Have you ever wanted to invite friends over, but the clutter in your social spaces (like your kitchen) makes you feel embarrassed and keeps you from practicing hospitality like you want?
No one loves a disorganized space, but we don’t always have the time (or prioritize) to keep things in order. Our kitchen surfaces are often full of cutlery, appliances, food, and much more. Things can get unsightly and interfere how your kitchen looks and feels.
A kitchen declutter can the thing that takes you from “on the verge of a breakdown cause its so messy” to “WOW, your kitchen is so neat. A great decluttering session can make your kitchen look bigger and brighter as well. By eliminating the distraction of clutter, you can draw more attention to your kitchen’s good features and provide yourself with adequate working space.
Getting your kitchen decluttered and organized should be a strategic practice. For my family, I often focus a lot on kitchen decluttering prior to a military move. As my family and I get ready for our transition from Alaska, I have been excited to strategically organize my house and minimize the things I have to manage room by room.
The following guide will help you sort through, declutter, and make the hard decisions with what to keep and what to toss in your kitchen.
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How do I organize and declutter my kitchen?
A disorganized kitchen can be annoying at best and costly at its worse. Having a kitchen full of items that you rarely use, can make you more prone to purchase items that you already have. If for no other reason than you forget what you have. A messy kitchen is also no fun to actually cook in, and so, you may be more prone to purchasing take out instead of going through the process of cleaning a junky kitchen in order to cook
I have compiled a few tips on how to declutter your kitchen. As always I try to keep them practical and actionable!
- Prepare yourself mentally and physically to declutter
Before you get started with your kitchen declutter project you will want to make sure you are prepared mentally. Then you want to make sure you have gathered all the supplies you will need. Items such as trash bags, donation bins, baskets, etc can be helpful to organize after you have completed your decluttering. You may want to include a timer as well, just so you can be focused.
Pro-tip: If it helps, you might also want to put some music in the background. This will trigger the release of feel-good hormones and boost your focus, and as my mama has always shared, cleaning is better with good tunes.
2. Work on one area at a time
If your decluttering method is to try to do everything at the same time, you are likely to get overwhelmed and potentially give up on your decluttering goals. Moreover, you will feel like you are not making any progress, which in turn slows you down because of the mountain syndrome. You want to have a decluttering process that is meticulous.
Working on one area at a time will give you much better results. For instance, if you organize things in the cabinets, start with one cabinet, then move to the next once you are done. Once you are done with the drawers, you can then work on the island or start organizing your pantry.
It doesn’t really matter where you start with your kitchen declutter, I often like to start in an area of the room that will give me a quick win (like the utensils drawer).
3. When determining to keep an item or not, think about the overall importance of the item
Once you get started you will quickly see that you need to consistently ask yourself a few questions to determine the legitimacy of an items tenure in your kitchen. Some questions to ask include: would you purchase it today, how often you use it, and how many of a particular item you have.
By asking yourself these questions, you will identify the items that need to be sold or given away verses the items that need to be stored at the furthest end of the cabinet, as well as the items that need to be disposed of.
Appliances and gadgets are one of the biggest contributors to kitchen clutter. When it comes to appliances, consider keeping items that are multipurpose and get rid of the items that duplicate those prurposes.
4. Get rid of things that shouldn’t be in the kitchen
Another reason why your kitchen may look so disorganized is that there are items that don’t belong present. It could be handbags, backpacks, books, gadgets, and other things you brought into the kitchen.
Collect everything that belongs outside the kitchen and keep them in one place then you can organize them in their respective positions. This will go a long way in clearing the space in the kitchen.
5. Make it a habit to keep the kitchen organized
Once you get your kitchen decluttered, you must make an intentional effort to maintaining it. Without making an effort to keep your kitchen organized, you will easily find yourself back in the same place. Once you have arranged your kitchen, take it upon yourself to keep the space decluttered. Regular decluttering and organizing will go a long way so that you don’t have to dedicate a whole day to get your things in order.
Choose a decluttering Method
Now that you have an idea of some simple hacks, lets talk about decluttering methods. A simple google search will give you a wealth of ideas for how to declutter, and I have a comprehensive guide to getting started with decluttering decluttering methods. Additionally here are a few kitchen declutter processes to consider.
1. The four box methods
With this method, you need to have four boxes. The boxes should be labeled trash, donate, keep, and relocate.
The boxes should help you in the very first step of decluttering, which is sorting. Trash items that are no longer in working condition donate the ones you don’t need anymore, keep the things you often use and relocate the things that don’t belong in the kitchen or ones you don’t use as often.
2. One in one out method
This decluttering technique will help you keep only items that you need and avoid duplicates. The in one out rule means that for every item you buy, let go of the other. The technique will also help you avoid unnecessary purchases. If you value a bowl, you will not buy another one because you don’t want to lose the one you have.
3. The five-item rule
This method is to help you get rid of items that you don’t use. You are required to remove five things that you have not used in the recent past. This will clear a lot of space in the kitchen and only stay with the items you have used.
The techniques above have been part of excellent kitchen organization tips and have worked for many homes.
Questions to ask yourself before decluttering
There are three critical questions to ask yourself before decluttering.
1. Will be my kitchen activities be affected by this item?
This question is designed to help you determine how important an item is. If the thing is essential to your daily kitchen activities, then you should keep it.
2. Would you buy the item today?
If you went to the store and came across the item on the shelves, would you buy it? If the answer is no, then you should get rid of it.
