Daffodils blossoming, planning an upcoming summer vacation, and finally taking your heavy wool coat to the cleaners. What season do these things bring to mind? You probably guessed spring, which brings a certain lightness and levity. The days become longer as warm weather teases your afternoon (even if the mornings are still a bit chilly). As swimsuit season approaches, you might be considering a detoxification plan as a sort of spring cleaning for your body.
Just like your body needs a spring clean up, so does your kitchen. Cold winter days might have required stocking up on food in case of inclement weather. But as you open your fridge or pantry door now, you find musty remains of food — frostbitten bags of spinach, canned fruit in the cupboard, that have been in there for who knows how long — that needs to be tossed.
Decluttering feels great. Spring makes a great time to go through your closets to get rid of clothing you no longer wear. Recycle those old magazines sitting around in the garage. Give appliances and other things you no longer use to charity. While you’re at it, give your fridge and cupboards a thorough decluttering. A spring cleaning makes a great opportunity to upgrade your food intake while making your kitchen sparkle.
Consider this process as hitting the reset button on your health while making your kitchen more organized and spacious for the upcoming warmer weather. These seven strategies make a great foundation for giving your kitchen some serious spring cleaning.
Get the whole family involved.
Cleaning the fridge and cupboards might feel like a herculean challenge on your own, but you can make a fun afternoon of it by getting your kids and significant other involved. Put on some lively music, create a convivial environment, and give everyone assignments. Even your youngest children can help rearrange pantry shelves, organize fridge drawers, and sleuth for foods that need to be tossed.
Become an ingredient detective.
Any food that contains high-fructose corn syrup or other nasty hidden sugar (look for -ose) needs the boot. But spring cleaning makes a great time to really learn what ingredients lurk in your food. For example, take gluten, which hides in sneaky places like mustard and sausage. Ditto with corn as maltodextrin, a bulking agent. Aim for foods with as few ingredients as possible. If your kids can’t pronounce an ingredient, that food probably needs a new home in your trashcan. Better yet – Buy fresh foods as much as possible, which mostly don’t have an ingredients list.
Shop farmers markets.
Warmer weather means a better variety of fresh produce, and farmers markets oftentimes provide a bountiful selection. Many cities now have them during the warmer months to provide affordable organic fruits and vegetables. They make a great family Saturday morning outing that gives everyone an opportunity to admire colorful produce (and other healthy foods!), plus you get to know the people who grow your food.
Go organic or do the best you can.
More produce options give you more opportunities to buy organic. You’re budget-minded, which means you might think twice before plunking down two or three times the amount for organic. One solution is to buy whatever organic produce is on sale. If organic isn’t affordable or not available, consult the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG’s) Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™. This easy-to-use guide lets you know what fruits and vegetables you’ll want to buy organic and the ones with the fewest pesticides.
Keep easy essentials on hand.
Ideally, you’ll stock your fridge with fresh produce like organic broccoli, leafy greens, and fresh berries. These are perishable, of course, but you can also keep a wide variety of foods that aren’t. Frozen berries and green vegetables keep for months in your freezer. Unsweetened almond butter and extra-virgin coconut oil make great pantry essentials. You can also make sweet treats like frozen popsicles with organic coconut milk, grass-fed whey protein powder, and berries. Blend, pour into popsicle moulds, freeze, and enjoy.
Use the right ingredients for fridge and cupboard cleaning.
Giving your fridge and cupboard a makeover doesn’t require cleaning products that are toxic to your body and the environment. A few simple products with basic ingredients like baking soda and vinegar can provide some serious sparkle to your kitchen. If you’re adventurous and want to be a bit DIY, this guide provides excellent home cleaning solutions that save you money as well as your health and the environment. If you’d rather purchase your own cleaning products, the EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning gives you the scoop on the top products, how to make sense of cleaning labels, and much more.
Schedule a weekly upgrade.
You have everything under control. The cupboard and fridge sparkle. Everything is in its place. You’ve got healthy, satisfying essentials for the upcoming warm weather. Just like you want to maintain a detoxification plan by eating healthy, you want to keep everything tidy and in its place. To do that, schedule an hour or so every week to wipe down fridge shelves, tidy up the pantry, and make sure everything is healthy, fresh, and in its place. A kitchen cleaning checklist can make that chore a breeze.
Spring makes a great time to declutter, streamline, and create an environment for your healthiest, happiest life. And nowhere does that become more important than your kitchen. Refrigerator cleaning and cleaning kitchen cupboards create an excellent spring reset that will repay dividends on your budget, time, health, and overall well-being.