Spring is coming up soon, and so are the spring cleaning projects. One of the tough spots can be the kitchen, especially if you cook regularly.

Even if you don't clean the whole house, it can feel like you did after tackling the tough spots in the kitchen. That can definitely be the case if you love to cook and bake.

Here are four things all home chefs should focus on for a cleaner, more organized kitchen:

Cleaning the Cracks and Crevices of Appliances

The devil is in the details they say, and that is certainly true for appliances. The nooks and crannies of your appliances can be tough to keep free of grime, even if you do wipe them down regularly.

These spots include knobs, grills, exhaust filter on the range, door crevices and rubber linings on the dishwasher and fridge, and the individual parts of small appliances.

You can usually put range grills and filters in the dishwasher. But if you can't, then good old elbow grease and a cleaning brush, baking soda, and soap do the trick. If you have a really grimy range hood filter, you might try boiling it in water with 1/2 cup baking soda. Your appliance knobs could also do well with a soapy soaking, then scrubbing with a brush and baking soda.

Organizing by Zones

You're no doubt used to the way your kitchen is organized. Maybe it's been the same way since you moved in. But have you thought about reorganizing your kitchen according to tasks? Think about what you do in your kitchen every day, from brewing coffee to food prep to washing dishes.

Once you do this, then unload, wipe down, and reload your cabinets, placing items that are used for a similar purpose together (French press and coffee mugs; knives and cutting boards, etc.) in the area where they will be needed.

Eliminating Outdated Staples

Now it's time to check expiration dates. You may be surprised how long that bottle of soy sauce has been in the fridge. Check all the staples in the fridge and cupboard to see if any are expired.

This also applies to dried spices. Spices lose their effectiveness after about a year. Having a fresh supply of spices will make your recipes zing, and will make more room in the cupboard.

To avoid waste in the future and save money now, buy small amounts where bulk spices are sold.

Washing Grocery Totes

Speaking of rancid, when was the last time you cleaned your reusable grocery bags? Studies have found bacteria easily transports from bag-to-food-to-refrigerator, increasing the chances of food poisoning and cross-contamination.

Throw them in the washer or wash by hand with hot soapy water.

Check back on our blog twice a week for more real estate news, ideas, and local events in Austin and Lake Travis. You can search for the perfect home on our website using our powerful home search tools. You can also get free listing alerts of homes as they hit the market at WelcomeToLakeTravis.com. And you can always feel free to call us at 512-657-4467‚Äč to talk to an experienced agent today.