Start the Year Off Right in Your Kitchen

Start the Year Off Right in Your Kitchen

Posted by Amy on Dec 27th 2023

According to Forbes, two of the most common New Year’s resolutions are to improve mental health and improve diet. We have a few simple suggestions to set you and your kitchen up for success. Whether you’re ready to take on the entire list, or you choose to tackle just one or two steps, we hope these tips lift your spirits and help you enjoy your time in the kitchen.

Toss Expired Food

It’s so easy to forget about food in the back of your pantry, refrigerator, or freezer. While cleaning out these spaces can feel like a daunting task, we like to do it early in the new year for a fresh start. Our policy is to clean out any food items with an expiration date of the previous year. While these dates can be hard to read, you really only need to make out the year.

We’re not promoting food waste; rather we encourage you to take steps throughout the year to prevent food waste. Expired perishable food can be a health concern, but most food items in the pantry simply won’t taste as good after their expiration date.

If you have health or safety concerns about expired foods, we encourage you to check out this article from the National Sanitation Foundation that helps clear up the difference between an expiration date and a best-by date. We further encourage you to check out this article from Self about shelf-stable pantry items that may have a bit more gray area to their lifespan.

Pare Down Your Gear

If cleaning the pantry and fridge has left you feeling invigorated, move on to the cabinets and countertops. Toss anything broken or worn-out, such as non-stick skillets that aren’t so non-stick anymore, cutting boards that have deep grooves in the surface, rusty knives, cracked spoons and melted spatulas. Consider donating anything you didn’t use in the past year.

We know seasonal items may be used only once or twice a year. But for those items that have sentimental value or a specific purpose, the new year is the perfect time to get organized so everything has a place and is easy to find. The best place to store seldom-used items might be the top shelf of the upstairs linen closet or a plastic tub under the bed, rather than a kitchen cabinet. We stash some of our own kitchen “must-haves” outside the kitchen.

Empty the Ice Bin

Ideally, you should empty and clean your ice maker bin twice a year. The time change from Daylight Saving to Standard used to be a handy marker for biannual tasks like this one, but those dates have crept closer together over the decades.

We support you if the only time of year you remember to clean out the ice bin is when the calendar page turns over to a new year.

Replace Cleaning Tools

Hopefully you already toss kitchen sponges as soon as they start to smell funky, but other cleaning tools like brushes, dish rags, and scouring pads should be replaced regularly too.

Take a moment to inspect all of your cleaning gear, and replace anything that is starting to smell, show holes, or break down.

Sharpen Your Knives

When people ask us how often they should sharpen their knives, our go-to answer is, “when they’re dull.” We’re not trying to be glib; everybody has different knives that they use on different cutting boards to cut different food, so they will dull over different periods of time. In your own kitchen, you probably reach for your chef’s knife or Santoku knife more often than your carving and boning knives. The knives you use more frequently will dull more quickly.

Use the new year to bring a new edge to all of your knives. You can sharpen them yourself, mail them to the manufacturer, or take them somewhere local. If you’re in the Denver Metro area, we offer on-site sharpening. Each year, take the time to restore your knives to the same sharpness as their first use. It’s also a good safety practice to maintain.

We hope we’ve inspired you to spend a little more time in the kitchen this year, and we hope that time will be more enjoyable. We’d love to hear about anything you do to start the year off right in your kitchen.