4 Weeks of Decluttering –
Week 2: The Kitchen

This week we’re diving into a bigger task, the kitchen. Within
the kitchen, there’s food, appliances, dishes, cook wear, and so
much more. Decluttering the kitchen may seem like a daunting
task, but after breaking it down into smaller steps it becomes much
more doable. The goal is to have an organized, decluttered space
that allows the you to have a clean, sanitary area to prepare food as
well as invite others in for conversation, or a cup of coffee. Let’s begin!

Step 1: The Plan: The kitchen can be a fast paced environment
so it’s important to plan where things will go. Think about what
items you need where to ensure optimal convenience. Consider
what you need to be able to grab fast while cooking at the stove,
what counter space you like to use to prepare food for cooking,
and which space you use to dish food out and prepare for dining.
This will help you prioritize your spaces, such as having dishes
near dish prep areas and cooking needs near areas you prepare
food. Save waist and eye level spaces for things you use daily like
cereal, coffee, plates, cups, and kitchen utensils. Low and high
spaces can be used for food or other items you do not use often
such as larger pots or baking dishes.

Step 2: Decluttering the Cupboards: One Cupboard at a time – follow
your plan. Go through your cupboards one at a time. Empty them
out and wipe down the insides, as dust and crumbs can collect
in corners over time. If the cupboard contains items that are in
place according to your plan put them back in that cupboard
leaving out anything that does not belong. Leave items in the
wrong place out to organize them later. Put items back in the
cupboards, according to your plan once they are all wiped down.

Step 3: The Appliances: Evaluate your appliances and cooking
wear. Check if your appliances still work, and once again ask
yourself what you really need. That cotton candy maker you
bought impulsively may be nifty, but will you ever use it? Plus,
tossing it or donating it may save you a few trips to the dentist.
Also, collect kitchen tools you have multiples of. If you have
three spatulas and only have one person cooking at a time, you
can toss the one with a melted edge. Decide how many of these
kitchen tools you will need at a time and have these ready to
store in reachable places. Get rid of extras and store decorative
tools used for special occasions in a separate spot.

Step 4: Collect and Repackage: Collect non-perishables and
donate some to your nearest food bank if you have an oversupply.
Repackage pantry foods and small items like sugar, spices, and
small measuring spoons in more storage friendly containers.
Many items come in packaging that makes organizing difficult.
Repackaging will cut clutter and make items more accessible.
It will also be easier to grab items when they are all grouped
together and in a place you are familiar with.

Step 5: Hit the Fridge: The fridge can collect a lot of clutter that
you forget to toss. Decluttering the fridge is a great way to start a
healthy lifestyle. Go through your fridge with a garbage bag in
hand and toss out everything that is old or will not get consumed.
Bottles of almost empty condiments or juices can accumulate and
waste space. If you haven’t touched it in the last month it’s time
to part with it. Check expiration dates and make a mental note of
things that will expire soon. Place those items in front of other food
items, as it will be a reminder every time you open your fridge to
use them soon. After everything old is out, it will be easy to organize
your fridge the way you want it.

Step 6: Wipe, decorate, and hide things away: The last step is to
pamper up your space and make it pretty. Wipe down all the surfaces
to brighten up your kitchen. Add a few decorative items to your taste,
and put away anything that seems unsightly. If you prefer not to
have appliances out in the open, tuck the ones you use frequently
away in an easy to grab spot.

Bonus Tips: Cleaning the microwave. The microwave can quickly
become a disaster zone of exploded hardened food. To swiftly clean the
microwave, spray all walls with water and place a wet sponge inside.
Microwave the sponge for two minutes on low, and then use it to
wipe the remnants of food, as they will glide right off. There is
nothing worse than a dirty microwave that is unsanitary to use.

After following these steps your kitchen will be cleaned, organized,
and ready for you to dive right in. You should feel proud of your
hard work and happy to spend time in your new space. Remember,
have fun with cleaning and decluttering. Do not think of it as stressful
or unpleasant, but rather an enjoyable therapeutic experience. Happy
cleaning-and cooking!

Jill Taylor, USC™, UFSC™, UCPO™, UDRC™
Certified UltimateStager™ | Feng Shui Specialist™  
Ultimate Professional Organizer™ | Ultimate Decorator & ReDesigner™
Manager of Student Experience & Tutoring