3. Is there an item that does the same job but smaller?
The smaller the appliances, the better. One of the things that will make your kitchen look cluttered is having large items. If there are smaller options for the items you have, this could be a better option for you. If you have two coffee makers, pick the one that works the best and occupies less space and let go of the other one.
By asking the three questions, you will determine the items that need to stay, the ones that need to be donated, and those that need to be in the trash bag. They will go a long way in decluttering and ensuring your kitchen space only has what is essential.
Kitchen Declutter Checklist (16 things to declutter today)
Ready to get started? Here is a quick list of a few things you can declutter in your kitchen this weekend to make your space look worlds different!
1. Cooking utensils
Kitchen utensils stay in the drawers. If your drawers are full, then you should consider letting go of some of the utensils. Remove the utensils from the drawers and arrange them; in the process, sort out the utensils and set aside the ones you don’t need.
Cookbooks can be a source of clutter in your kitchen. There is no point in having ten cookbooks in your kitchen, when you only use three. You could also be using only a few pages of the books. Consider writing down (or taking pictures) of the recipes you use consistently and then donating the books. This can also be done for recipes that you have memorized.
These often come in pairs. Ensure that they are matched. The lids should be coupled with the right bottoms. If there is no matching lid, let it go. If it is terribly stained, let it go. If it is torn, let it go! Any excuse will do! Additionally, tupperware can be bulky too in the kitchen, and you should consider giving away the ones you don’t use.
Silverware should be nicely stored in the kitchen drawers. The best way is to dedicate a specific drawer for the silverware. Donate silverware that is in excess, and make sure that none is lying around. My family has finally pared down to 2 pieces of each for every person in the family. It was difficult at first, but now, I couldn’t imagine having a drawer full of silverware.
Chances are you are still keeping broken and chipped mugs. This is the time to get rid of them. Donate the extra pieces and keep only what you need. If you have a mug stand, arrange the mugs on it. If you store mugs in your cabinet, do the same. Consider also the mug collection. I have one, if the item is something you LOVE, you don’t have to get rid of it for decluttering sake. Just know it will be something else you will have to manage.
6. Wash towels
You probably have wash towels that are old or are not in good condition. Those should be thrown away. If you have excess towels, consider donating them and keeping only the ones that you need. Also, have designated storage for the towels: drawers or hooks.
Worn out sponges should be thrown away. Have a container or rack to keep the sponges. If there is excess, get rid of them.
8. Canned goods
Since they are in storage, it is easy to find yourself letting them lie around. You can get an over the refrigerator rack to hold the canned goods in the kitchen. For the bigger items, assign a shelf or cabinet for them. Keep the canned goods in one place.
9. Small appliances
Get rid of devices that are duplicated as they will eat up space unnecessarily. Remember, if you have a multifunction appliance, consider letting that take the place of the duplicates that are single function.
10. Duplicate cookware
Think well about the cookware that you actually use. What I have found is that both my husband and I have a different favorite skillet, pan, and pot to cook with. Acknowledge and accept that and then get rid of the ones that are just taking up space in your cabinets. If they are in good condition, these should be donated.
Store the non-perishables in containers and organize them on a shelf. If they get mixed up in the clutter, they are also likely to get contaminated. Also, feel free to dispose of anything that you will not be using.
12. Kitchen Gadgets
If you have duplicate gadgets, give away one of them and keep the best. Alternatively, if you have space in your garage, you can store the gadgets.
Also consider the gadgets that are broken as well as those which seemed really cool, but in actuality are harder work than doing things the old fashioned way. Keeping broken gadgets or unused gadgets in your kitchen is pointless, and they will take up space for no good reason.
If there are spices that you no longer use that you are still holding on to, let them go. While decluttering, make sure you are looking at expiration dates as well. These belong to the trash bag. Moreover, there could be containers that have run out of spices still lying on the shelves, sort them, and throw away the empty ones.
Throw away expired medicines. Medicines can also form clutter if they are not organized. After disposing of the expired drugs and the ones that have run out, bring together the remaining ones in one location.
15. Freezer items
Declutter the freezer by disposing of the expired items, empty boxes, freezer burned items, etc.
Be it a wall art, or centerpieces, ensure that the decorations are where they need to be. If the décor is not in good shape or out of date, toss it in the trash.
How can I keep my kitchen organized?
Once you have implemented the small kitchen organization hacks above, there is still a job ahead of you. That is keeping your kitchen organized moving forward. Decluttering can be a tedious and lengthy process, and the mess is something you would NOT want to experience again.
To keep your kitchen organized:
1. Make use of the shelves and cabinets
Do not leave things lying on the countertops. Once you are done using the plates, return them to their respective cabinets. After dinner, wash the dishes, dry them, and return them to your storage. The cabinets will help you keep your kitchen clean from clutter.
2. Avoid having items that don’t belong
Always make sure that the kitchen only has items that belong. Bags, shoes, farm tools, and things that should stay in other rooms should not be spotted here.
3. Employ the declutter rules every time
Regularly practice decluttering techniques. If you buy an item, let go of one. Then from time to time, get rid of five things that you have stayed long without using.
Final thoughts on decluttering your kitchen
Organization is something you have to be consistent about. All it takes to keep your kitchen organized is ensuring that everything is where it needs to be all the time and letting go of items that no longer serve you.
If you are ready to start a journey of decluttering and minimalism, consider checking out our 60 day minimalism challenge, and completely declutter your home in 60 days!