With the holidays approaching, you're likely preparing your kitchen for festive baking, and streamlining this process can start with decluttering certain baking supplies to declutter before the holidays. This can ensure a more seamless baking experience and prevent any baking blunders while creating a more organized space to set the stage for stress-free holiday baking.
Whether you have broken or useless utensils or expired ingredients, it's important to review your baking kitchen utensils to ensure you use your space efficiently and avoid needing to get new items at the last minute.
Our experts have explained the baking supplies to declutter before the holidays.
Baking supplies to declutter before the holidays
You can use this opportunity to organize your cabinets or pantry, utilizing storage solutions like clear bins, baskets, or labeled jars to organize baking supplies within cabinets and pantries. During this process, group similar items together, such as sugars, flour, chocolate chips, and nuts, making them easily accessible for holiday baking sessions.
1. Mismatched bakeware and incomplete sets
Over time, bakeware can accumulate, and you may lose track and end up with mismatched items or incomplete sets.
Take a moment to evaluate your baking pans, sheets, and molds and discard any that are missing parts, donating any unused items.
If you have incomplete sets of measuring cups, spoons, or other baking tools, now is the time to replace or complete these sets. We recommend these baking measuring cups, from Le Creuset.
Having a complete and organized set of tools can make your baking process more efficient, ensuring you don't have to run to the store at the last minute.
2. Expired ingredients
Next, remove all your baking ingredients and review them, checking the expiry dates and quality.
'It's crucial to take inventory. Sort through your baking supplies and discard anything expired or seldom used,' recommends Gowdhaman Kandasamy, director of Kitchen Altitude. 'This not only creates space but also gives you a clear idea of what you need.'
Expired spices – Check the expiration dates of any spices that you might use for baking and dispose of any that are more than one to two years old since their flavor will have faded.
Toppings – Assess your collection of sprinkles, edible glitter, and other decorative items. If you have unused or expired decorations, decluttering them will not only free up space but also make it easier to find and use the items you truly enjoy.
'Be it sprinklers, cake toppers, or chocolate chips, old cake or cookie toppings, over time these elements become clumped or gooey due to the moisture build-up and opened packets,' explains Sunita Yousuf, creator of The Wannabe Cook. 'Even if they feel fine, it’s better to throw them out rather than use them for the holidays.'
Outdated extracts – Extracts usually expire after two to three years, so smell them to test if they are ready to be thrown out and replace any you will need.
Chunky baking powder – Baking powder can absorb moisture and get hard over time. Check if your baking powder is clumpy or solid. If so, it's time to replace it.
Cracking food coloring – Food coloring dries up over time. If yours is cracked or dry, throw it out.
Old yeast – Active dry yeast expires after only a year or so. Test your yeast to see if it's still active and foamy when hydrated. If not, dispose of it.
'Old yeast won’t make the flour rise, leading to flatbread and dry crust. If you have a yeast that hasn't reached the expiry date but the bottle was opened months ago, you should dispose of it,' says Sunita Yousuf.
Crystallized sugar – Sugar should be soft to be good for baking, however, it can get hard and crystallized if it's been around for too long. If this is the case invest in some new sugar. Brown sugar can be softened when warmed, however, if this is not the case it has lost its usefulness.
Expired flour – Unbleached white flour lasts around six to twelve months, while whole wheat flour lasts for only four to six months before going stale. Check its dates.
Stale baking additions – 'Check walnuts, pecans, raisins, and cranberries for expired or improperly stored nuts that have turned sour and soft or lost their flavor,' says Yama Jason, founder of House Customize. 'You can taste a small piece first, if it becomes tasteless or has poor texture, do not hesitate to throw it away.'
Clumpy cocoa powder – Dry cocoa powder will get hard and clumpy over time. Sift it to test for lumps, and replace it if necessary
3. Single-use items
Single-use items that are cluttering your kitchen drawers can accumulate and should be evaluated before the holidays. While these tools can be fun, if you find that you rarely use them, it might be time to clear some space by letting them go.
Instead, invest in multi-purpose tools that can replace several single-use ones to save you space and stay organized. For example, a high-quality stand mixer can be used for mixing, kneading dough, and even shredding meat.
Reducing the number of items cluttering your kitchen can make the whole cooking experience simpler, making it easier to locate what you need.
4. Broken or deformed baskeware
Evaluate tools and utensils for signs it's time to replace your pans and other baking equipment, removing any items that are broken or worn out it can affect the quality of your cooking.
'Check whether the baking utensils are warped or the bottom part of the pan starts to peel off, they will lead to uneven baking with or warring results affecting the flavor and appearance of the food,' says Yama Jason. 'It is recommended to replace them with new quality pans for better baking results.'
Additionally, discard any misshapen cookie cutters that can lead to non-descript cookie shapes.
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This striking apple-shaped baking dish can be proudly displayed on open shelving in your kitchen to hone in on the fall and Christmassy feels.
This versatile pot is the perfect item for Thanksgiving baking, including pies and tarts, and storing leftovers. This product can also be used for cooking casseroles and marinating meats.
What to do with baking supplies you want to declutter?
If you are wondering what to do with the items you are decluttering, you can consider donating unopened or unused baking supplies that you don't foresee using during the holidays.
Food banks or local charities often welcome donations of non-perishable baking ingredients, providing support to those in need during the holidays.
You can also donate any good-quality baking supplies you no longer use.
How to organize baking supplies before the holidays?
To organize baking supplies before the holidays, Gowdhaman Kandasamy, director of Kitchen Altitude recommends, 'Ingredients like flour and sugar should be in easily accessible, airtight containers, while less frequently used items can be stored higher up.
'Implementing a 'first in, first out' system ensures older supplies are used before they expire.
'Labeling is also key for efficient organization. Clear labels on containers save time and reduce frustration during the busy baking season. Consider space-saving solutions like over-the-door organizers or under-shelf baskets to maximize cabinet space.'
Shop our favorite food organizers
The dividers on this lazy Susan make it easy to keep different ingredients and condiments separate, so it's a no-brainer for a pantry to keep all items easy to access.
This set of seven glass food storage containers with bamboo lids is the perfect way to elegantly display your food items for convenient access.
Consolidate multiples to create a more organized space. If you have multiple bags of the same ingredient that are partially used, consolidate them in clear, vacuum-sealed containers.
Combining similar items into one container frees up space and makes it easier to track quantities so you can see when you need to replenish ingredients.
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Lola Houlton is a news writer for Homes & Gardens. She has been writing content for Future PLC for the past five years, in particular Homes & Gardens, Real Homes and GardeningEtc. She writes on a broad range of subjects, including recipe articles, reviewing products, writing ‘how to’ and ‘when to’ articles. Lola now writes about everything from organization through to house plants. Lola is a graduate student, who completed her degree in Psychology at the University of Sussex. She has also spent some time working at the BBC.
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