This is part of our ongoing series on home maintenance basics to help you keep up your home and grow your investment with confidence.
Nothing is worse than whipping up your culinary masterpiece, only to find that your garbage disposal is broken when you’re cleaning up. The kitchen is the heart of the home, so keeping it beating (erm, we mean operating) is essential for the whole house to run smoothly.
Here are five easy ways to regularly maintain your kitchen, so all you have to worry about is following those aspirational recipes in The New York Times Cooking section.
Nurture your cookware
Get into a routine of scrubbing rust off your pots and pans, sharpening knives and cleaning out the toaster once a month, or however often works for your schedule. Some folks even oil their wooden spoons and cutting boards! This will all keep your cookware in top shape for regular use, and prevent problems from getting out of hand.
Maintain your appliances
Everything in the room, down to the kitchen sink, appreciates some attention. Cleaning pet hair and other debris out from under and behind your fridge can keep its motor from getting stuck. Pouring a cup of baking soda and a tablespoon of vinegar down the sink once a week helps prevent clogs. Putting some dish soap and a few ice cubes down your garbage disposal keeps the blades clean and sharp. Minor chores like these can ward off major headaches (and repair bills) in the future.
Scrub and organize
Raise your hand if you’ve ever run to the grocery store for last-minute ingredients, only to find out later that you already had them buried in the back of a cabinet. Counters, meanwhile, are not only breeding grounds for bacteria but they also easily become cluttered. Greasy floors are waiting for you to fall down on them, and dirty ovens can catch fire. Keeping your space clean and organized (we’re looking at you, Tupperware(R) drawer!) can prevent mealtime panic attacks, and make your experience in the kitchen safe and stress-free.
Clean out old food
Please don’t ask us if we know when our spices expire! But while some outdated basil may not be a big deal, old food in the fridge can get seriously gross, and condiments eventually smell a little funky too. Tossing sour perishables is an obvious choice for health reasons, but it can also prevent clutter in your fridge and cupboards. Try to avoid dumping salad dressings and other oily substances down the drain, however, as they can clog your pipes.
Hang onto warranties
Guilty of throwing away warranty information with your receipts? We’ve all done it. It’s a good homeownership habit to keep them in an organized file, though, so you can call for repairs or replacements when needed. If you’re buying a new home, ask the sellers to pass along the documents when they give you the keys. When buying new appliances, note whether you need to call and register the product to activate a warranty. Sure, you can always pick up a new blender for cheap – but if something major like your refrigerator is on the fritz, you’ll want to know who to contact.
Next in home maintenance? Check out, “When Should I Change My Smoke Alarm Batteries?”