The kitchen is the heart of the home. It nurtures you, and it keeps you healthy. A cluttered kitchen makes cooking harder and increases stress. If you have a cluttered benchtop and cupboards, there are things you can do to declutter the kitchen, no matter how much, or little, time you have.
Prevention. First, let’s talk about stopping the clutter coming in the door, which is my first top tip for creating order. These days there are so many gadgets that claim to make life easier. In fact, many of them lay idle, taking up space on your benchtop or in your cupboard. Think twice before you buy a new appliance or gadget. Remember that you have to store it, clean it and maintain it. Has it earned its place in your home? To see for yourself if there’s anything that has not earned its place, go and open some cupboards. At a glance, can you see anything you haven’t used in a while? Can you see unnecessary multiples of anything?
The other way clutter finds its way into your kitchen is when you buy too much food. Most homes have a shop nearby where you can buy food 7 days a week. What’s more, the things you need are usually on special offer every other week. So buying in bulk doesn’t make sense. Buying in industrial quantities may save a few pennies, but then you have to store it again. Meanwhile, the shop has your money while it could be sitting in your bank account. Don’t believe me? Go to your kitchen right now. Open the pantry, fridge and freezer. Is there enough food to feed an army? Is there food you bought a long time ago, with plans for cooking a dish that never got cooked?
Remember the sight of all that food when you next go shopping. Better yet, forget shopping this week and use what you already have in stock. Already you’ll be on your way to decluttering.
But what about the rest? As I said, there are things you can do to declutter the kitchen, no matter how little time you have.
Got 10 minutes? Gather up all your dried herbs and spices. Check for use by dates and toss any old ones. Add any essential ones to your shopping list. Give any remaining a good wipe before putting them back where they are most useful. That may be right by the stove, or inside the pantry door.
Got an hour? Clear some space on your benchtop, the more space the better. Swing open the pantry door and go shelf by shelf, pulling the contents of the pantry out and laying the items on the cleared bench, grouping items into categories. Stack tins together, the same with sauces, snacks, etc. As with the spices, remove anything that’s out of date. As you go, make a quick inventory of any specialty items – things you bought for a special recipe or occasion but forgot about. Grab your diary and shopping list, and make a date for when you’ll use those ingredients. Add any additional items you need to the shopping list. Be sure to give the pantry shelves a good wipe before you return the items, in their groups, back into the pantry. And give yourself a pat on the back.
Got all day? Start by doing the tasks above. You’ll get on a roll and see that a kitchen quickly fills with things you don’t need or use or love, and that’s the definition of clutter, after all. Now take your time and follow those same steps – sort into groups, get rid of the clutter, store what you keep in the best way – for the countertop, fridge, freezer, each cupboard and drawer, utensils and even cookbook. Of course you could spread this task over several days and still achieve great success.
Well done, you did it! How will you celebrate and reward yourself? Maybe you could enjoy a night out away from the kitchen.