Living Simply- Kitchen Clean Out
Are you ready? No? We’re going in anyway! We’re going hard at the start of this declutter project. If you can do this room, you can do any room. The focus for our kitchen clean-out is cabinets, counter space and décor. If you have a pantry, a utility closet, or a mudroom, you can address those areas later. For now, we need to think in three specific categories: NEED, DISCARD, and UNSURE/SENTIMENTAL as you take everything out, one cabinet at a time. Do you have the space designated as a discard pile? Do you have trash bags handy? Have you been self-coaching with the words, “I’m going to get rid of some stuff?” Let’s go!
- Empty under-the-sink cabinet and wipe down interior. Consolidate as much as possible. Put cleaning products into one bottle if you have multiples of same type. Use empty pump bottles and sprayers to make handmade cleaning products as seen on Pinterest. Limit number of cleaning rags stored and designate extras to a different utility space. Put sponges in dishwasher to clean and throw out those beyond repair. Restock supplies and group like items together in baskets or plastic bins.
- Clear countertops of all items and store on a table during the next step. Wipe down counters.
- Progress through the kitchen cabinets emptying sections at a time. Wipe down interiors. Toss out oddball dishes and chipped pieces. Do you have Grandma’s everyday dishes that you never plan to use but you keep for sentimental reasons? Consider giving them to someone you know who is in need of assistance setting up a new home. Knowing the person you help will give you so much pleasure in giving her something so meaningful to you. And you know Grandma would have treated that friend graciously as well.
- As you replenish your cabinets, imagine storing the items as if they were in full view, like open-shelving. Create neat rows and uniformity as much as possible. On that note, maybe you don’t need all 40 coffee mugs. Maybe.
- Touch every piece of your kitchen linens and transfer shabby towels into your cleaning rag pile. Throw out tattered and burned oven mits. Don’t hold on to tablecloths, aprons, table runners, etc. if you haven’t used them in the past year. If you didn’t use the pretty poinsettia print tablecloth last year at Christmas, you probably won’t use it this year either. Donate it.
- Bakeware: unless you have an extra-large family, you probably only need two pieces of each type. Keep the ones that are in the best condition and get rid of the others. You can do this.
- Pots & Pans: Typically one set of 5 – 7 pieces serves a household well. Wash down the interior of the cabinet and store pots and pans with lids in tact.
- Special occasion dishes should not take up prime real estate in your kitchen unless you have excessive cabinets or a piece of furniture for their display. Options for these types of dish sets: pack in a box and store in a closet or use in décor if a dish display fits your design style.
- If you find during your clean-out some gifts that friends and family members assumed would complete your kitchen, but you never actually use them, it is okay to discard them. Really. No one has to know, and I promise not to tell.
- Utensils and silverware. Use drawer dividers for every utensil drawer you have. Two of each type of utensil is more than enough. When possible, store items in drawer to avoid countertop clutter. Switch drawers if you need to make space for utensils to be within reach of your cooking and food prep surfaces.
- Counters. If you are prone to keeping counters cluttered, consider storing away items in easy-to-reach spaces in cabinetry, pantry or mudroom. Counter space should be reserved for cooking preparation, so keep décor to a minimum. A rule of thumb: if a countertop item can fit on a decorative tray, it can stay! For example: Have a tray on each counter space and group things together according to function. One tray can be for olive oils and decanters, another for coffee service, and another for needs at the kitchen faucet.
- Wall décor. Sometimes we can overdue kitchen décor and perpetuate our clutter dilemma by putting too much on the walls. Don’t be afraid of empty wall space. Don’t be afraid of empty wall space. (This one begs repeating.) One large piece for the walls or just a few small hangings will keep your space looking clean and fresh.
LIVING SIMPLY WORKBOOK
Create a shop-for list according to your fresh needs. The list should not burden you as something that must be done right away, but should serve as a reminder to keep your eye out for these items while you’re out and about. Do you have friends who shop flea markets and thrift stores? Put them to task in keeping an eye out for your list items.