To ensure your kitchen is optimized for your particular lifestyle, it’s a good idea to go through your things occasionally to see what you can eliminate. It can be very frustrating to cook in a kitchen where you must move everything out of your way to get to the one tool you need. You feel like you never have enough space, but the issue is organization. A good purge may be necessary, but don’t feel like you have to toss everything. That mug from your vacation four years ago might not be used often, but if it brings you joy, it should stay!
Did you see someone on YouTube use a waffle maker to make Sunday waffles for their kids, and now you think you need one in your kitchen? Waffle and panini makers, ice cream machines, smoothie makers, food processors, blenders, and Margarita machines are tempting to add to your cooking prep toolbox. However, they are often large and can take up a lot of crucial space, and you need to ask yourself how often you would use them. Removing even a few small appliances will free up a lot of space.
You probably don’t need twelve spatulas and three types of colanders unless you’re an avid cook. These types of utensils are usually the items that clutter up the kitchen the most. Grab all your cooking utensils and organize them by type. Evaluate their use in your kitchen and throw what you don’t need into a big donation box.
We all have a junk drawer, (sometimes more than one) and they are usually filled with batteries, a tiny screwdriver, various tools, random napkins, multiple pens, food clips, and maybe a handful of takeout menus. Most of what you find living there are those “just in case” items that you will probably never use and can be thrown out or re-homed in a more appropriate place.
Pantry & Freezer
It is also crucial to frequently check your pantry for items out of date and organize them in a way that will allow you to use the oldest items first. You could even set up a meal plan for the next few weeks that focuses on using the things you already have. It saves money on groceries and clears out your pantry. Win-win! While you’re at it, try tackling the freezer and refrigerator too. You will probably be surprised by what you find!
Spices are one of the most common kitchen items contributing to clutter. If you check, you probably have multiples of some spices, and there are bound to be a few that have expired. Sort through them periodically, check the labels for expiration dates, and throw away anything you can no longer use.
Everyone loves a good mug! However, they can clutter a kitchen faster than almost anything else. Pull them all out and be honest about how many you truly need. We all have those impulsive travel purchases and novelty mugs that we never use that can be added to the donation box. If they are more valuable and more of a collection, consider investing in a storage solution to show them off without taking up precious cabinet space.
It’s hard to resist those adorable kitchen towels you see hanging in the aisle at stores like TJ Maxx and Homegoods you may be that person who has a drawer filled with festive, seasonal, or funny towels. These all take up a lot of space, and if there isn’t another place in your home you can store them, it’s best to go through them and downsize. Some might be stained, ruined, and ready to be thrown out. Keep your favorites and make cleaning rags with the others.
It’s sometimes impossible to leave a friend’s or family’s home without taking something home in a plastic container. Soon you have containers without lids, lids without containers, and the whole drawer/cabinet is anarchy. Take the time to sort through them, get rid of the ones that you don’t like and rarely use, and return the others to their owners.
Once you have a newly decluttered and organized space, meal prep meals is less stressful and enjoyable!