The Easy Button for Spring Cleaning Your Kitchen, Pantry and More

a clean kitchen with the counter and stove in the forefront. there is a pot on the stove, a bowl of lemons and other produce on the counter in different areas
Photo by Jason Briscoe on Unsplash

For the garbage bin

Think of your kitchen as a restaurant. Would you eat there? Confession: some days I feel like my kitchen looks like a frat boy’s. It’s time to clean out! I know many of us have a hard time throwing out food but the expired condiments in the back of your fridge aren’t serving anyone, not even you. I hereby grant you permission to throw away the things you no longer need. Use this checklist for step one, the clean-out.

© 2022 Jennifer Trepeck, Salad with a Side of Fries

What to keep

We’ve finished cleaning out the foodstuff including fridge, freezer, and pantry. We’ll discuss restocking later in the article. Let’s Spring clean your tools and gadgets. We all have a drawer of knives but always reach for the same one or two. As a general rule of thumb, focus on what you need for preparing, storing, serving, or cleaning up. Below is your next checklist and for anything you’re ready to part with (duplicates for sure!), you can donate them.

© 2022 Jennifer Trepeck, Salad with a Side of Fries

Restocking

Congrats! You cleaned out your kitchen. Now it’s time to restock.

© 2022 Jennifer Trepeck, Salad with a Side of Fries
© 2022 Jennifer Trepeck, Salad with a Side of Fries

Staying organized

Remember, we’re thinking of our kitchens as a restaurant. You know what I notice about restaurant kitchens? They are organized!!! Here’s how to do it at home:

Clean your emotional pantry!

Wow! We just did a number on the kitchen. I know what you’re thinking, “There’s MORE?!” I hear you. We did a lot. And yet there’s another pantry that has a massive impact on our total wellbeing. That’s your emotional pantry. I learned about this concept from my friend, Ana Vucetic, who is a Psychologist and Certified Nutrition Coach based in Estonia. So, what’s an emotional pantry?

  • Understand your starting point. So often we hear about starting with the end in mind. Having a goal. In this context, it’s more helpful to deeply understand where we are now. How often do we find ourselves turning to (or away from) food for emotional reasons? Where does it happen? When does it happen?
  • Watch yourself from the bird’s perspective. Essentially, the goal is to see yourself in the third person when binging or restricting. It can give us a bit of perspective, to have an idea of what happens and when.
  • Practice a hunger scale. It can be so challenging to identify the difference between true, stomach hunger, emotional hunger, habits, etc. Differentiating between the reasons why we eat is a powerful skill. Before each time you eat, check in with your stomach, on a scale of 1–5, how hungry are you? Are you a 1? Totally ravenous? Or a 5? Thinking sure, I could eat a little something. This helps us identify when we’re eating to fill a non-food-related need.
  • Trial and error through journaling. Keep a record of your meals and snacks. Which were your favorite? Which situations went as planned and which went awry? It’s not about having picture-perfect days, it’s about trying different approaches, seeing what works for you, and repeating those. The journal helps us look back and remember what worked best and what happened last time we were in a particular situation. As I often say, progress over perfection. Every attempt, trying a new approach is progress, whether it “worked” or not.
  • Untangle the signals. What is your body telling you? It might be saying “Chocolate! Cookies!” But you know you ate lunch an hour ago. Check in with the emotions behind the desires around food? Are you lonely? Tired? Sad? Mad? Stressed? What can you do that would truly address the emotion or desired feeling? Perhaps taking a break to curl up on the couch and read a book for 20 minutes would be more helpful and truly address the desire for comfort instead of the food.
  • Enjoy life NOW. So often I hear people say life will be different at their “goal weight.” That’s when we think happiness will happen. I encourage my clients to start doing those things now! What would make you happy now? What do you enjoy? What aren’t you doing because you’re waiting for that moment? While we think these other things (losing weight, for example) must happen before we’ll be happy, the reality is, being happy will help us make those things happen.

Takeaways

Spring is here which means opportunities to clean house! Most of our lifestyle changes begin in the kitchen and with food habits. Let these lists help you get started! Who knows, this just might be the springboard to the rest of your year.

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Jennifer Trepeck

Jennifer Trepeck

Health Coach, Business Consultant, Host of Salad with a Side of Fries Podcast. www.asaladwithasideoffries.com IG/FB/Twitter:@JennTrepeck