Kitchens are the heart of the home. They’re the hub for homework, hosting and meal time. All this activity means kitchens attract A LOT of clutter.
If your kitchen needs a reset, keep reading for pro tips on how to declutter your kitchen once and for all.
- Why Should I Declutter My Kitchen?
- How to Clear the Kitchen Clutter
- 3 Ways to Keep Your Kitchen Organized
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Why Should I Declutter My Kitchen?
Why should you even declutter your kitchen? Well, simplifying your kitchen will help you be more present for all those special moments that happen in the heart of the home. It will also make cooking, cleaning and meal time so much easier.
The path to simplifying is knowing how you use your kitchen. With that in mind, here are a few questions to answer:
- Who does the cooking?
- Is that person left or right handed?
- How do you primarily use the kitchen?
- What’s functioning well and what isn’t?
- What are your goals for the kitchen?
Use your answers as a filter to help you decide what to keep or get rid of as you declutter.
How to Clear the Kitchen Clutter
The idea of decluttering a kitchen can seem overwhelming. Rightfully so. The kitchen is one of the largest and hardest to organize spaces in anyone’s home. With that in mind, I recommend setting aside a block of uninterrupted time and breaking the project down into simple action steps, one area at a time.
5 Action Steps to Declutter the Kitchen
I like to divide the kitchen into five main areas: Drawers, Countertops, Sink, Cabinets and Pantry, and then approach them in that order. Starting with the simpler areas first will help you build confidence and momentum as you declutter your kitchen.
You could either work on an area each day for a week, set aside a couple of full work days or make it a weekend project.
Step 1 – Decluttering Kitchen Drawers
We’re all guilty of shoving stuff into drawers, any drawer. So, they can easily get overcrowded with miscellaneous items, junk, and extra kitchen tools and gadgets.
Keep your goals in mind as you consider what gadgets, measuring cups, and utensils to keep. The reality is we only use some of what we have. The rest just sits their taking up space. So, toss or donate anything you don’t actually use.
Some kitchen tools you may consider getting rid of include:
- garlic press or other specialty gadgets – most of the time there are other, simpler ways to chop garlic, squeeze a lemon or spiral vegetables. So, unless you regularly use the gadgets you have, go ahead and donate them.
- loose items – meaning things like straws, toothpicks or plasticware that have fallen out of the packaging.
- forgotten condiments – like the packets of ketchup and sauces we save but never use. Those can go.
- junk – forgotten notes, loose change, old batteries, random tools, photos, invitations….all those things can be organized in a way that better serves you.
- extras – if you have duplicates of items and don’t use them, these make great donations.
Step 2 – Declutter Kitchen Countertops
Kitchen counters tend to be a catchall as we come and go throughout the day. So, chances are there are items taking up space on your kitchen counters that don’t belong.
To get started, go ahead and clear everything off the counters. As you sort through what to put back, consider creating what I call convenience zones. These are the spaces for items that get regular use throughout the day. I recommend leaving space for:
- Cooking utensils – you can hang them above the stove, place them in a container on the countertop next to the stove, or organize them in drawers
- Hot beverage station – if your household drinks coffee or hot tea, determine the best place to set out the coffee maker and accompanying condiments.
- Cookbooks or tablet – place your most used cookbooks near the stove, either in a basket, between bookends or on an easel.
- Cereal – you can include cereal canisters as a part of a breakfast bar/station
- Fruit – you might like to keep a bowl of fruit on the island or with your breakfast bar
- Flour – pour flour into a container and place it in your designated baking zone
- Sugar – sugar is another dry good that works well in a baking zone
- Olive oil – decant your olive oil and place it on a tray or lazy susan next to the stove .
- Salt & Pepper – you can set salt and pepper shakers with the olive oil
I don’t bake or even use flour or sugar that much so those aren’t on my countertop. I share that to say keep in mind what you use and reach for on a daily basis to determine what you want on your countertops.
Step 3 – Declutter the Kitchen Sink
It’s easy for clutter to pile up next to the faucet and especially under the sink. Check those areas and toss:
- expired cleaners
- worn out cleaning rags
- dirty sponges
- packaging – empty bulky items into storage containers to save space and reduce visual clutter
- misplaced items – these are any items you determine don’t belong under the kitchen sink
- excess plastic bags – if you have more plastic bags than you’ll ever need, or if they’ve taken over your space, recycle as many as you can and leave just enough for use.
- broken items – like soap bottles that no longer work, cleaning tools that no longer work or have lost effectiveness
Be sure to clean any soap build up from the countertops as well to reduce visual clutter. You can also use a tray or container to corral dish soap and sponges.
Step 4 – Declutter Kitchen Cabinets
Kitchen cabinets are like the workhorse of the kitchen, storing everything from everyday dishes, to food storage containers, to food prep items, to pots and pans. And much more. so it stands to reason that our cabinets get stuffed to overflowing, with items toppling over every time we reach in to get something.
To organize your kitchen cabinets, I recommend wither tackling a cabinet a day or spending an afternoon going through all the cabinets. Whichever method works for you, get rid of:
- any chipped glasses
- broken dishes
- incomplete dish sets (if that matters to you)
- inherited pieces you don’t want
- food storage containers without lids and lids without containers
- excess mugs
- worn out pots and pans
- serving pieces you never use (Keep the items you use once or twice a year.)
Here’s a guide to help you decide how many plates and glasses you need. It’s just a guide. Base your final number on how many you use.
Step 5 – Declutter the Pantry
Much like kitchen cabinets, pantries can easily become cluttered, especially as a space everyone in the household uses. The reality is multiples and expired foods can be found in even the most organized pantries.
To get started, empty everything out of the pantry. Throw away expired food, spices, and flours. If you have extras of a particular item, consider donating some to a food pantry.
Sort everything that’s left into categories. Some common categories are:
- Canned food
- Breakfast foods
- Snack items
- Baking Ingredients
- Extra inventory/ back stock
- Dinner items
- Vinegars and Oils
- Pasta and Grains
- Kid food/Baby food
Pick and choose the categories that make the most sense for how you and your family use the pantry.
3 Ways to Keep Your Kitchen Organized
The simplest way to keep kitchen clutter away is to clear surfaces each night. This routine only takes a few minutes and goes a long way in maintaining a clutter free kitchen.
Also, be sure to establish a kitchen organizing system that suits your lifestyle and is easy to maintain. Having a place for everything means items are more likely to be put away.
If you notice clutter creeping back into your kitchen, take some time to think about why. Things to consider:
- Does this item have a home?
- Does everyone in the family know where everything goes?
- Are bins and containers clearly labeled?
- Would this item make more sense in a different drawer or cabinet?
- Am I collecting or buying items I don’t need?
- Does this item fit into our current lifestyle?
If you get overwhelmed during the decluttering process, refer back to your goals to remind yourself why you’re decluttering your kitchen. And keep in mind, simplifying and editing your kitchen will make your everyday life simpler, cut down on time in the kitchen, and ensure your kitchen is ready for special occasions, holidays and entertaining.
For more decluttering help, read:
And be sure to save this article for future reference.