Your fridge and freezer are one of the most used items in your kitchen, except for the sink, stove and ovens. We do not deep clean these often enough.
In a program I once watched, a cleaning team went into a home that had a vegetarian and two meat eaters sharing the space. They dyed a piece of meat with ultraviolet dye and then asked everyone to prepare their meals. The contamination of all the food was quite surprising, even with washing utensils after each use. Is your kitchen actually clean?
How often do you clean the back of the fridge/freezer door handles? Cleaning the inside of the fridge should be a regular task in your households cleaning routine.
If you have a self-defrosting freezer you need to schedule a good clean out of that as well. For those of us who have to periodically defrost the freezer, it is the perfect time to deep clean the shelves.
Month end shopping
I planned this task to coincide with when most people will be doing a big shop. Pay day has just been and we are all about to replenish the food in our kitchens. If you are putting this task onto a regular cleaning schedule, the best time to do this is right before the grocery run. You will then have a nice clean fridge and freezer in which to put all your new shopping.
How cluttered is the outside of your fridge? It is time to make room for the new paintings and drawings the children bring home from school. When the children were younger, any birthday invitations we received went onto the fridge door, sometimes sitting there for weeks after the event.
To get a good deep clean and to get rid of any odours that may linger after the food is gone, use a mixture of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) and water, make this into a paste and spread it with a cloth onto the surfaces and use a toothbrush to get into the crevices of your fridge/freezer.
Leave it for about 5 minutes and then using warm water wash it off.
For stubborn marks and odours, spray vinegar and then wash with the warm soapy water. Pay special attention to meat spills.
Repacking your fridge
When repacking your fridge, it is important that certain items be placed on specific shelves. Items that need defrosting should be placed on the bottom shelf in a bowl, or on a tray, to prevent the inevitable spillage from cross contaminating the rest of your food.
A rule of thumb is, cooked and ready to eat items top and middle shelves, food needing to be cooked, middle and bottom shelves.
Your fridge door is best used for items with a longer shelf life.
Don’t over fill your fridge as this can cause items to freeze and uses more electricity. Don’t overload the fridge door with heavy items as this can cause breakage.
How to pack your fridge
For more information check out the list I saved on Pinterest for how to pack your fridge https://za.pinterest.com/pin/6051780730348903/ or go to http://www.home-storage-solutions-101.com/refrigerator-storage-chart.html.
Packing your freezer is just as important as packing your fridge properly. You actually want to have this packed full, as the freezer works better with more food inside.
Pack like items together and also size and shape to make stacking easier. Label and date all frozen food.
Happy cleaning! Let us see those before and after photo’s please.
What’s in the pantry?
Your pantry cupboard is an important part of your kitchen. If this is in a mess and dis-organised, it is not only difficult to decide what to make for dinner, but it also wastes money.
How many times have you gone to the store bought something only discover on your return that you already have 2 or 3 of the same product in the cupboard already! I own my kitchen, do you?
Being kosher means that we can’t always get a lot of food stuffs, so I developed a habit of buying unusual kosher products, which then sat in my cupboard for years. Last year I got rid of 2 cans of waterblommetjies. They had expired 3 years before.
The expiry dates on canned good is not really an expiry date but more of a date of when the producers will no longer guarantee the quality of the product inside. As long as the can is not bulging your food is safe to eat.
I did think, however, that having sat in my cupboard at least five years and still not been used in a recipe, it was unlikely that I would ever make a waterblommetjie bredie (stew). There were also other products that needed to be tossed.
Keeping your pantry cupboard tidy and organised is a must if you want to stop wasting time and money. If you ask a family member to look into a disorganised pantry cupboard and pick something to make, 9 times out of 10 the answer will be, ‘there’s nothing to eat’!
Keep like with like
Keeping items of a similar kind together will definitely make your time spent in the kitchen easier, cut down on your grocery bill and allow you to use up products before they expire!
It doesn’t need to be OCD tidy to be organised. If you have all your baking ingredients, your pasta’s and cans on their own shelves, condiments together on another shelf and spices together on a different shelf, you are what I consider organised. Items don’t need to be alphabetised or facing the same way, unless that’s what you want of course, but being arranged like with like will be enough.
Follow in the group as we get through the week with short daily tasks to organise the pantry cupboard https://www.facebook.com/groups/gettingsorted/.
I decided, can’t remember why, to have a professional cleaning service in to do my house while my full time domestic is away. Best decision I ever made! Good service – it’s out there!
In November I contacted and booked with a company called Sweep South after I saw their advert on Facebook.
I booked for them to come for 2 days as I have a large house, 6 bedrooms, 2 ½ bathrooms, my bead room, lounge, dining room, study and kitchen.
I have a full time domestic and a lady who comes 2 full days to help with ironing – 6 people create a lot of laundry!
Over the years I have been a very laid back employer. I trust that when I say dusting, it is getting done and that the vacuuming of the carpets is done twice a week, as I have written in the cleaning schedule.
First mistake! I need to be a bit lot more hands on, with ensuring the work I requested gets done. My expectations were not high as I am aware that there is a lot of clutter in my house (my husband is a minor hoarder).
Monday morning, after a little miscommunication on my address, the cleaners arrived on time. They had phoned me 30 minutes before they were due, to say that they were outside my house (wrong house, wrong suburb!, this actually happens quite often with deliveries).
