Kitchen Cure Week 2: Clean Out Tools & Gadgets

Fall 2010 Kitchen Cure

This Week: Clean out Equipment, Tools & Gadgets and More Deep CleaningTime Left: 1 down, 3 weeks to go • Cure Takers: 2,459

Week Two! I'm absolutely floored by how much progress you are making. Keep going; it'll be infinitely more satisfying as the weeks wear on.

Now that you have tackled your ingredients in the fridge and pantry, it's time to turn our attention to your equipment. Time to take a long honest look at the stuff in your cupboards and on your counters, from little things like flatware, to big appliances like the ice cream maker. Do you really use that George Foreman grill? Do you truly need three strainers?

Haven't joined yet? Say "yes" to the Kitchen Cure right here. (It's easy and free.) Now read on for this week's assignment.

Week 2 Assignment

  1. Take BEFORE and AFTER photos of your kitchen tools.

  2. We want to see the scene before you weed things out and then after you've sorted through it all. Show us your counter-tops, cupboards, drawers and other places you keep your kitchen tools and equipment. In the "before" shot, DO NOT clean things up for the camera. Submit them to the Flickr group and make sure to write captions for each image. Remember, submitting your photos to Flickr gives us permission to post them using the name you provide. (Here's info on how to upload your photos to Flickr) This enables us to learn from everyone's projects.

  3. De-clutter and purge.

  4. Make three categories: stuff you use regularly, stuff you use occasionally, and stuff you never use. It could be as small as a stray corn cob holder or as large as a KitchenAid mixer you got as a wedding gift and just don't use. Think about plastic food storage containers that don't have matching lids. Think about splintered wooden spoons. Ask yourself why you keep wine corks. Get into flatware and plates if you want. There must be things in there you don't need.

    • In the case of stuff you use regularly: set it aside. It will be going back in the cupboards, but not before you wipe down all the surfaces.

    • In the case of stuff you use occasionally (for me this is my ice cream maker, a grain grinder, knife sharpening stones, muffin tins), consider using spaces in the back of a cabinet. We often are asked how to maximize deep cupboards - here's your chance. Also consider boxing up some of these items - like special occasion dinnerware, seasonal things (margarita glasses? BBQ tools?) - labeled neatly and placed in the rear of deep cabinet or in a high place in the kitchen like above the refrigerator.

    • In the case of stuff you never use, consider giving it away or selling it. I meet so many people who keep things in their kitchen that were given as gifts. This is your chance to take a leap, be bold, and get rid of those unused wedding gifts or things your bought because you thought you'd use them but you just don't. List them on on Craigslist. Believe me, someone wants your yogurt-maker. You don't need three grill pans. Be brave!

    • As you go through your collection of kitchen tools, pull out duplicates. I find most people keep way too many pieces of plastic left-overs containers. Often tops and bottoms don't match. We know tongs are everyone's favorite tool, but you really only need one pair. Mixing bowls are another common offender. Small, medium and large is all you really need, right?

  5. Deeply clean all surfaces.

  6. Take out anything else in the cupboards and on the counter tops and wipe it down with a warm, moist cloth. We encourage you to use earth-friendly products. For cutting through grease, vinegar and water works nicely. Check out this post on favorite cleaning products for the kitchen and this one on DYI Green Cleaning Solutions. Also, vacuum, dust, etc.; whatever you need to do to make it sparkle. Deeply clean all surfaces before returning your newly slimmed-down arsenal of cooking tools to its place.

Participate & Inspire!

Here are three ways you can participate in the online dialogue as you Cure your kitchen. Please do pitch in one or more ways — it is wonderful to be encouraged by other Cure-takers' progress and inspiration!

Share photos! - We want to see your progress!
Upload photos on the Kitchen Cure Flickr page and please be sure to caption them. (Remember, by uploading them to Flickr you are granting us permission to use them in a post. Your kitchen just might be our next star!)

Discuss your progress - We set up a discussion board just for the Cure. If you're blogging the Kitchen Cure, this is a great place to post links and share them.
Discuss your progress and share blog links here.

Send us questions - Got a really specific question about one of the Cure assignments?
Send us a question and we'll post it as a Good Question.

Finally, a note on participation: Do your best, and pace yourself. You will have a week to complete each assignment. Each assignment will be given on a Friday so you have the weekend to dive in deep, although they can also be done in short bursts throughout the week, so don't panic if you're heading out of town for the weekend or would just prefer to laze about. Many assignments can be on-going throughout the duration of the Cure, so if you don't finish one week's work by the following Friday, just keep going.

(Top image: dpete22)

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2010, The Kitchn Cure

Sara Kate is the founding editor of The Kitchn. She co-founded the site in 2005 and has since written three cookbooks. She is most recently the co-author of The Kitchn Cookbook, to be published in October 2014 by Clarkson Potter.

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