The kitchen is the creativity center of the home, and since it is where you’re preparing your food and it directly affects your health, this area is especially important to keep clean. Rotten food, expired sauces, and dirty countertops can lead to illnesses and food poisoning.
The kitchen sometimes doubles as the place where the family gathers around or where your kids do their homework. A decluttered kitchen will allow you to enjoy quality time as well as making cooking more enjoyable.
How to Start
- Think about what you use most often: if you use the cappuccino machine daily, then have it at hand; but if you only use it when guests come over once every few months, store it somewhere else where it isn’t using your valuable counter space.
- Store food so that you can see it: when we don’t know what we have, we tend to buy those items again, and when we declutter our pantry, we tend to find lots of expired items.
- Don’t have endless spares: keep only your favorites and remember to use the good china on an everyday basis with your family, otherwise it will only gather dust and you won’t get to enjoy it.
- Get rid of items that you don’t use, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t useful, but if your turkey pan has been gathering dust for the past ten years, it’s time to come to terms with the idea that you’re probably not going to be cooking one this Thanksgiving either. It’s better to give it to someone who will appreciate it, and if you need it in the future, you can always borrow it.
- Optimize your storage space: most kitchen cabinets come with movable shelves so that you’re able to place items with similar height together and make the best use of the space. Also, having square containers work better for saving space than round ones.
Things to Declutter in Your Kitchen
Here is a list of items that you can declutter in your kitchen. Tackle 1 category at the time:
- Cookbooks: how many cookbooks do you really need? They were necessary before the internet, but nowadays you can find everything online. There are many apps that will help you get your recipes organized. Keep only those cookbooks that have a sentimental value, and tear away the pages from those that you use only for a few recipes. You can then store those loose pages in a binder.
- Cooking utensils: how many wooden spoons, serving spoons, spatulas and cake knives do you really need? I guess that you only use your favorites on a daily basis, so you can easily keep the ones that you regularly use and donate the rest. The same goes for your pots and pans.
- Flatware: flatware, serving spoons, barbecue utensils, kitchen knives, etc. Take an inventory of what you own and use and donate the rest.
- Dinnerware: remove the plates that are chipped or mismatched. Stop buying seasonal dinnerware, they take up too much space. Plates in solid colors are much more versatile.
- Glasses: go through your glasses and wine glasses and make sure that they aren’t chipped or cracked. Also, get rid of all promotional mugs and leave only those that you enjoy having your coffee in.
- Dish towels: having beautiful accessories in your kitchen is a very important part of enjoying that space, therefore get rid of those dish towels that have holes in them or that are stained.
- Baking ware: when was the last time that you used your bundt cake pan? How about your cupcake pans? Or maybe you no longer use them because you’ve switched to silicone and you no longer use your aluminum ones. In this case, keep only those that you know you love using.
- Cleaning supplies: we always have the cleaning supplies that we like and use on a daily basis. All those other brands that are stored below your sink are free to go. The same with the oven or grill cleaners that you never use.
- Mixing bowls: how many mixing bowls do you really need? I bet you have your favorite size that you’re constantly using, and the rest are only using up valuable cabinet space. Stack the ones that you use the most and give away the rest.
- Oven mitts: sometimes we buy the set that comes with coordinating dish towels and oven mitts, but how often do we use them? The ones made out of silicone are more lightweight, easier to use, and to clean.
- Pantry items: I suggest deep cleaning your pantry at least once a year, you’ll be surprised at how many items have expired. You’ll also find lots of canned foods and soups that you’re never going to eat. When you’re ready to organize what’s left, a store like items together and take stock of what you do have so that you can cook new recipes.
- Spices: toss the spices that are over a year old because they tend to lose their flavor.
- Freezer: get everything out of your freezer, clean the shelves and the drawers, and throw away the food that has been freezer burned. Donate the food that you don’t plan on eating.
- Refrigerator: take everything out of your refrigerator, clean the shelves and the drawers, and throw away all the items that are rotten. Donate the food that is in good condition but that you don’t plan on eating. Check the expiration date on all of the sauces that you might have stored on the door shelves. Get rid of those that have expired and of those that you’re not going to consume.
- Tupperware: place all of your tupperwares and pyrex on a table, and match the containers to their lids. Buy some reusable silicone cover wraps that are stretchable to fit different sizes. Moving forward, buy only those containers that are stackable because they’re space efficient.
- Kitchen gadgets: how many apple peelers or pineapple corners do you really need? How often do you make watermelon balls? There are certain gadgets that seemed like a good idea when you bought them, but now it’s really more of a hassle to be looking for those gadgets than taking a knife and doing that job. Get rid of those that you never use.
- Appliances: we sometimes have certain appliances that can perform the same task, for example, your juicer can be your blender, or you don’t need to have several food processors in different sizes. If you do have an appliance that you don’t like using like a slow cooker or a cappuccino machine, give it to someone that will enjoy it.
- Serving trays: how often do you entertain guests? How many trays do you own? Do you have some that you haven’t used in over a decade? I know, it happens. It’s time to streamline and leave only those that you use.
- Junk drawers: this is the catch-all for most of the kitchens, when you have something that you don’t want to think about, you just toss it in the drawer and then forget about it. There you will find birthday candles, batteries, takeout menus, small ketchup packages, pens, etc. Take everything out, clean your drawer well, and only put back those items that you use on a consistent basis.
- Magnets: it’s ok to have some photos or some magnets in your refrigerator doors, but when it gets out of control when all of your kids’ artwork and other tchotchkes end up there, it's time to start decluttering by storing elsewhere the majority of things and having only a few for display at any given time.
How to Design and Organize Your Kitchen
From different styles to different finishes, designing a kitchen is a process that begins with the ideal layout that will make your space the most efficient.
Here are some things to consider:
- The optimal workflow of a kitchen is with the “work triangle” in which the refrigerator, the stove and the sink are in a triangular position.
- Be mindful of the amount of storage space that you need. A kitchen with open shelves may look nice in a magazine, but does it fit your storage needs?
- The kitchen colors, materials and style: are you drawn to wood veneers in a light or dark tone? Or do you prefer white or almond-colored cabinets?
- How about the materials, do you like natural woods, MDF or laminate?
- Do you prefer a more classical style with raised panel doors, or a more contemporary one with flat panels?
- Countertop finishes: you can choose granite, quartz, aluminum, glass, ceramic tiles or slate. The same goes for the backsplash.
- Is there enough counter space between the sink and the stove for food prep?
- What appliances do you need? A dishwasher? A double oven? A microwave? How large is your refrigerator? A designer should take all of those items into consideration.
- What other activities do you need to have in your kitchen? Do you plan on eating there sometimes? Can you fit a breakfast nook or an island with some stools?
- Lighting: a kitchen needs overall lighting in the ceiling, and you can also add some under-cabinet task lights and a hanging lamp on top of the island.
- Electrical outlets: have electrical outlets all around your kitchen, especially in the backsplash because you’re going to need several to be using all of your appliances.
- Maintenance: цash the dishes after every meal, or if you use a dishwasher, then load it immediately.
- Clean the kitchen’s floor at least every two days to maintain it without crumbs or grease.
- Put away everything that doesn’t belong on the countertop after you prepare every meal and clean the sink and countertop thoroughly.
- On a regular basis, declutter the flatware or glasses that are chipped or broken.
- Organize your pantry on a quarterly basis so that you get rid of the items that have expired.