We are continuing in our Simplify Your Life Series with 12 Tips to Declutter and Organize Your Kitchen with a FREE Printable Checklist to help you in your kitchen.
As for my family, the kitchen is very important. It’s central to our health and my sanity. Duties there can easily be neglected, causing us to eat out more, eat processed foods, or just feel overly stressed because of the clutter and mess.
We’re all at different stages. Some of us can’t seem to ever have 2 minutes without mounds of dishes needing to be washed, while others have the cleanliness down, but struggle with meal planning.
I’m going to try to address a variety of concerns over the next few weeks so that hopefully I can inspire and encourage all of you where you need it!
Over the next few weeks in the kitchen we will discuss:
- Decluttering and Organizing
- Meal Planning
- Mixes and Recipes to keep on hand for faster meals.
So if you haven’t, make sure to sign up for email updates HERE (and get a Free 5 Beauty Recipe E-Book too).
12 Tips to Declutter and Organize Your Kitchen
These do not have to be done in one day, but it does help to see what you have and what you need if you at least complete the first few together. If you choose not to do all of the tasks at once, then set yourself a goal of when you will complete each task. This will help make sure that you do not set it aside to be forgotten.
It’s true! Without so much stuff, space is opened and it gives a feeling of calmness and cleanliness. Yea for less stress!! Realtors will even tell those trying to sell their homes to put 60% of what is in their homes in a storage unit just to achieve this look.
Instead, how about we get rid of things that we do not use or need and give ourselves some peace all the time?
What better place to start than the kitchen!
The kitchen gets a lot of use, and rightly so. We need to be in there preparing healthy food. plus, food is part of our culture for making people feel at home, welcome, and comforted. So, why is the kitchen often over cluttered and dirty. Yes, it’s well used, but for the amount of hours I spend in there, it should be the best room in the house!
I’ve put together some steps to help you make your kitchen a highly functional and pleasant environment.
1) Wash the Dishes
You have to begin this process with everything clean. You must be able to see what you have.
I’ve heard some people say that their dishes are always dirty and they keep buying more dishes until those dishes have to sit out with the dirty dishes because there’s no room in the cupboards. What a hectic mess.
Instead, get a system down for making sure they get clean.
We have a chore chart with rewards and consequences where a different child helps make sure the kitchen is clean each week (which really means: start the dishwasher, empty the dishwasher, help wash pots after dinner). In this way, I am not the only one helping to make sure it is clean, and they develop ownership of the kitchen as well. They end up instructing their siblings not to leave plates out, but to put them in the dishwasher.
So, one way or another, get everything clean and then move on to step 2.
2) Get Rid of Items
Start pulling it out!
- Items You Don’t Need:
- A cast iron skillet can replace all of your non-stick skillets (they’re much healthier and don’t stick!). It can also replace any wok or inside grill. They are fine for glass top stoves as long as you don’t drag them across the stove.
- Items You Never Use:
- If you’re like me, you have some gadgets around that you bought or had given to you years ago that get touched once in a blue moon…literally. Ice Cream Maker, Juicer, Counter Grill, Microwave…If you hardly use them…Take the leap and let them go. I did that today by letting go of my bread machine. I always make it by hand. Why am I keeping it (It has a non-stick coating – my big motivator to get rid of it)?
- Items that don’t fit:
- Did you buy in bulk? Then put it in a small container in your kitchen and take the rest to storage.
- If it’s out on the counter top because it doesn’t fit anywhere else, consider getting rid of it.
- Items you have too many of:
- mugs, food containers, glasses, bowls, pots, pans, you name it! Choose ones you use all the time and cut down on others. How often do you entertain and how many people? Keep that in mind.
- Old and Broken Items:
- Seriously, if it’s been sitting there for a year in hopes that one day you will glue it, nail, it, or whatever, then either do it or get rid of it. Broken pots, icky pot holders with holes that will burn you…you know what I’m talking about. Let them go.
3) Clear Off Counter tops as MUCH as possible
Food Processors, Juicers, blenders, microwaves, gadgets, dishes, knife sets…..If you clear off your counter tops your kitchen will feel bigger, cleaner, and more organized!
Consider putting things on a wall. Spice racks and baking canister shelves can be beautiful in kitchens.
