If you live in a home for long enough, clutter starts to creep into every room in the house. Adult children often find this is the case when they step in to help their parents downsize — there’s clutter everywhere and it’s tough figuring out where to even begin.
One of the best options is to start by decluttering your kitchen. Unless you’re a 5-star chef or a dedicated baker, there are usually fewer emotional attachments to slow you down. The kitchen is our focus here, so if you’re searching for help to downsize your kitchen, taking on a kitchen decluttering project, or even just looking for a good starting point for a full-blown decluttering adventure you’ll want to keep reading.
There are many reasons why you might decide to declutter your kitchen. It could be that you’ve decided it’s time to remodel and need to get organized first, maybe it’s something you’ve been neglecting forever. Perhaps you’re getting ready to downsize or maybe you’re getting ready to flip your house — whatever the reasons are that you want to declutter your kitchen, once you’ve figured them out, it will make it easier to decide on the best approach to your decluttering task.
If you’re tossing almost everything so you can flip the house, your task will be a lot simpler than it will be if you’re remaining in the house. It will also make it easier to work out how much time you’ll need to take the project on.
One of the best places to start as you begin to declutter your kitchen is to prepare yourself by looking through all of your cupboards and drawers first. That way you can begin to develop a plan in your head before you start digging in. It can be frustrating if you start hauling things out of your cupboards without any sort of plan. You’ll find yourself overwhelmed and you’ll probably look for any excuse to procrastinate.
When you’re ready with an outline of what an organized kitchen will look like in your head, you’ll find it a lot easier to keep motivated. Here are some places in your kitchen you may want to include on your kitchen decluttering checklist:
Your kitchen drawers are a good place to start decluttering work. They’re easily accessible without bending over and they generally contain items you use on a daily or weekly basis. Start by setting aside any duplicate items — most of us don’t need 7 different spatulas. If you can find a family member or friend that can use your extra items great, if not, donate them if you can or as a last resort: in the garbage they go.
Next, make sure you’re using each drawer for a designated purpose. Miscellaneous stuff should go in the junk drawer, not at the bottom of your cutlery drawer. Also, even that junk drawer can be organized better. Small plastic trays are a great way to separate items in this catch-all drawer and make it easier to find something when you need it.
Our kitchen counters are often overflowing with items we use every day such as toasters, kettles and bread baskets. They’re usually disorganized at best or bordering on the chaotic in many cases. Fortunately, it’s not that hard to make lasting improvements and clean and clear countertops are one of the best ways to declutter your kitchen.Some extra shelving on walls can help to organize smaller items and adding a towel rack can help as well. Some people like to hang larger kitchen utensils like spatulas or serving spoons on their backsplash. Also, ask yourself if there’s a better place to store that blender that gets used once a month at cocktail parties. Perhaps you can assign one of your larger cupboards for storing all small appliances. Remember to keep things off the kitchen sink so that it looks nice and clean. Once you clean those out you’ll probably have a lot more space for these types of items so let’s take a look at those cupboards next.
Before you dive in and start to declutter your kitchen cabinets think about what you’d like them to look like once you’re done. You’ll probably want to start with storage containers like some baskets for organizing items like your spices or even layered shelving racks that make it easier to find the spices you want without having to haul everything out of the cupboard to get at them.
For each item in your cabinets ask yourself will you use them in the next week, month or even year? If the answer is any longer than a month they should probably go — you can always buy a new one later or borrow one for a day or two from a family member. If a food storage container is broken or missing a lid, that can go as well. Other items, such as that fancy french fry maker you never use should also be sent on their way out the door as part of the process of decluttering your cabinets.
A lot of cleaning supplies can be stored under the kitchen sink. This way they're easily accessbile but out of sight to keep everything looking organized.
Cleaning out the pantry should actually be one of the easier tasks when you declutter your kitchen. First, make sure that you’re only storing food items in there. Your dirty mop shouldn’t be stored in the same space where you store food.
Then you can take a close look at each item - is it past its expiry date? Is it an item that no one in your family likes? If you answered yes to either of these questions get rid of that item. Keep all cans in one section, instant rice in another designated spot and apply the same principle with each item you keep in the pantry.
One other thing you may have to tackle are bulk items. If you find it necessary to buy items in bulk for cost savings or because the closest grocery store is miles away it can be a challenge to organize. If you can break the items down into smaller portions it will be easier to store them or if you have a walk-in pantry that may be the best spot. The best approach is the one that works for your kitchen and family situation. House Beautiful have some great ideas for clever ways to deal with bulk items.