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Is your kitchen a hot mess? Does it stress you out to even go in there.. so you just don’t – and eat out instead?? Yikes! Take control of your home and declutter your kitchen!
Don’t worry, you won’t need a whole day to do this. Follow this list of tasks and knock out the declutter the kitchen in an hour or less!!
(unless you’re a hoarder.. it may take a little longer if you’re working with mountains of junk here. Sorry about it.)
How to Declutter Your Kitchen – fast!
Throw Out Expired Food in the Fridge & Freezer
If you’re like me – you aspire to live a waste-free life, buying only the food which you consume, eating it, and repeating. But instead, you sometimes forget to cook the meat you bought, the cheese gets moldy, or the last egg in the carton expires.
It’s just the way it goes. Don’t stress out or feel guilty. It happens to everyone!
BUT – don’t let that expired food take over your fridge. It will start to smell, take up space you need for fresh foods, and make you think you have something to eat for dinner.. only to disappoint you.
CLEAR IT OUT.
Then, tackle the freezer. We all tend to think things can’t really go bad if they’re in the freezer, but that’s just not true.
Freezer burn is the biggest culprit! Check everything and make sure it’s still good – aka “Would you be willing to make this for dinner and actually eat it?”
If not – get. rid. of. it.
You’ll probably find some stuff you forgot about that’s been hiding in the back of the freezer! Score! Either eat it or toss it!
*Bonus – if you can do this the night before trash day, you’ll level up and avoid the stinky trash can outside your home!
Throw Out Expired Food in the Pantry
Same deal here. Clear out the snacks you thought your family would love, but just didn’t take – then sat around for months.
Throw out that open box of Cheezits that has 8 left in the bottom that have been stale for a week.
Throw out that one cake mix that made its way to the back of the pantry 3 years ago, never to be seen again.
Get rid of canned goods, peanut butter, condiments, or anything else that’s expired.
There’s probably more than you know! This will clear out some new space for you. The trick is NOT to refill the space with more stuff.
Having some empty space provides that peaceful feeling of clutter-free living.
Throw Out Tupperware with Missing Lids & Burn Marks
Are there old tupperware pieces (or the cheap ones that come with lunch meat!?) sitting in your cabinet that never get used??
Maybe you lost the lid at the company Christmas party. Maybe you burned a weird food into the container in the microwave, and now it’s a weird, unappetizing color.
Whatever the reason – if it is just sitting there “just in case” you need a 34th bowl in your home for those bowl-needing emergencies when you’ll have 35 people over, and no more sponges to wash the first 33 bowls…. THROW THAT SH*T OUT!
You’re never going to use it. It’s taking up space!
If you really can’t bring yourself to throw it out- REPURPOSE the container. Use it to hold snacks in the pantry or car. Put napkins, pencils, paper clips, or whatever you need to organize inside.
Repurposing will save you a couple bucks and help you organize and declutter your kitchen in the process. Win-win-win!
Organize the Tupperware
Now that you’ve pared down the tupperware and other similar containers to things you will actually use in this lifetime- it’s time to organize them!
No more avoiding opening the cabinets for fear of Tupperware Mountain raining down on your head!
Stack like items and either place them on top of the stack of their lids, or put the stack of their lids next to the containers themselves. (This is easiest if you use the containers who snap into place and lock in with each other for optimal stacking).
Some people like to install sliders to pull out so they can reach way to the back of their cabinets.
Others prefer using a lazy susan to organize their tupperware.
Whatever you do – don’t just throw something in the cabinet, or put one thing inside of another JUST because it is smaller.
Sure, those are immediate solutions, but then next time you try to put something away, there’s a tiny container inside of the big bowl. Then you put a medium sized container on TOP of the small one inside the big bowl, and the NEXT time you go in there, you have a leaning tower of tupperware situation on your hands!
Plus, it’s WAY harder to find the correct lid if the tupperware lids are all just thrown in together or shoved in the back. How frustrating! Instead, declutter your kitchen and organize those tupperware. Save yourself time and frustration!
Throw Out Plastic Cups You’ve Acquired
Throughout the year, we acquire all kinds of weird stuff – we assume “I’ll use this one day” or “it was free – why throw it out?” and end up with a massive amount of junk we neither bought nor use!
Stop perpetuating the issue and THROW IT OUT.
If you attend college or pro sporting events, you probably have one or two (dozen) stadium cups. Maybe you live in Louisiana or went to Mardi Gras, and you have a bunch of parade cups lying around. Perhaps your favorite fast food place gave away “collectible” cups with a meal.
