from the general cleaning of your daily chores, sometimes our kitchen needs a bit more help. Sure you can do the dishes and clean our your refrigerator, but if you really want to start off the new year on the right foot, check out these 10 tips:

1. Clean Your Appliances: For more, your appliances are your kitchen work horses and could use a good once over inside and out to make sure they're fresh and ready for more. No one really wants to clean the inside of their oven, or even microwave for that matter, but doing it all at once (even with disregard to the rest of the kitchen) is a great way to get the ball rolling.

2. Calibrate Your Thermometers: The start of each year is a good time to heat up a pan of water and make sure that your thermometers (meat and candy) are all calibrated correctly. They should read 212 degrees Fahrenheit to be on the mark. Your meat thermometers can usually be adjusted, but candy thermometers have a bit more effort. You can either take them in to a professional to be set correctly, or head to your local big box store to pick up another for just a few bucks.

3. Check Your Temperatures: Heat up your stove and toss in a thermometer (if you don't already have one in there) and do the same for the coldest parts of your refrigerator and freezer. Knowing what temperature things are set at vs. what temperature they really are is a must!

4. Small Appliance Overhaul: The small appliances in our kitchen, even if they're not used that often are usually things that see a great deal of grime. It could be stray waffle batter, a splash of custard on the outside your ice cream machine or all those flaky bits floating around your toaster--so make sure to check them all! Even if you think they're spotless, there's a good chance you've missed something!

5. Calibrate Your KitchenAid: If you have a drop down style KitchenAid, they can get a little out of whack with constant use. All it takes is an allen wrench or hex key to twist things back into shape. It will take two people (one to hold the bowl at the right height and the other to tighten things up) to get the job done, but eliminating extra strain on the mixer or its parts is a good thing!

6. Get Down Low: One of the easiest places to forget to clean is below countertop level. Places that attract a large amount of dust bunnies and other gunk and grime are: under your refrigerator, the fronts of your cabinets, baseboards and trim, the drawer beneath your oven and any open island-type storage.

7. Sharpen Your Knives: Although hopefully you're doing this on a consistent basis, chances are, it wasn't at the top of your list over the holiday season. Sharpening isn't hard once you get the hang of it, check out our quick tutorial on getting the job done!

8. Assess Lighting and Linens: Does your work space seem a little dull? Can you see inside your pantry? Do you have enough towels on hand to tackle even the largest project? Or maybe you have too many? Do you need a rug under your feet to keep the chill away? Or slide around on the one you have? Little things make all the difference in your work space, don't forget to take a close look at what works for you and what doesn't in your space!

9. Do A Pots & Pans Check: Aside from making sure that your non-stick is still, well, non-stick--double checking the rest of your pots and pans for any extra cleaning is always a good thing. Clean copper bottoms is always a nice and shiny treat as is checking around the rivets that hold on handles for extra gunk build up. If you need to toss one, now's the time! Don't keep the clutter and keep a watchful eye on upcoming sales for a new one.

10. Cookbook Clean Up: After a year's time has gone by, it's a good marker to determine if you really need all the literature you have piling up in your kitchen. It's safe to say that if you haven't used a book or two in the last year (or even two) that it's time to let it go. Pass it on to a friend or family member and make sure to take the extra time to wipe down the ones that are well used and shake free any added flour or cocoa powder that might have crept between the pages on accident!

Do you have one to add to the list? Share it below in the comments!

It's Cleaning Time! Kitchen Cleaning Tips and Inspiration

(Image: Flickr member *Susie* licensed for use under Creative Commons)