How To Spring Clean Your Kitchen For A Year Of Inspired Home Cooking

Open up your windows, ladies and gents, because March, with its breezy, springy weather, has finally arrived. The days are getting noticeably longer, and we'll be "springing forward" in less than two weeks' time. That means it's time to give your home the seasonal scrub known as spring cleaning. These tips for spring cleaning your kitchen will set you up for a year of inspired home cooking, because we all know the kitchen is where the magic happens.

Spring is associated with all sorts of refreshing things — beautiful weather, flowers blooming everywhere, and the births of brand new baby farm animals. There is a family of birds that lives outside of my living room window and every spring, like clockwork, new eggs hatch and the sunny afternoons are suddenly filled with the riotous chirping of tiny but hungry little birds. It's enough to turn you into a full fledged flower crown-sporting quinoa crazed hippie. I love quinoa, and I just brought home a living basil plant this morning, so I'm already halfway there, people.

But back to the kitchen — having a clean kitchen means that you could cook anything you can dream up at the drop of a hat. So don't you think the place where you bake the chewiest cookies, fry the crispiest chicken, and assemble the most romantic pasta bolognese deserves a little TLC?!

Sponges at the ready!

1. Throw away expired foods

To throw away the food that's past its prime, you should do a tiny bit of reading up about food safety labeling, because you might otherwise end up throwing out some perfectly good soup, and you'll need that for when the flowers start making you sneeze.

2. Toss spices that are past their prime

Spices and dried herbs lose their odor and flavor after they've aged too much, which renders them significantly less useful to you. Throw away that old oregano or clumpy cumin in favor of newer, more pungent spices.

3. Re-nonstick your frying pans

Did you know that it is possible to extend the life of your nonstick pans such that they will regain some of their nonstick qualities that have deteriorated over the years?! I just learned about this today, but basically the process is much like the one you would use to season a cast iron skillet. Once you've cleaned the pan, put it back on the stove, heat it, and spray it with oil. Then wipe the excess oil with a paper towel. Repeat this process for a few cooking cycles with each pan.

4. Actually clean your microwave

Here's a kind of exciting and 100 percent natural method for cleaning your microwave — use a lemon. The technique is ridiculously simple, but The Kitchn has you covered with step-by-step instructions with pictures!

5. Clean your coffee/spice grinder

So, there are a couple of methods to cleaning your coffee and/or spice grinder, which is great for someone who alternates between using hers for coffee beans and Indian spice blends like myself. One method involves filling the grinder with soft white bread and letting the bread absorb the spices. Another method involves adding a little bit of uncooked rice and using that to knock the flecks of leftover stuff off of the inside of the grinder.

6. Pair your plastic containers with lids

Over the course of the last year, you'll inevitably have lost a lid or a container in transit here or there. Take your storage wares out of the cabinet, and take an inventory to see which containers still have lids and vice versa, then throw the rest away.

7. Sharpen your knives

Sharpen your chef's knives with a knife sharpening stone or other gadget. You've probably been meaning to do this for a while, but there's no time like the present!

8. Make a natural air freshener

Boil slices of oranges or lemons with your favorite spices to create a natural air freshener in your kitchen.

9. Add some bright colors

Here's a cameo from my kitchen! We recently got these two funky dish towels and the bright orange Keurig to get some pops of color happening in our sage green kitchen.

10. Treat yourself to a new gadget

I recommend a slow cooker or a really big food processor if you don't have one of those. Your cooking horizons will expand beyond your wildest dreams with these two gadgets tucked away on your freshly scrubbed shelves.

For more ideas, check out Bustle on YouTube.

Bustle on YouTube

Images: The Kitchn (3); Pexels (3); Big Girls Small Kitchen; The Little Epicurean; Jessica Learish; Damn Delicious