We all know that de-cluttering the home can take some time and that if we want to do it quickly, we really need to break the task down so as to avoid overwhelm.
In this post, we focus on the kitchen, which seems to attract clutter like a magnet attracts metal.
Do you know how to declutter the kitchen properly?
If not, then you’re in for a treat. This post will show you how to declutter the kitchen by focusing on the major sources of kitchen clutter.
What You’ll Learn
Why the kitchen?
Unlike a home office with it’s usual culprit of extra receipts and bits of paper that really have no business in your new and improved, totally organised, minimalist life, the kitchen is a bit tougher to declutter.
It’s the heart of the home, or so people say, so it’s vital that it’s warm, cozy and inviting. And filled with food. Lots and lots of food.
The kitchen is usually where we have the pantry (filled to the brim with stocks of food), cutlery, pots, pans and other cooking paraphernalia, your dining set and the massive kitchen appliances we now can’t seem to do without (yes, I’m looking at you, dear fridge).
Combine all this with the fact that many modern houses seem to have teeny weeny kitchens, then the stage is set for anxiety-inducing clutter.
This is why we believe that the kitchen deserves special consideration – it just tends to contain a lof of items that we think we need and which we keep – even if we’re not using them just now – just in case.
Heck, if you’re like us, you probably have an assortment of kitchen implements that perform a specific function that you can’t live without. You know, like that brand new garlic press that’s supposed to make cooking a lot easier (even though you hate to cook and the last time you were slaving away in the kitchen was this morning, when you made a double espresso from your coffee machine).
So, where the heck do you start?
If you’re just now learning about how to declutter the kitchen, then you might want to start with the most basic rule: figure out what you want to keep and what you should throw.
Lucky for you, we have some great tips that will help.
Comb through any cookbooks or recipe books that you’re not using anymore. If you want, you can Marie Kondo them and ask yourself, “Do the recipes inside spark joy?” No? Sell them or donate them to people that really need them.
Yes? Then obviously, keep them.
If you don’t want to go with the hype, then you can do this the usual way. Have you used any of these books in the past year?
No? Sell or donate.
There you go. Easy-peasy.
The bane of our existence. Seriously, we have so many receipts (usually for grocery shopping) and they almost always end up being dumped on the kitchen table for further “processing” (AKA answer surveys in hopes of winning a prize). There they stay until one of us gets fed up and then dump the whole lot in the bin.
So don’t wait for that to happen to you.
If, for some reason, you need to keep a copy of the receipt then digitise them and bin the paper copies. If you have a printer, it most likely would also include a scanner or you can even use your phone to take a photo and make sure that it’s filed properly.
Recycle glass jars and use them to store all your food ingredients and spices.
Make sure you label them correctly. We can 100% guarantee, based on extensive personal experience, that it is definitely not fun to discover that what you thought was paprika was actually cayenne – especially if you’ve already added the blasted ingredient into the dish.
Already binned all the glass jars?
You can get them cheap on Amazon. We love these magnetic spice containers on our fridge – massive space-saver and they serve as decorations too. For non-spices, we go for these glass canisters, which are really clear jars with clear fitted lids so we can see what they contain.
Now, you’ll want to focus on unused appliances. Sure, you’re most likely using all the large appliances, but there are always small appliances that are just gathering dust.
Remove the ones you haven’t used since God knows when and only keep the ones that receive regular used. In our case, we kept the toaster, the rice cooker, the slow cooker, the kettle and the microwave.
We already tossed our sandwhich maker and spiraliser. Our beloved but hardly ever used Nescafe Dolce Gusto might be next.
If there’s a traveller in the house then you probably have a collection of magnets gracing your fridge.
A lot of people keep magnets, presumably because they’re the perfect souvenirs. They’re not too expensive. They usually have the name of the place you went to so you never forget. And they’re small and not heavy so you can slide one in your luggage without worrying about exceeding your baggage allowance.
Unfortunately, all these also mean that we tend to over-buy magnets. We buy more than one so we can give family and friends some souvenirs and then we leave the rest in a junk drawer, which is usually and for some weird reason, in the kitchen.
So, if you have one of those, get rid. You already have one on your fridge and the ones stagnating in your junk drawer will stay there unless you give them away.
Count how many dish towels and cloth napkins you have.
Examine the state of them.
Did you know that old towels and napkins tend to accumulate bacteria so if you’ve had them for five years, consider replacing them with new ones.
One or two will suffice.
Remember, we’re actually culling your items not adding more.
How to declutter the kitchen: The Process
The main focus when you start the kitchen declutter process is to start with one drawer or one area at a time and then go from there. Trying to do everything all at once is overwhelming and tends to end up discouraging you rather than helping you succeed.
Focus on one thing at a time.
Remove all the items from a drawer, put them on the table and then check to see what exactly you’re using and what you need to throw away.
Remember to stick with only one drawer at a time. It will be easier and this also gives some sense of progress too. It might take a little bit to get everything done the way you want, but you’ll finish it.
Remove anything that doesn’t belong in the kitchen.
There are countless times when you bring stuff that should be in the bathroom or living room into the kitchen. This usually happens when you go grocery shopping and you obviously go to the kitchen first to put the perishables away. Once you’ve put those away, you’re usually left with the things that should go to other rooms – usually the bathroom or the bedroom – but which seem to just languish there in the middle of the kitchen. (Please don’t tell us it’s just us)
Removing those will help eliminate clutter.
Remove anything that you don’t need or want.
See the above list of common culprits? Yeah, make sure you streamline those and you’ll be well on your way to a clutter-free kitchen.
Find dead spaces and resurrect them.
Yeah, we mean those spaces that need to be there but don’t usually serve any purpose whatsoever.
Like the spaces above and under the sink.
Even if you have a window above the sink, you’ll still most likely have cabinets on either side. Install a metal rod in between and use strong hooks to hang pots and pans.
In our house, we don’t have a window, just a tiled wall. So we used an Ikea Pegboard and hung all sorts of cooking implements there.
This is a really good option, especially if you have a small kitchen.
Like many things in this site, learning how to declutter the kitchen properly and thoroughly is not something that happens overnight.
You need information and then action.
And then you need time.
Sometimes, you’ll come across something that has no practical value whatsoever but which has great sentimental value. And you’ll wonder, “Should I keep this or throw this away?”
Unfortunately, we won’t be able to make that decision for you. You’ll need to make that for yourself.
So, decluttering the kitchen – like any type of decluttering, really – is not just getting rid of stuff. It’s so much more than that.
It’s looking at your life and finding out what is still truly important for you. Right now.
Now, it’s your turn. Do you really know how to declutter the kitchen? And have you already done so? What’s your best tip? What made it easy? Or hard?
Pop your answers in the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you!