Go back to step 2. Can you get rid of it?
4) Organize Counter Top Supplies
If you do like to keep flours and sugars out, then place them in neat canisters (see through helps you know when you’re running low).
If you keep cooking utensils on the counter, consider putting them in a drawer or organizing them in a pretty container near the stove.
5) Keep only a FEW Dishes for Leftovers
I keep glass dishes. I got rid of all of my plastic, yet I just went through my cupboard and found at least 8! I have no idea where they come from, so if you’re a friend and left one here, you better come get them because they’re in the pile to leave! Honestly, do you eat those leftovers, or do they get thrown away. I know there are some we will eat and some that will NEVER get touched no matter how wonderful they were the first time. I don’t need a ton of leftover dishes. I have 6 glass dishes of various sizes and that’s what we need. My cupboard looks beautiful! 🙂
If you need some for work or kid’s lunch, then keep those and a few for leftovers and get rid of the rest.
6) Clean Out your Drawers
I don’t know about you, but I found a lot of utensils and tools that I do not use. Their once every year use is not worth the space and clutter. Most kitchens have a junk drawer. Go ahead and clean that one out too.
TIP: The dollar store has a lot of cheap organizing tools. Get some dividers and trays to help you keep organized.
7) Clean Out the Fridge and Freezer
Now is a great time to get rid of all of those condiments that you never use.
I like to take inventory of my freezers when I clean them out. This helps me know if I’m getting low on meat or vegetables (really, the only thing in my freezers), and also lets me see exactly how many freezer meals I have prepared as well.
8) Clean out your Spices
Spices lose their potency after a few years., unless they are vacuumed sealed. Clean out whatever is too old. Also, take this time to combine jars that you have two or more of. I use mason jars. I often have herbs that I dry in large quantities, so little jars are cumbersome. I have large bags I will vacuum seal or freeze. Everything else is put in 8oz mason jars and labeled so that I have them handy.
9) Clean Out the Food Cupboard
Another great opportunity to take inventory. Are you getting low on bulk grains and beans (We have to keep a steady supply of popcorn in my family)?
If it’s outdated, determine if it is good or not. Is it outdated because you never use it. Pitch it.
I keep baking supplies on one shelf, snacks on another, my canned condiments and pickled foods on another, etc. When I ask one of the kids to grab something for me, I can tell them exactly where it is (very handy).
10) RULE: Only Kitchen related items allowed in the Kitchen
Everyone in the house knows that this is very important to me. Toys don’t belong on the kitchen counter or floor. Neither do shoes, coats, school work, etc. We don’t have a table in the kitchen, so this is actually a pretty easy rule for us. My kids are also starting to get older, also making this rule easier to keep. It really is a big help in making sure we keep a decluttered and organized kitchen.
11) Organization Tip: Keep like items together.
Just like with the food cupboard, organize your kitchen by like items. Keep plates, cups and silverware near one another, because you often reach for them at the same time. This same logic works in keeping baking supplies together, and stove items together.
12) Make a Plan to Keep it Clean
This really has to be a family affair. If you can enlist help in steps 1-9, then they should feel a great sense of accomplishment. Celebrate together! THEN, make a plan together. Ask, how can we keep it decluttered and clean? Getting rid of the clutter will help greatly in keeping it organized, but most often the dishes are the issue. Address this and see what type of plan for washing, loading, and unloading the dishwasher you can make. Make sure it is a daily plan.
I know someone who will never go to bed without a spotless kitchen. Notice that I said I know someone….it’s not me. We get supper dishes taken care of, but there’s always more cooking going on, especially as my kids get older. One of the first things I do in the morning is make the kitchen spotless as I make breakfast. By the time we’re done eating, it’s beautiful. That’s just me. Find out what works for you. Possibly a chore rotation chart enlisting others will be a big help (and great training).
Click Here For Your FREE Printable: CHECKLIST
If you missed, it, make sure to check out How to Begin to Simplify Your Life and get your Free Printable to help you brainstorm where you and your family needs to begin.
Others in this series:
- How to Begin to Simplify Your Life
- Meal Planning Tips and Ideas
- 15 Simple and Healthy Breakfast Ideas
- What Stress Does to Your Body
- 20 Stress Relieving Herbs and Teas