Kitchen Klutter

Oh my, kitchen clutter! If you, like me, have neglected the kitchen drawers for awhile you may be wondering how certain peculiar items ended up among your spatulas.

Today is the day to tackle the kitchen and all the tools that go along with preparing food.

To begin, you need a vision. Visualize what you want your kitchen to look and how you want it to feel. Picture how you will use your kitchen.

I personally couldn’t function in the kitchen below:A kitchen

I prefer to have my countertops completely cleared of all appliances and food. In smaller kitchens this takes creativity and wise use of space. For me, if one item is on the counter it invites all others to come and live with it. Clutter makes meal prep difficult, not to mention disinfecting counters is impossible if they are covered with items.

You get to choose for yourself what your kitchen will look and feel like. For me, empty counters and organized drawers are ideal. My frequently used appliances and tools are within easy reach and the less used appliances are out of my way. Although my kitchen’s style isn’t contemporary, the clean lines of this one below capture how I want my kitchen to feel.

Kitchen-Cabinet-Replacement-Doors-853 (1)

After you visualize your kitchen, start thinking about what isn’t working about your current setup. Problem solve what you can do to take you from where things are now to where you want to be.

Begin by taking every item out of its drawer or cupboard. This activity serves two purposes: first, it forces you to touch each item so you can make a decision about it, and second, it allows you to clean as you go.

As you tackle your kitchen you need to identify when you have too many of one item.  If you actually used all of your cool whip containers, would they even fit in the fridge? If you ever had a meal requiring several containers, would you use all of them? Pair down multiples to think worse case scenario. On your busiest kitchen day, do you really need nine spatulas?

_DSC4219.jpg

As you work your way through the kitchen, start viewing it as the most valuable real estate in your home. The kitchen is the ocean-front property of your home. Do you put a condo on the beach or near a warehouse? Each drawer, cupboard, and shelf that are within easy reach should contain the things you use everyday. Higher up cupboards, the backs of shelves, or even another room/closet may be a better place to store the once-a-year items.

Since you have realized your kitchen is valuable real estate, you can also choose to mix things up a bit. Is that the best place for the spoon drawer?  What if your dishes were stored lower for the little ones to reach for setting the table or as they unload the dishwasher?  We have kept our plates and bowls in low cupboards for years for this purpose.  Just because you have always used a drawer in a particular way doesn’t mean you have to use it the same way forever. Yes, it will frustrate you and everyone else for a few weeks, but before you know it you will have forgotten what used to be there.

The junk drawer!  Why is your salvage yard next to your beach front condo??  For years I organized a “junk” drawer only to find it would always return to chaos. Finally, I removed it altogether and instead filled the drawer with other needed items. (Nature abhors a vacuum.)  The junk never returned. I did have to create a better system elsewhere, which I will share later this week.

While you are decluttering, vacuum out the crumbs that like to collect in the drawers and wipe down the cupboard since it will be empty. Washing the door fronts is a good activity for anyone who you have forced  asked to help.  Here is a good post on how to clean your cupboards.

Does this spark joy?” My favorite technique to decluttering any space is to ask if this item sparks joy. You may think it is an odd thing to ask, but it works even on pots and pans! This question will help you to surround yourself with things that spark joy, because you don’t have time or room for items that burden you with guilt and frustration.

If you feel guilty about an appliance purchase you didn’t need to make, thank the appliance for teaching you to be more careful with your wallet and send it on its way to another home.  Do you feel obligated to keep certain dishes because they were gifts? Offer them back to the person who gifted them to you or allow them to move on to someone else’s space.

Another consideration is to store things at their point of use.  If you have drawers next to the stove and oven, they may be the best spot for pot holders and stirring spoons. Store glasses by the source of liquid. Measuring cups would be cozy near the mixing bowls.

Speaking of bowls, if you are motion-minded you could consider if your favorite pot or bowl is easily accessible in your kitchen. If you prefer the size 2 mixing bowl for example, you wouldn’t want to have to move the size 1 bowl every time you wanted to get to your favorite. Consider storing size 1 elsewhere.

If you are also in the cleaning mood, the dishwasher is a good place to begin. (How does all that grime get along the edges??) Then there’s the microwave! My sister wrote an excellent post here about how to clean even the dirtiest of microwaves. Self-clean the oven. Get a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser out for the stove top. Clean out the fridge.

I am beginning to think this is a two-day job!

Clean down each of your small appliances: toaster, George Foreman, griddle, sandwich maker, waffle iron, Bosch… Oh my, there are so many appliances!!! (And when was the last time you used the sandwich maker, anyway?)

Don’t forget to clean out under the sink. About under the sink: these used to be dirty, damp, icky places. They don’t seem to be anymore, although we still treat them as such. If you are short on space, consider how you might use the space under the sink to store lesser-used appliances.

For the record, my two favorite organizational tools for my kitchen have been these two items:

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 5.57.49 PM.png

I love how the tiers let me see all my vitamins and essential oils in the cupboard. It would also also work great for spices. You can find it here.

This is the other item I have loved lately:

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 6.00.23 PM

I bought three of them. They open at the top so the cereal is always rotated and fresh. Plus, all the crumbs end up in the bowls instead of with at the bottom of the box or bag. I especially like that it doesn’t crunch the cereal as it dispenses. Basically, I am in love! Find them here.

Good luck on your kitchen!! Wish me luck cleaning mine! 🙂