With record breaking heat and plenty of sunshine, summer is officially here. Now is the time to get ready for BBQs, dinner parties and plenty of summer get-togethers.  Here are a few tips for maximizing your space, storage, utility bills and even a few prep ideas for a last minute summer party.

De-clutter Your Kitchen

Just like your personal wardrobe changes with each season, so should your kitchen. Put all your appliances and utensils that don’t require any hot oven work to the front of your cabinets.  In your pantry it is a good idea to go through your food items to see if any are expired, are stale or can be condensed into a smaller container to make room for more ready-to-eat items that don’t require oven heating.  This extra room will come in handy when prepping for a big summer party.

Freezer Optimization

Your freezer can often become the home of the wayward pork chop and bag of peas. You have stocked up for the winter and now that summer is here, you may have a build-up of expired frozen items…..and they could have freezer burn.  It is always good practice when bagging bulk items like meats and veggies for the freezer, to date them.  Be mindful the freezer expectancy of these items to avoid wasting food…ultimately wasting money.  It is also a good idea to create freezer space and avoid overcrowding.  This coupled with higher temperatures can have an effect on your utility bills.

Fridge & Freezer Maintenance

It is a good idea to do a thorough cleaning of your refrigerator and freezer in between seasons. Bacteria and molds can form from fallen food particles, spills and leaky containers.  Along with cleaning inside, cleaning the condensing coils and vacuuming out any dust bunnies or pet hair from the intake is also a good idea.

Clean Garbage? Whaaa? Wait, isn’t a garbage can made for smelly things?  Yes, but it is important to make sure that the inside of your can/container remains clean.  Stains, spills and particles in the bottom can start to fester and harbor bacteria and mold.  This can cause odor and alter the air quality of your kitchen.  Make sure to thoroughly wash out your garbage can/container and use durable and odor absorbing bags to help limit garbage being left behind.  It may be a good idea to do this for your outdoor receptacles as well.

 Doors and Windows

The best way to stay cool, is staying inside with the AC turned up just right; but this won’t mean much if your windows and doors are not sealed properly. Have the seals of your windows and doors inspected to make sure all weather stripping is in good condition and free of any damage or holes.  Your utility bills can be cut dramatically with the energy efficient doors and windows that are insulated and treated to repel heat.

Installing Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans are a very energy efficient way to help cool your house. By setting the fan blades to revolve counterclockwise, it forces the hot air near the ceiling so that it can mix with the cool air near the floor and help even out the room temp.

Change Your Serving Ware To get into the summer mood, change out your dark and heavy plates and serving ware, for lighter and brighter options. Adding vibrant colored serving ware is a subtle and affordable change that can enhance the vibe of your kitchen. Cups and glasses with fun summer prints and modern designs will do wonders for the feel of your kitchen.

 Fruits and Herbs

Summer is a great time to start an herb garden. For about ten dollars you can get a good start on some of summer’s best herbs such as mint, basil, rosemary and thyme. Prepare dishes with fresh herbs for a great summer meal.  Keeping your fresh fruit in a wooden bowl on the counter not only serves a convenience purpose, but it also is an easy way to add decoration.  Nothing screams summertime like a big bowl of fresh locally farmed fruit.

Summer is a great time to get together with your friends and family to have a little fun. By utilizing these little tricks and tips, you will be well on your way to making the most of your kitchen this summer!