It’s time to tackle your decluttering goals and create an organized kitchen when you toss these 10 things cluttering it up that you won’t miss one bit.
Marie Kondo would be so proud.
The kitchen is the spot where everyone wants to gather—especially the clutter. Between junk drawers, countertop paper pileups and the interior refrigerator door where a handful of almost empty salad dressings like to congregate, the kitchen tends to be the catch-all room for clutter.
How to Create an Organized Kitchen
An organized kitchen is an efficient kitchen. So if useless gadgets and expired yogurt containers are taking up valuable storage space, it’s time to tackle and toss these 10 things you won’t miss one bit. Then relish in the newfound space that makes room for the tools and food you actually use.
1. Expired Food
My daughter has turned into a hawk when it comes to expiration dates, and it’s definitely rubbing off on me. That carton of ricotta is from September of…what year? What about that freezer burned you name it? No better time to toss it than now. Carve out a weekend afternoon and clean one area at a time: fridge, freezer and pantry. Pull out everything—may as well wipe down surfaces while you’re at it—and double check the freshness of all of your goods, throwing away anything that has seen fresher days.
Find out more about how to tell if food is safe to eat here.
2. Food Containers with Mismatched Lids
This is the bane of my kitchen existence. Just like your laundry machine tends to eat one half of a pair of socks, a kitchen cupboard is known for eating half of a food container. What’s up with that??? But finally I had enough, and now my leftovers look brand new. Pull out all of your containers, find their matching lids and toss everything that’s lost its partner. Cracked ones, gone. Warped ones from dozens of dishwasher cycles, gone. If you’re really ready to start fresh, toss the stained ones too, and buy a whole new set to start from scratch. (Damn you, spaghetti sauce…)
3. Dishtowels That Have Seen Better Days
Stains and holes and rips, oh my! If you’re too embarrassed to bring out certain dishtowels when guests are over, it’s time to let them go to dishtowel heaven or use as rags. Think of all the drawer space you’ll gain.
I buy these types of dishtowels on a regular rotation because they’re cheap and absorbent.
4. Duplicate Tools and Unnecessary Gadgets
Be honest: how many times have you used that avocado peeler? And it turns out you don’t need two garlic presses, huh? Take inventory of what you have and what you actually use, then donate the rest.
Goodwill is always a good home for your extra housewares, as is Big Brother Big Sisters, which accepts pots, pans, kitchen tools and tableware. And I’m betting your newly graduated niece could use a spare spatula in her first apartment too.
5. Baby Utensils and Plates your Children Have Outgrown
If your kids have sprouted tall enough to eat with real silverware without stabbing their sibling or spilling milk each meal, it’s time to say goodbye to the Disney princess plates and crazy straw sippy cups. You may miss having itty bitty babies, but it’s doubtful you’ll miss a drawer full of Crayola-colored sporks.
6. Wedding Gifts You’ve Never Used
So you got a little ambitious with your registry. Blame the barcode scanners. If gifts still live in their boxes and you’ve already celebrated a few anniversaries, chances are you’ll never use those items. Margarita set? Matching husband and wife salt and pepper shakers? Be gone! Donate them and get back your valuable kitchen real estate.
Consider donating new kitchen products to your local YWCA helping women make a new life for themselves and their families.
7. Takeout Supplies
Rest in peace, printed takeout menus. If you’d rather reuse than recycle the extras – plastic-wrapped utensils, stacks of napkins, ketchup packets – organize them so you’re inclined to actually reach for them. Keep the condiment packets in a mason jar, place the extra napkins in your glove compartment for car spill emergencies and use the utensils when you’re packing a lunch or eating on the go.
8. Whatever’s Collecting Dust on Your Highest Shelves
Ah yes, the dreaded, shadowed top shelf. Whether it’s full of chipped mugs you intended to glue back together or your late second-aunt-twice-removed’s china that was never your style, or cheap wine that’s definitely turned, it’s time to go.
9. Fridge-Front Clutter
Your mind is only as organized as the front of your fridge. (Is that a phrase? It should be.) Goodbye outdated calendars, so long wedding invitation for the couple who’s been married three years, adios utility bill you automatically paid online. If you prefer a colorful refrigerator door, continually keep it in check so it’s an ongoing rotation of pictures, report cards and love notes that make you smile. But better yet, keeping your fridge door clear of clutter keeps your head clearer too.
10. Cookbooks You’ve Never Cooked From
Oh man, this one hurts. But if a cookbook has sat on your kitchen counter for over a year and you’ve never cracked it open, pass it on to someone who may enjoy it more. Only keep the cookbooks you actively cook from or thumb through for inspiration. This is a REALLY hard one for me, because I am a cookbook collector. But no more! It’s time to do the hard work and get.them.gone.
Tell Us Your Clutter Free Tricks
Do you have a few tricks up your sleeve to keep your kitchen and counters clutter free? We want to hear. Tell us all about them in the comments below.
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