They changed their clothes and began cleaning. They started moving beds, which from the amount of rubbish under them, hadn’t been moved in possibly 6 months. Now the ladies asked for my vacuum cleaner, so I showed them where it is. Disaster! At some stage the catches that hold the top of the machine to the tank where the dirt is stored, have been broken, so the top came off and, to my disgust and, need I say, embarrassment, it hadn’t been cleaned out since the last time it was used. That time is now in question as we could not get it to work, no matter what we tried. So off I went to get a ‘cheap’ vacuum cleaner. Somewhere I actually have a second vacuum cleaner, which I know my domestic hates. No idea where it has been hidden. Hopefully I can get an answer in January!
These ladies then washed the walls and doors of every room, changed the sheets and vacuumed the carpets in all the rooms and then cleaned all the bathrooms (2 ½ bathrooms). The dust and the dirt in the carpets and the black marks on the doors were so bad that it took both of them a full day. So my lounge, dining room, kitchen and the junk room/home office/study were left untouched. There is now a long list of topics to discuss with my domestic in January!
Here is an important note; my husband is looking for an important document somewhere in all that junk, so the mess is more spread out than usual!
I have written before that the one thing that defeats me in my home is the clutter! Tuesday morning the cleaners arrive on time. I decide to use the two ladies to work on the kitchen, lounge, dining room and disastrous study.
In the end we managed to do only the study and lounge. The 3 of us worked for 8 solid hours clearing and sorting. I have another item on the agenda for January’s discussion with my domestic.
By time the ladies left, I was exhausted. I don’t know how they were, because they definitely worked harder than I did with all the heavy lifting. In the end we got rid of 8 full bags of paper and 3 rubbish bags.
They sorted and packed and dusted and mopped. We can now see the floor and windows of the study clearly. The curtains are down as they are in serious need of a wash. . The window area in my husband’s study is 6 meters wide and these are full length curtains!
There wasn’t much time for the lounge, so they just tidied up and vacuumed. The furniture will have to be moved in January.
I will be booking them again in April when Jewish homes need to undergo a massive cleaning as is usual in our preparation for Passover.
If you wish to book them, please use the coupon code GECISP and get R100 off your booking.
I learnt from this experience that fantastic customer service is still alive out there, you may not come across good customer service often and I know I have never come across this type of excellence!
Well done to the team and owner of Sweep South. I am your customer for life!
Welcome to a whole new chapter in Kashering Your Life. This is a group project so I have started a Facebook group called ‘We’re Getting Sorted’. Here’s what it’s all about. https://www.facebook.com/groups/gettingsorted
For those of you who have been reading my blog, especially the “About Me’ page, you will see that decluttering my house has been a losing battle for me over the last 20 or more years!
At the beginning of 2015 I found a group called Declutter 365 , run by a lady named Tory. The group is about decluttering your home in 15 minute sessions, 365 days a year. Obviously I joined and am still a member of the group. There is, however, one fairly large problem that has prevented me from keeping up with the groups cleaning calendar which is that it is an American based group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/declutter365
This means that when they are talking about putting away the snow shoes and clothes, we are pulling our winter stuff out of the cupboards. Then a whole month is dedicated to something that is very rare in South Africa, and I believe in Australia and New Zealand too, and that is Attics and Basements! Also their kids are on school holidays at different times to ours and they start school at the ‘ wrong’ time of the year. If you do have either a basement or an attic in your home, let me know so we can look at adding it to the calendar.
So I asked a professional to come have a look at my house. When I told her my budget, she was polite enough not to laugh at me! 2016 is around the corner and I will not let another year go by without making a concerted effort to beat the clutter!
So I started the We’re Getting Sorted group. I figured that with having to lead the way and with everyone watching, I would have no choice but to clear up and clear out the junk! https://www.facebook.com/groups/gettingsorted
Here’s what you will need. A timer, because you are only going to clean in 15 minute cycles.
A large black dustbin bag for the rubbish you will throw away and 2 kinds of boxes or crates, for the things you are going to put away, donate or sell.
Here’s how to do the 15 minute increments! Take your timer, bag and box to the area you are working in. Set the timer for 10 minutes as this is the time you will use to sort your area into the bag or the boxes. As you sort either put the item back in its place or into the dustbin bag, or donation box, or into the ‘return to the right place’ box.
When your 10 minutes are up, use the last 5 minutes to take the “return to right place” box and put everything back to where it is supposed to be. You don’t have to put it in the correct spot, just the right room or area because you will get there later to tidy that spot too. Then take out the trash and put away the donate box either into a space where you can fill it up as you go along or to where ever you are donating. This can be the boot of your car until you can deliver.
On my website I have a list of charities and what they need/want and also if they collect.
If you do have time to do more, then go ahead. However, I found that 15 minutes is usually all I have time and energy for after working a full day and then making supper and supervising homework.
At the beginning of each week, I will post a blog about the upcoming tasks and the reasoning behind some of them. We will be starting with easy stuff and then working up to the big things.
In the group I encourage everyone to share their before and after pictures, their experiences and tips that work for you.
We all have different shaped and sized rooms in our homes, so what might work for one person may not work for another. If you have a question or suggestion, but don’t want to put in on the FB page with your name, email me and I will post it, so that everyone can give ideas.
Remember this is going to be an interactive group activity. The rules are simple.
- Everyone is invited
- Pictures are welcome
- Suggestions are encouraged
- No rude remarks or naming and shaming
- If you find an item that you think will help get others organised, email me, if we have enough members, maybe I can approach the company to give us a group members special.
- No advertising. (if you wish to advertise a business that may go well with any aspect of Kashering your life, email me to get the rates to advertise on the website)
- Lastly have fun, don’t feel pressurised into keeping up, life happens.
My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. If you know someone who might like to join but who isn’t on Facebook, direct them to my website to sign up and they will get the schedules and calendars emailed to them. www.kasheringyourlife.co.za
Let’s enjoy the journey together!