The Kitchen. It’s probably the most popular room in your home right? Hungry kids frequently come for snacks and meals. Husbands meander around looking for late night snacks and munchies during weekend football games. Because the kitchen is so busy all the time, it’s a hard room to keep organized.
This week we are going to declutter and organize the kitchen as part of the Organize Your Life Series. This challenge is a big one for me. I have too many things in my kitchen (that means I am super busy with the decluttering part of this challenge). I suggest applying the declutter rules below to help you get rid of appliances, gadgets, utensils and more you no longer use.
This week’s challenge to declutter and organize your kitchen will be just 3 easy steps (notice I did not say fast or quick, decluttering and organizing does require a time commitment to do it right). When we finish, you will have your counters decluttered, kitchen cabinets and drawers cleaned out and your kitchen reorganized so you can find everything you need when you need it.
3 Simple Declutter Rules
- Accept you cannot keep everything and you have to let things that are not used or that are no longer useful to you go.
- If you don’t use it, get rid of it (i.e. it’s broken, has missing parts, it’s hidden in the back of the cabinets), it’s time to throw it out. If it still works, you can donate these items to charity or sell them on Craigslist or in a yard sale.
- When possible use baskets, small boxes, and plastic containers you already have in your house to organize your kitchen. Sometimes this repurposing will take some creative thinking, but most of the time you don’t need to purchase more “storage” products, you just need to repurpose the storage items you have.
Start by Removing Everything You Don’t Need
The first step is to declutter your kitchen. Look at your counters. Are they covered with clutter (my counters definitely have too much stuff)?
Next, start going through the cabinets. Do you have appliances you no longer need or use? What about small appliances with broken or missing pieces?
Last, clean out the drawers. Do you have extra utensils in every drawer? Do you have 3 spatulas but only need one spatula? It’s so easy to just toss things into drawers that really don’t belong in the drawers (out of sight, out of the way right?).
Be sure to check and declutter these items in your kitchen:
- Broken and unused appliances
- Duplicate and extra utensils
- Bowls that are the wrong size or you no longer use
- Pots and pans that are old, have lost their non-stick finish or you don’t use for other reasons
- Baking pans that are old, not used or need to be replaced
- Spices (I have so many spices and the cabinet is filled and frequently I cannot find what I do need)
- Cookbooks you don’t use
- Cleaning supplies (i.e. dish soap, towels, cleansers, oven cleaner, etc…)
- The kitchen “junk” or dump drawer (you know the drawer where you toss everything when you don’t have time or don’t want to think about where to put it)
With all the items above, if you are using them on a regular basis and they have a purpose for you, then you should keep them. But if you have a small appliance that is taking up space in your kitchen that you have not used in 3 years, ask yourself do you really need it? Sometimes it’s hard to let go of things we “think” we will use someday, but the reality is they clutter our space (and in this case, the kitchen).
Determine What You Need
Notice I said, determine what you need, not what you want. If you are like me (and most people I know), you have many items in your kitchen that when you purchased them they seemed like they would be helpful items to add to your kitchen, but after you used them once or twice, they were put away and maybe you use them once a year now right?
As you look through your cabinets, drawers, and shelves, keep asking yourself, do I need this? Do I use this every day? Every week? Once a month? If you don’t use it at least once a month, do you need it? If you decide you don’t need an item, either throw it out or if it works and could be used by someone else donate it (just because you never used it, doesn’t mean someone else might not use it).
Organize for Convenience
As you start the organizing process, organize for convenience. If you are like me, in the kitchen you want similar items to be together so you can find them easily. All the pots and pans are in the same area, all the utensils are in one or two drawers.
If you started with step one and decluttered your kitchen cabinets, drawers, and counters, you probably have a large pile of things you have pulled out and are evaluating for the best place to store it. Consider how you use items. Do you want your baking pans close by? Do you need your “serving” bowls right at hand or could they be further way since they are probably used less frequently?
Here are some items you might store together:
- Cleaning supplies
- Frying pans
- Baking pans/sheets
- Serving Bowls/Plates
- Mixing Bowls
- Small appliances (can opener, toaster, coffee pot)
As you organize and put all your kitchen tools away, think about how you use these tools and how you can best utilize the space you have available. Make your kitchen space work for you no matter how big or small.
Let’s get started. Begin by decluttering your entire kitchen, think about which items you really use and which ones are just taking up space. If you don’t need it, could be donated or should be thrown out because it does not work? Next, decide what you really need and only keep what you need and use. Last, organize and put everything way in a format that works best for you.
What are your decluttering from your kitchen? What is your best tip for keeping your kitchen organized?
If you missed any of the previous declutter and organizing challenges, read of them on the Organize Your Life Series.