10 tips for decluttering your kitchen.
I’ve been working on lots of kitchens and pantry spaces lately. I love working in kitchens, they are an area of the home that get so much use yet can get very cluttered and become badly organised.
A kitchen declutter can truly be life changing for everyone in the household. We all have a kitchen junk drawer or the ‘drawer of doom’ as I like to call it. This is one of my favourites to organise as the result is always worth it. If you’re confused as to where you should keep your cups, plastic containers or pans and don’t know where to start when it comes to decluttering, read my 10 top tips for organising your kitchen. As always, declutter first before you organise so you are only finding places for the items you really need or want.
1. When planning where to store items in your kitchen, first think about how YOU use your space. It makes no sense to keep your spoons, cups and teabags in 3 different places that aren't close to the kettle. Consider a tea and coffee making station so everything is nearby ideally close to the sink or dishwasher.
2. Use this principle with your other kitchen items. Keep all your pans in one place, roasting tins in another, baking items in another, glasses in another. Storing like with like will mean that you can always find what you are looking for, see how many you have and it makes it easier for everyone else in the family to put things away too. It will also help when decluttering. If you have a multitude of water bottles for example, looking at them altogether will help you choose the ones you use and the ones you can donate or recycle.
3. When you are decluttering, choose carefully which items you regularly use or need and donate the rest. Ask yourself, ‘when did I last use it’ if the answer is never, donate it. If it is once a year, keep it at the back of a cupboard or on a higher shelf. There is no point in keeping 6 cake tins if you haven't baked in years. Offer them to a friend, then borrow them back if you need one.
4. Glasses and mugs are items that frequently multiply. Think about how many family members you have and include how many you entertain for, discard anything which is chipped. Keep enough but no more. Donate the rest.
Special occasion glasses can be kept in higher cupboards if they only come out at Christmas or on birthdays. If you have these but NEVER use them, consider donating them as you can always hire them if you really need some.
5. Putting everyday glasses, or plates at the top of a cupboard makes no sense, keep frequently used items in the most accessible cupboards or shelves close to your prep area or cooker and ideally close to the dishwasher or sink so it makes it easier to out them away once they are clean.
6. If you have corner cupboards, things can easily get forgotten about at the back, so only store rarely used items there or invest in some pull-out storage to make it more accessible.
7. Keep regularly used appliances on the worktop so that they are ready for use. If you don't use it, why not donate it instead of losing valuable kitchen space to a dust gatherer? Keeping a bulky item in a cupboard will become a barrier to using it, so use it or lose it. If you don't have space for this, make sure you keep it where you can easily lift it out when needed.
8. When it comes to storing food, a kitchen ‘stocktake' is an excellent way to prevent wastage. Go through everything that you have, putting like items with like. Now, date-check them all and get rid of anything past its best. When you put the items back, group them into an order that makes sense to you - spices together, condiments together, tins together, or maybe Italian ingredients together. Put the items with the best dates behind those with the most recent dates so that you use them in the correct order before they expire.
9. To prevent kitchen waste and to save money, start a weekly shopping list that you can keep handy (on the fridge is perfect). When you use up an item in your cupboard, add it to the list. Advise your family to do the same. If during your ‘stocktake’ you found 5 bottles of ketchup, make a note on your list NOT to buy any more. You can do the same with your fridge and freezer.
10. We all need a space to keep miscellaneous items, but if your kitchen has a ‘drawer of doom’ it’s time to sort it out. This is a great place to use drawer separators or containers so that you can see at a glance what you have in there (plastic takeaway containers are great for this). Keep like items together. Don’t over fill it and if you don’t know what it is ask yourself why you are keeping it.
Consider finding another place to store those things that don’t need to be kept in the kitchen. If you come across items that don’t work or you are keeping because you don’t know what else to do with it then donate it to a friend or charity.
Our kitchens aren’t solely a place to prepare food anymore, often they are the heart of our home and a place to sit, catch up, or open mail.
If mail ends up in your kitchen to be dealt with, use a file or tray to contain it. Keep a few pens nearby too and maybe some post it notes. Go through your mail regularly, daily is ideal but at least once a week if you can. Action anything that needs dealing with asap, then file.
Don't use this area to keep sentimental items such as cards or letters. Keep those in a folder with the rest of your paperwork. I use a wall calendar with a pocket at the back which is a useful space to store vouchers, coupons and appointment cards.
If these tips have helped or you would like to add any of your own, I would love to hear from you I the comments.