Do you hate to empty the dishwasher and put away clean dishes? Are your cupboards and pantry bulging? Does your fridge smell like leftovers? Then it’s time to clean out your cupboards (and fridge). In our busy lives it’s too easy to simply collect more of an item than consolidate it. This goes for everything from kitchen utensils to condiments. Not only that, but over time even the highest quality bakeware, pots, and pans can deteriorate. Here’s how to know when it’s time to clear the clutter out of your kitchen. Working around your kitchen you will also note that dishes, glassware, coffee mugs, small appliances, plastic containers, and other categories in your kitchen can all be examined and edited down to just what you need.
- Start Slow and Set a Timer – Setting a timer for just 30 minutes will help get you started. Plan to do only what you can in that 30 minutes and come back to finish the rest 30 minutes at a time each week. Setting time limits is motivational because while 30 minutes over a few weeks isn’t a lot, feeling like you have to devote a whole day to your kitchen will feel like drudgery and get put off.
- Donate the Unused Cookbooks – Let’s face it: very few of us really use cookbooks anymore. It’s just as easy to look a recipe up on the internet. Or if you have a few cookbooks that you use, I am sure you are just using one or a few of the recipes in that book. Wouldn’t it be better to copy or write down the recipe and let the cookbooks go? That would free up space in your kitchen, right?
- Can the Expired Canned Goods – I think we are all guilty of having a few canned items in our cupboards that are expired. They get pushed to the back of the cabinet or lifestyles and tastes change and you no longer use or need these items in your cabinet. Take some time to pull out your canned goods and look at the expiration dates. Toss what is expired or not needed and make note of what you need to replace.
- Spare the Spices – Yes, they do expire. Toss any that you don’t use or when you smell them, they have lost their aroma. As a general rule, whole spices will stay fresh for about 4 years, ground spices for about 3 to 4 years and dried leafy herbs for 1 to 3 years.
- Ditch the (Ratty) Dish Towels – Are you using what you have? Do some have holes and stains and can be now used as rags? Wouldn’t you appreciate using a fresher looking towel in your kitchen? Go through your stash and keep only what you would use. Donate ones that are in good condition.
- Clean Out the Unused Cleansers – Gather them all together and see if there are obvious ones that you never use. If there are multiples of the same product, can the contents be combined to lessen the amount? If you have supplies that have just a little left, put this up front to use up first.
- Sort the Utensils – Spatulas, knives, wooden spoons and whisks can multiply before you know it. The result is too many in one drawer and major frustration when looking for what you really want to use. Sort by category and be realistic about what you use.
- Toss Out or Recycle Old Bakeware, Pots, & Pans – Again, some of these may be really worn and look gross. Can you minimize the quantity and if there are some really gross items, wouldn’t it be better to replace them, so you feel healthier using them? Pick up inexpensive, high quality replacements on your weekly foray to the discount department stores or the next time Macy’s or Kohl’s has a sale.
- Freshen Up the Fridge – Before going on your next grocery shopping errand and when your fridge isn’t stuffed to the gills, take inventory of what is in there. Are there condiments that have expired, or the color is not what it should be? These items tend to linger in our fridges way past date of use because they get lost in the back or on lower shelves and we forget to look at them. At least twice a year, you should do a major clean out of condiments in your fridge.
The kitchen is typically a major hub in a home. By cleaning and decluttering this space, you and your whole family will benefit.
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