*Sidebar – nearly anything can be “collectible”!!!! Don’t get sucked in with their marketing strategy. This cup is not special! They are perpetuating your hoarding tendency, consumerism and KITCHEN CLUTTER!
THROW IT AWAY!
Unless one of these cups is valuable, serves a certain use, or holds some special memories – get it out of your house! Donate it! There are always families in need! Make their day!
You never realize how much damn space cups take up in your house until you get rid of some, and you’re left with a surprisingly empty cabinet.
How many people can even have a drink at once in your home??? Think it through, and realize you are NOT going to be missing out on anything if you get rid of a few silly cups. Declutter your kitchen GUILT FREE.
Throw Out Plasticware, Straws, & Condiments You’ve Acquired
This decluttering idea is similar to the last- except this is even sillier.
(Don’t feel too bad about this. It’s a hard habit to break. In fact, I am probably the MOST guilty person about this kitchen clutter habit.)
Scene: Chickfila Drive-Through
You: “Can I get barbeque and ketchup with that, please?”
CFA worker: “Yes of course, have 4 and a blessed day!!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 “
You: *eats food, uses one sauce, has three remaining*
You: “I’d better keep all these sauces. I may never get another one again. I may make my own chicken here this week and really want this barbeque sauce. I just love it. I’ll store it here among my sauce collection” *places sauce in a pile with 48 other sauce packets you’ve done this with before*
Why do we do this?
We do it with sauce, jelly, SALT AND PEPPER, plastic utensils, straws, and napkins!
What the heck is wrong with us??
Maybe keep ONE set of plasticware for your next picnic or in-car meal. Stick the napkins in your glove compartment for in-car messes, and throw. the. rest. away.
Simple as that.
Don’t overthink it. Just throw it away.
Notable exceptions to ‘throw. it. away.’ are:
- Put it in your kid’s lunchbox to take for one school lunch. Then she’ll throw. it. away.
- If you have a big collection, maybe take it to school for the teacher’s lounge, or take it to work for the break room, or to church – where people will actually USE them, then throw. them. away.
The theme here is: make sure it will get used, and/or throw. them. away. They’re adding clutter to your kitchen, and that’s just crazy. You have silverware already!
Sort & Organize Utensils
It is very likely that you have multiples of many common kitchen utensils. Most people have a jar of some sort holding an unruly number of spatulas, ladles, spoons, etc near the stove.
Here’s a fun newsflash for you: You don’t need to have them ALL OUT.
Just keep one of each TYPE of utensil out and available. One spatula, one big spoon, one whisk, one ladle.
Or, if there’s something that you basically never use (in my house that’s a ladle), put that away and only keep out one of each thing you actually use.
Store the extras in a drawer or some alternate container inside your kitchen cabinets or neatly organized pantry! (you do have extra space in the pantry now, after all!)
This helps you grab and go more quickly, and keeps your kitchen clutter-free!
I sincerely hope that you have a silverware drawer with some sort of organizer. However, if you don’t, that’s okay. This is the time to get it together, organize your kitchen, and pretend that unpleasantness never happened.
Everyone needs a silverware drawer. An organized silverware drawer.
In grad school, my crappy little kitchen had NO DRAWERS. How? I don’t know. I’m going to say it was a Baton Rouge problem, but who knows.
What did I do?
I got one of those tiny sets of plastic drawers, plopped it down on my tiny counter, and created a silverware drawer!
When I got the heck out of dodge and went back to a normal place with drawers, I purchased another silverware organizer and sorted it out!
Separate into as many categories as you wish. Some people have as many as this:
- Steak knives
- “Other” knives
- Butter knives
- Large forks
- Small forks
- Large spoons
- Small spoons
- Soup spoons
- Tea spoons
- Serving forks
- Serving spoons
- Misc. (corn cob holders, etc)
Or, if you prefer, just go for the big categories:
- Big knives
- Butter knives
- Serving Silverware
Just divide it up! This will insure that you (and your kids!) won’t reach in for a spoon and accidentally cut your hand on a knife.
It insures that you don’t use less-than-clean hands to dig through every single item, noisily looking for what you need – annoying and infecting your family!
Plus, it just looks WAY neater and less cluttered.
Easy peasy. Divide. It. Up. and declutter your kitchen!
