I used to do a big pantry and refrigerator clean-out in January, but now that we are empty nesters and the kids come home for the holidays, I prefer to do that over the summer and use September and October to refresh, restock and prepare for the holidays. The next few months are my favorite time to be in the kitchen and having plenty of fresh ingredients and supplies for cooking and entertaining ready to go takes away the stress that can sometimes come with feeding a crowd.
I like to pick one or two things each year that need an upgrade. These are the main categories to consider:
• Small appliances
• Cooking utensils
This year I replaced our handheld mixer and a couple of mixing spoons and spatulas, and I am getting new dishes (our old ones have quite a few chips and black marks that don’t come off) and drinking glasses.
Next, I buy fresh nonperishable ingredients:
• Flours (almond, coconut, tapioca, hazelnut)
• Baking Soda
• Baking powder
• Coconut oil and ghee
• Spices (just for the ones that have expired)
• Appetizer supplies – olives, spreads, pickled vegetables, seasoned nuts, etc.
I have a subscription with Thrive Market, which I can’t recommend highly enough. I keep shopping lists for various categories (baking, spices, entertaining, etc.) with my favorite products saved. I can reorder directly from my phone using their app while I am in my kitchen checking all my inventory. And the price can’t be beat!
Finally, I check my linens and buy fresh candles. I use a minimal approach to table setting these days. I only have one set of placemats, one set of chargers, several table runners, and a few candleholders. I use only white unscented candles made from palm wax, either pillar or tealight. I do, however, like to use seasonally colored napkins and make or purchase creative flower arrangements. I ask myself:
• Are the napkins clean and free of spots? Folded, pressed and ready to use?
• Do I have enough candles to last through the holiday season?
• Do I know what kind of flower arrangements I want and do I need any supplies?
I keep a Pinterest Board with flower arrangements that I like and will select a few from there to either copy or use as inspiration.
This approach is working really well for me. It forces me to use up a lot of food all through the summer and then start fresh in the fall.