This year has me spring cleaning and decluttering my house from top to bottom. One area that is getting a lot of attention is my kitchen which hasn’t been decluttered in eighteen years.
Because kitchens have so much storage space, it’s easy to lose track of the things we own. Old groceries are pushed to the back as new ones are shelved, containers and lids are separated, kitchen tools are lost behind (or beneath) a year’s supply of kitchen towels and rags; the list goes on and on. Spring cleaning and organizing a kitchen starts with a thorough decluttering. Here is how I decluttered my kitchen by breaking down the job into five very manageable tasks which were done over five different days.
Food first. Food packaging contributes to a lot of clutter found in our kitchens. How I decluttered my food storage areas was to pull all of the food items off the shelf and onto the counter to be sorted. Expired food and spices were thrown out, partial boxes were consolidated, food bought on impulse (but we’ll never eat) was set aside to be donated, and loose packets (such as tea, bulk spices etc.) were placed in a sealable tins. The food that remained was stacked back in the shelf in an order that made sense for how I bake and cook.
Pots & pans. My pots, pans, and bakeware are stored in four different locations which may explain why lids and bases are often separated. Instead of decluttering one cabinet at a time, I cleared all the lower cabinets at the same time which made it easy to match up bases and lids. Cookware that was missing a part, or had not been used in at least 2 years, was chipped, warped, or heavily worn were set aside to be donated.
Kitchen linens. Another area that’s easy to get out of control are the drawers that hold kitchen linens. These too were all dumped out onto the kitchen table so that I could sort through what I had and what could be donated. Tablecloths and place mats that had not been used in two years were donated, frayed or stained linens were put in the rag bag, and what was left was folded up neatly to put back in the drawer.
Small kitchen tools. When you do as much cooking as I do, you can’t help but accumulate lots and lots of kitchen tools. To declutter the tool drawers, I removed all my kitchen tools, cutlery, and flatware and sorted through these items as well. Duplicate tools were donated, rusted tools were tossed in the recycling bin, and specialty tools that hadn’t been use in the past year were also donated. To prevent my flatware and kitchen tools from turning into a jumbled mess again, I bought several wire baskets that would fit inside the drawers to keep these items contained.
Dishes. I collect dishes which means getting rid of anything is a huge challenge for me. To declutter the china cupboards I got rid of all my mismatched coffee cups and wine glasses, glassware that hadn’t been used in 20 years (like parfait glasses and sherry glasses), chipped teapots, chipped and heavily scratched dishes, cracked plastics, and basically anything that I’d be too embarrassed to set out for guests. What was left was reorganized and stacked neatly in my dish closet.
Decluttering a kitchen is all about making decisions about what to keep and what should be donated or thrown out. Breaking the job into 5 separate tasks makes the job much more manageable and a lot less intimidating.
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