Sort Fruits, Vegetables, Meats & Cheeses Into Specific Drawers
Sometimes we get home from the grocery store and throw our purchases into the fridge – happy to be home and out of the dreaded checkout line and traffic!
Sometimes we start with an organized fridge, but then as the week goes on, our kids, spouses (or selves!) pull things out to eat, and put them back… somewhere?
Before you know it, your fridge is a hot mess! Things are never where you left them, the one thing you’re looking for is hidden, and you have no idea if you need to pick up milk or eggs (or anything else, for that matter) next time you go to the store – because you have NO IDEA WHERE IT IS!
Things are “stacked” poorly, and threaten to topple over at the slightest provocation. (and often do). This is a stressful way to live (and eat).
Luckily, there’s a totally simple fix for this!
Sort out each TYPE of food, and give it a home.
If you have drawers or containers in your fridge – don’t just use them to hold any old thing. Use them as organization tools!! If you don’t have any, create your own!
Put ALL of the cheeses in one place. ALL of the fruits in another. Same for veggies, meats, juices, dairy products, condiments, leftovers, whatever.
Find a spot for each type of food, and always put those foods in their spot. There’s no right or wrong way to do this – figure out what foods you typically have, what you eat the most of, and what kind of storage and space you’ve got in your fridge.
If it helps, label them! Then your family, children, roommates, or visitors have no excuses for being disorganized!
Clear Off the Counter: File, Respond, Shred, or Recycle
All too often, our kitchen counters or kitchen tables become our ‘dump zones’ – the places where we come home and throw down whatever we brought inside with us.
Mail. Paperwork. Receipts. Coupons. Magazines. Permission Slips. Homework. Junk Mail. TRASH. Happy Meal Toy (wait, I already said trash…?) – the list goes on and on.
The actual spot in our homes may be a bit different, but they’re all basically the same.
You know you’re picturing yours right now! Where is it? What kind of junk ends up there?
How long does it stay?
We’ll get to the non-kitchen and non-paperwork items in a minute, but for now let’s focus on paperwork.
Do this with your current, existing pile of clutter RIGHT NOW. Sort it into 4 piles:
- Recycle: for junk mail that contains no sensitive personal information
- Shred or Burn: for things you definitely don’t need, but that do contain your information
- File: for things you need to keep, but not take any immediate action on
- Respond: for action items that you must respond to, pay, call back, sign, return, etc
Then DO IT. Immediately recycle that pile. Save the planet! Declutter your kitchen!
Shred or burn (if you have a fire pit, fire place, or other safe burning method) that other pile so no one steals your identity, but you’re not keeping excess paperwork just for the sake of it.
File the things you need to file. Store them efficiently, neatly, and out of the way.
And RESPOND IMMEDIATELY. (Just don’t count that toward our 1 hour decluttering of your kitchen!). Putting it off is silly. Pay the bill. Sign the permission slip. Return the rebate coupon. Send the thank you note. Write down your expenses and file the receipt.
Get. It. Done.
If you don’t have time to do this sorting daily, set up a space where you can collect mail throughout the week and take these steps one specific day a week:
Then move on to the totally random objects..
Take Non-Kitchen Items Back to Their Rightful Homes
It happens in every household… for some reason, we acquire random objects in the kitchen that do not belong there AT ALL.
How? Why? When?
No one knows.
But there they sit. Piling up, day after day.
This is easy. Get them out!
Do one of two things to get them out so you can have a decluttered kitchen again!
- Take them directly to the place they’re supposed to live. (closet, bedroom, bathroom, garage, wherever)
- Make a pile or piles for the other members of your family to come retrieve their own darn items and put them away themselves.
I like to believe I’m a fan of Option #2 – it puts the responsibility on the owners of the stuff. It teaches them that leaving their crap in your kitchen is not a surefire way to get their stuff put away without doing any work.
But sometimes to get a job done right (or quickly), you simply must do it yourself.
So whichever way you choose – the educational route, or the done correctly and quickly route – get that stuff OUT OF YOUR KITCHEN! There are enough items in there already – you don’t need random junk creating even more clutter!
When will you declutter your kitchen??
Have you chosen an hour of your day sometime soon to declutter your kitchen?? You really should – it will be totally worth it!
If you want, you can listen to an audio book, watch (or really, listen) to an episode of your favorite show, or jam out to 80’s music – or whatever gets YOU singing, dancing, moving, and motivated!
Having a clean and organized house leads to an organized and peaceful mind. It’s science.
So get in there and get it done. Your family will thank you!
and remember: make good life choices!
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