Photo by @agnormark on Twenty20 

It is time for kitchen cleaning! With the fresh air flowing through the windows, this is a great time to use the oven cleaner. Spray it on and let it sit while you tackle another task. Those with self-cleaning ovens might want to run their cycle the night before a spring cleaning to keep from heating the kitchen up too much and making themselves uncomfortable.

While the oven cleaner is doing its job, start tackling the cabinets. Again, working from the top-down, remove everything from the cabinet and wipe out the shelves thoroughly to remove any dust. Before putting anything away, look for any broken items or things that haven’t been used in years. If you don’t think you will ever need it again, throw it out or put it in a box to be donated. Wipe down the fronts of the cabinets to remove dust and drips from spills.

When cleaning out the cabinets, you will likely come across storage containers and lids that have become estranged from their mates. Collect these strays off to the side, until your cleanup is complete. If you have finished cleaning and there is still no match for some of your food storage pieces, throw them away. No matter how much we wish, these mysterious missing pieces will likely never reappear.

Once the cabinets have been wiped out, sort your dishes, glasses, and cookware by their usage level. Replace the cabinet liners if necessary. Put the things that are used most often on easily accessible shelves. Things that are used more rarely can be placed on the top shelves, toward the back of your lower cabinets, or stored elsewhere until they are needed.

By now the oven cleaner should have done its job, so it’s time to tackle the stove. Follow the directions on the oven cleaner that you used and don’t forget about the oven racks and broiler drawer if you have one. Remove the burners on your range, if possible, and clean the stovetop and drip pans thoroughly. If the stovetop lifts up, wipe underneath to get all of the bits of food that have fallen through. Check the manufacturer’s directions before removing parts of the stove to be on the safe side.

Grab the trashcan and head to the pantry. Sort through the boxes and cans, checking for expired food, opened jars and boxes that may not be fresh any longer, and items that you will not likely ever use. Throw away the outdated food and opened, expired items and box up the things you won’t use to send to the local food bank. Wipe down the shelves and replace things neatly so that finding everything is a breeze. Get a head start on your grocery list while you’re at it, by making notes on things that you are out of or had to throw away.