Your kitchen is one of the most likely rooms of the house to elicit the most common argument against decluttering — the “But I need that!” response. And it’s true, there are many things in your kitchen that you use every day. If you look objectively at your stuff, though, you’ll find that not only can you live without just as many things … you already are.
- Take inventory.
Make it fun by making a mess. Take everything but the food out of your cupboards and drawers and group them into categories — tableware, cookware, containers, and utensils to name a few. It’s a great way to see exactly what you have, and also makes it obvious when you have way too many of one thing. It’s also a perfect opportunity to clean out your storage spaces.
- Take the dishwasher test.
This works well whether you’re just trying to declutter your current kitchen or downsizing to a smaller one. Look at each item and ask yourself whether it’s been in the dishwasher in the past month or so. If the answer is yes, it stays. And if you discover you’ve had multiples of an item hiding in different drawers, pick the one in the best shape to put back. There’s no need to keep a rusty old cheese grater if you have a shiny new one.
- Consider a trial separation.
Take a look at what’s left. Are there coffee pots, dish sets or cookware that you haven’t used in ages (or even forgot you had?) Don’t get rid of those things, but do store them away in an inconvenient spot. If you need something enough to dig through boxes to get it out within the next six months, it gets to stay. But whatever is still in storage after that time? You can live without it.
- Part ways with the one-trick ponies.
Take stock of those kitchen gadgets that only do one thing. (We’re looking at you, garlic press and avocado slicer.) Is there another appliance you already have that will work just as well? If you can answer yes — and especially if you don’t use it every day — get rid of it.
- Donate. Donate. Donate.
Once your boxes are packed, take one last look at what hasn’t made the cut. If an item didn’t pass the dishwasher test and it’s not in your “seldom used” storage — even if it’s expensive — it’s clutter. Something you have, but don’t need. Consider trying to consign some of your more valuable clutter, or donate to a thrift store to help members of your community.
- That yogurt expired when?
Food and cleaning items take a different approach. Here, it’s all about what’s fresh and what’s, well, not so fresh. (And let’s be honest, we all have at least one thing in our freezer that expired eons ago.) Decluttering here is simple — keep what’s good, and discard what’s not. And then, be sure to stay on top of your grocery list. Only stock up if you have the room to store the overflow outside of your kitchen. Otherwise, keep to what you need in the next week.
- Optimist.After you declutter, take the time to give what’s left the proper home, in the proper space, and get creative if you have to. Buy peg boards for the back wall of the pantry or an over-the-stove rack for your pots and pans. Put the items that you use most often within arm’s reach of where you use them, and organize your tableware so it’s easy to get in and out of the dishwasher. And once your kitchen is perfectly organized for you, be meticulous about maintenance.
- Downsize your decor.
This is especially important if you’re moving to a smaller kitchen. Functional kitchenware that you actually use takes priority over knick-knacks. If you have open cabinets, look for creative ways to arrange your tableware or canning jars instead of using decorative plates or bottle. And if you have empty counter space, either leave it bare or consider a vase of fresh flowers to bring some cheer.
If you aren’t sure where to start or need help with the details, our downsizing experts are available to lend a hand. Contact us for an estimate today!