Whilst chatting to Paulette on the radio today, we ran out of time when were talking about kitchens and how it can be overwhelming.. Although most people consider a kitchen to be an easy declutter it isn't, things can still be sentimental to you and its easy to feel overwhelmed when decluttering a kitchen. So as preparation is key in a kitchen, here's a few things I prepared earlier! I know time is short, so here's some tips to make it easier for you to declutter and organise your kitchen and GET IT DONE!
First of all start small. Next time you make a cuppa, look through your mugs. Are there any with chips? If so, throw them out. Chips harbour bacteria. If they're sentimental look at another use for them, maybe use them as a plant pot or pen holder.
Make things easy to put away - that way you will put things back in their place. Look through your cutlery drawer, discard what you don't need. Just how many medicine spoons do you really need? How many calpol syringes?! Do the drawers open and close freely, or does the soup ladle or potato masher jam the drawer? Consider hanging them up or popping them in a container instead of keeping them in drawer.
Only keep what you absolutely NEED, do not keep things just in case. There's ways around anything you might need once you've discarded. For example if you minimise crockery yet worry how you'll cope if you have a big get together, for example at Christmas, you can always borrow off someone, or ask visitors to bring stuff to contribute. Do not keep things for 354 days a year to only use them once, its really not worth it.
They say out of sight, out of mind, and there's no place in the home more likely to prove that right than in the kitchen. Corner cupboards are notorious for items to be forgotten about and left to go out of date. Wherever possible put items that won't perish in corners, and things you use very infrequently. If you can consider installing a lighting solution in corners so that you can at least see things easier. Battery operated push on lights can be inexpensive and no DIY skills are needed to install.
Look at your kitchen gadgets. Do you use them? Were they bought in a frenzy of good intentions that never got going? Now's the time to declutter and remove the weight of the clutter and the harboured negativity of the project that never came to fruition. Lots of people buy the latest gadget for their 'fantasy self' thinking they will use it, but their real self never gets around to it. Don't feel bad about this - it's very common! Be honest with yourself, look at who you are NOW and who you'd like to be and decide if its a realistic goal or not. If its not a right fit for the immediate future let it go.
Go through your containers/tupperware. Decide on a number and stick to it. Just how many old chinese takeaway containers is it worth you keeping? Bin those old margarine tubs and yoghurt pots. Store the tupperware with the lids ON. It's an inefficient use of space, but it means that you can see exactly what you have and you won't end up with loads of lids and no bottoms, or vice versa.
When you clear space in cupboards it makes room for items that are currently living on the work surfaces to go inside instead. Keeping work surfaces clear is the biggest step to having a clean and organised kitchen. Consider zoning your kitchen, making a breakfast station - so one cupboard with everything the whole family needs for the morning. Create a food prep area, easy access to chopping board and utensils. Don't feel bad about removing knives from their block holder and putting them in a drawer if that works better for you.
With food it's amazing how often we go shopping and buy the same items, regardless of whether we need them or not. A recent kitchen declutter we counted over 30 tins of beans and a similar amount of tinned tomatoes that a client had, and still she bought some each week thinking she needed some. Go through your tins and try and line up similar tins of food together. It's really worth attempting a 'no buy' month where you buy no food except fresh stuff and use up everything in your cupboards and freezer. January is a good month to do this after the glut of Christmas and it can help your finances too. If this isn't something you feel you can do, then just by doing a weekly food planner will help keep cupboards and finances in check. Consider using a shopping list either on your phone, smart speaker or paper based one on your fridge. Any random foods you know you won't ever use drop off at a food bank (but check the dates first!)
Go through things not used often like the spice rack - only keep the spices you use frequently unless you're a prolific cook. I guarantee that 99% of my clients find spices that are over a year out of date - and some over ten!
Finally, it helps to label the shelves in cupboards or larder, so that putting things away requires less brain power - and helps others in the home do their part too. It also shows when you have too much to fit on the shelf its time to double check things haven't got out of hand and reassess what needs to stay.
One last reminder - the floor is not a storage space! If its on the floor in the kitchen, you need to play kitchen tetris and find it a new home.
Let me know how you get on!