4 Weeks of Decluttering – Week 2: The Kitchen
This week we’re diving into a bigger task, the kitchen. Within the kitchen, there’s food, appliances, dishes, cook wear, and so much more. Decluttering the kitchen may seem like a daunting task, but after breaking it down into smaller steps it becomes much more doable. The goal is to have an organized, de-cluttered space that allows the you to have a clean, sanitary area to prepare food as well as invite others in for conversation, or a cup of coffee. Let’s begin!
Step 1: The Plan: The kitchen can be a fast paced environment so it’s important to plan where things will go. Think about what items you need where to ensure optimal convenience. Consider what you need to be able to grab fast while cooking at the stove, what counter space you like to use to prepare food for cooking, and which space you use to dish food out and prepare for dining. This will help you prioritize your spaces, such as having dishes near dish prep areas and cooking needs near areas you prepare food. Save waist and eye level spaces for things you use daily like cereal, coffee, plates, cups, and kitchen utensils. Low and high spaces can be used for food or other items you do not use often such as larger pots or baking dishes.
Step 2: One Cupboard at a time – follow your plan. Go through your cupboards one at a time. Empty them out and wipe down the insides, as dust and crumbs can collect in corners over time. If the cupboard contains items that are in place according to your plan put them back in that cupboard leaving out anything that does not belong. Leave items in the wrong place out to organize them later. Put items back in the cupboards, according to your plan once they are all wiped down.
Step 3: Evaluate your appliances and cooking wear. Check if your appliances still work, and once again ask yourself what you really need. That cotton candy maker you bought impulsively may be nifty, but will you ever use it? Plus, tossing it or donating it may save you a few trips to the dentist. Also, collect kitchen tools you have multiples of. If you have three spatulas and only have one person cooking at a time, you can toss the one with a melted edge. Decide how many of these kitchen tools you will need at a time and have these ready to store in reachable places. Get rid of extras and store decorative tools used for special occasions in a separate spot.
Step 4. Collect and Repackage: Collect non-perishables and donate some to your nearest food bank if you have an oversupply. Repackage pantry foods and small items like sugar, spices, and small measuring spoons in more storage friendly containers. Many items come in packaging that makes organizing difficult. Repackaging will cut clutter and make items more accessible. It will also be easier to grab items when they are all grouped together and in a place you are familiar with.
Step 5: Hit the Fridge: The fridge can collect a lot of clutter that you forget to toss. Go through your fridge with a garbage bag in hand and toss out everything that is old or will not get consumed. Bottles of almost empty condiments or juices can accumulate and waste space. If you haven’t touched it in the last month it’s time to part with it. Check expiration dates and make a mental note of things that will expire soon. Place those items in front of other food items, as it will be a reminder every time you open your fridge to use them soon. After everything old is out, it will be easy to organize your fridge the way you want it.
Step 6: Wipe, decorate, and hide things away: The last step is to pamper up your space and make it pretty. Wipe down all the surfaces to brighten up your kitchen. Add a few decorative items to your taste, and put away anything that seems unsightly. If you prefer not to have appliances out in the open, tuck the ones you use frequently away in an easy to grab spot.
Bonus Tip: Cleaning the microwave. The microwave can quickly become a disaster zone of exploded hardened food. To swiftly clean the microwave, spray all walls with water and place a wet sponge inside. Microwave the sponge for two minutes on low, and then use it to wipe the remnants of food, as they will glide right off. There is nothing worse than a dirty microwave that is unsanitary to use.
After following these steps your kitchen will be cleaned, organized, and ready for you to dive right in. You should feel proud of your hard work and happy to spend time in your new space. Remember, have fun with cleaning and de-cluttering. Do not think of it as stressful or unpleasant, but rather an enjoyable therapeutic experience. Happy cleaning-and cooking!
Jill Taylor, USC™, UFSC™
Certified UltimateStager™ & Feng Shui Specialist
Manager of Student Experience & Tutoring