Our apartment isn’t very big, try 800 square feet of not very big, and our kitchen is only a teeny portion of that space. There is very little storage or counter space, so when organizing my kitchen every square inch has to count. Our kitchen has always been a problem area for me since we moved into together.
Over the last two years, our kitchen supplies have grown out of control and I have run out of storage solutions. Not only is a messy and cluttered kitchen just asking for trouble, but it prevents us from using the limited space we have. Maybe your kitchen isn’t quite as cramped as mine, but I’m sure you know all to well the horror of not knowing whether you can close the cabinet, or if you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for in the pantry.
This year, as part of my New Year’s goals and resolutions, I set a goal for myself to finally rid my home of clutter, one room at a time. Last month I finally tackled my kitchen, and while it is by no means perfect, I feel like I have a little more control over my kitchen again. If your kitchen could use a good decluttering session, you’re in the right place. Here is a guide to completely declutter your kitchen and take back your space.
A Guide to Decluttering your Kitchen
Start with your Drawers and Cabinets
As a whole, your kitchen can feel really overwhelming. Especially if it is big with lots of storage space. That’s why we are going to start with the drawers and cabinets. Start by taking every single thing out of all your drawers and cabinets and set them all in one place. Keep your garbage bin handy, you’re going to need it. Start by getting rid of everything that is expired, or that you can’t remember using. This was extremely beneficial in helping me eliminate spices and other cooking utensils. I filled up two grocery bags just with cups we never use. I’m talking as far back as since we moved in together never used.
Once you have gotten rid of everything that has gone bad or isn’t used, it’s time to put things back. Start by dividing your remaining items by category. Group similar things together and store them accordingly. For example, all of my baking items such as flour, brown sugar, etc are stored in the cabinet on top of the microwave. Since I don’t bake that often, they don’t need to be stored in a prominent place.
Clean up your Pantry
We don’t have a pantry, but we use a chef’s cart to hold our plates and food instead. So for the sake of this section, I’m calling it a pantry. Start by clearing out EVERY piece of food out of the pantry and set it on the floor. If your pantry looked anything like mine, it probably has at least 2-3 of the same items, and no rhyme or reason to how it was stored. The trick to decluttering your pantry is to put items back in both category and expiration date. Start by getting rid of any food that has gone bad, or that you’re not going to eat.
Now, group the items you have left together. For example, your pastas can go together, pancake and other mixes, breads, etc. Then organize them by closest expiration date. When you put them away, make sure the item with the closest expiration date is at the front. Now that you’ve just cleared your pantry, you likely noticed items you have too much of or not enough of. Make note of these items now so you can better plan what to buy on your next trip to the grocery store.
Clear off your Counter Top
As I mentioned earlier, my kitchen is very small. If there is too much out on the counter, there is no longer a place for me to cook and prepare food. You should strive to have nothing on your counter tops. That won’t work for everyone, so the things you do decide to keep should follow these rules:
- It may stay on the counter top if you use it daily (items that fall into this category include coffee pots, dish soap, and cooking utensils)
- It may stay on the counter top if you need it quickly (items that fall into this category include kitchen knives, paper towels and dish rags)
The items that take residence on my counter are my Keurig, dish soap and wand, hand soap, one roll of paper towels, my knife block, one bottle of olive oil, my kitchen utensils (displayed neatly in a jar), spoon rest, and salt and pepper shakers. These are the only items that ever take permanent residence on my counter tops.
Fridge and Freezer
You should clean out your fridge once a week, but at a minimum once a month. Toss out any old or expired food and put food that is about to expire in a bin near the front of your fridge. Organize smaller items in bins in your fridge. For example, loose condiments are stored in a dish, and vegetables for lunches are stored in a bin. You should easily be able to see what you have when you open the door. If the items in your freezer have been in there longer than six months, use it this week or toss it now.
Store your Items based on Frequency of Use
Go through your appliances one by one and get rid of any that you haven’t used in the past year. If you haven’t used it during any of the seasons, you probably aren’t going to and it isn’t essential. Put small appliances that you use daily on the counter or in a drawer or cabinet. Appliances that you use once a week or a month should go on a lower shelf or in a cupboard. If you have items that only get used once a year, such as a turkey roaster, these don’t need to be stored in the kitchen and can be stored in a place such as the closet or basement.
Our kitchen isn’t as organized as I’d like it to be, and I still struggle with certain areas of the kitchen, but overall our kitchen functions better and stays cleaner longer. The less you have, the easier it is to clean and keep an area tidy. In the end, I was able to get rid of one box of items from my kitchen alone after just recently purging it a few months ago. Our kitchen tends to be the one area in our home we give clutter a bit of grace. We don’t think of appliances that haven’t been used in a year as useless or unwanted, we think of them as what-ifs. Don’t let clutter stay in your home in the hopes you might use it some day. That goes for the kitchen as well.