It’s cold and you’re stuck inside anyway — why not declutter your kitchen? It’s also a good time for a quick cleaning and some reorganizing.
“Decluttering is more than just getting rid of stuff; it’s also keeping things in a way that helps keep you from having a cluttered mess again,” said Jennifer Lava, a professional organizer and productivity consultant in Austin, Texas.
“Start small, think big,” added Andrea Brundage, owner of Mesa, Phoenix-based Simple Organized Solutions. “Choose time-appropriate projects. Don’t try to organize your entire kitchen if you only have two hours available. Instead, choose smaller projects that you can start and finish in the time you have available.”
Looking for a jump start? Here are 10 items you can remove from your kitchen now.
- Expired food
- Old spices and condiments
- Outdated notes, pictures and magnets on fridge
- Food storage containers with missing lids
- Non-kitchen items (purses, backpacks, etc)
- Unused cookbooks
- Worn out pots and pans
- Underutilized appliances
- Take out menus from places you don’t like
- Excess coffee mugs
Need a little more guidance? Keep reading for additional advice.
Purging the Pantry
“Look through your pantry and refrigerator/freezer for old and expired food,” Lava said. “If you can’t remember when you bought it, let it go. Leftovers are only good for a week. Many of us have condiments and spices that are old and have lost their flavor.”
“Go through all of your canned foods and the extraction dates will be shocking,” said Danielle Wurth, owner of Wurth Organizing in Scottsdale, AZ. Most folks’ pantries, she said, have items that expired five to seven years ago.
While you are at it, throw out stained plastic containers or ones you can’t find matching lids. Clear old notes, magnets and pictures off of the refrigerator that no longer hold meaning or are tattered, Lava added.
Make a list of what you need to replace, if anything, added Julie Naylon, owner of No Wire Hangers in Los Angeles.
Clearing the Counters
First things first, get rid of anything that doesn’t belong in the kitchen.
“If things just were set down on the counter on their way somewhere else, take it to the place it really belongs,” Lava said. That goes for your purse, kids’ backpacks, magazines, etc.
“Throw out old takeout menus,” Lava said. “Then organize the ones you’re keeping into folders or binders. Have a folder in a desktop organizer for each family member as central place for school notes and other important information. “
Next go after any appliances you don’t use on a regular basis.
“If you haven’t used a utensil or kitchen appliance in the past year, chances are you won’t,” Brundage said.
Donate those unused items or give them away to people you know could use them. Go through your pot and pan sets, too.
Keep it Organized
“Once you’ve gotten rid of the expired, gross, unused, duplicate things, it’s time to consider what you’re keeping and how you will store it,” Lava said.
Put items back in order of importance, Naylon added.
“Start with silverware and everyday glasses and plates,” she said. “Try to put them close to the dishwasher for easy unloading.”
Also, group food on your pantry shelf that go together.
“If you like making spaghetti, keep the pasta and sauce together on the shelf,” Lava said.
Make sure you have the right kind of storage. Lava suggested items like baskets, risers, turn-tables and drawer organizers.
“To help even more, label the containers and baskets, so everyone in the house knows where to put things, and you don’t have to think too hard about where they go either,” Lava added.