Clutter: everyone has it, but nobody likes it. In the kitchen it is especially easy to accumulate more and more junk over time. No other room in the home sees quite as much abuse as the kitchen does. Today, we are taking some steps to reclaim our kitchens from the junk that overruns it by getting rid things from these 5 categories.
5 Things to Declutter from your Kitchen Right Now
Seriously, how many to-go containers, yogurt tubs and Rubbermaid dishes do we really need? If every time you open your cabinet, you are at risk of a Tupperware avalanche or if you can never find a matching container and lid, it may be time to thin things out. How much we need to realistically keep is going to vary from household to household. Try narrowing down containers using the following criteria.
Get Rid of These:
- Warped, stained, old containers
- Containers missing lids
- Duplicates of containers in typically unused sizes
- Containers that can share lids
- Containers in good condition
- Containers that stack and store easily
2. Sauces, Dressings, Condiments
This is a category that sneakily gets out of hand overtime because we tend to buy these items either with specific dishes in mind (dressings and sauces) or because we simply cannot remember whether or not we already have it at home (condiments like ketchup, mustard, mayo).
Before cleaning out my shelves, I took a quick inventory of the random jars and bottles lining my fridge door and we had fish sauce, oyster sauce, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, 2 ketchups, mustard, mayonnaise, 2 jars of pepperocinis, a jar of pickles, 5 salad dressings, 4 barbecue sauces, multiple types of vinegar and more. No wonder finding stuff in there is a nightmare. These are the things I got rid of without a second thought:
- Expired items
- Basically empty items (we are really bad at leaving empty bottles and jars in the fridge
- Things I just flat out don’t like and don’t use
That’s it. Just those three things opened up so much extra space for us. You could also consider combining duplicates if you have opened multiple of one thing (guilty).
3. Souvenir Dishes
Souvenirs are tough because of their emotional value, but they can also be hard to store because of their bizarre shapes like those weird, super-tall cups with crazy straws you get at amusement parks or the football and baseball helmets you get when you buy the “deluxe” overpriced ice cream at the ballpark. Or, maybe it’s not the oddness of the items but the sheer quantity. For instance, if you get a souvenir cup every time you go somewhere, say a sporting event, and you go to a handful of events each year, in a couple of years you could have dozens of essentially the same plastic cup. Here are some questions to ask yourself to help narrow down items in this category:
- Does it get used regularly (or even semi-regularly)?
- Is the memory associated with it truly significant?
- Is there another souvenir from the same event that you enjoy more that you would consider keeping instead (ex. t-shirt, key chain, photos, etc)?
- Are you working towards a specific collection that can actually be completed? (i.e. a mug from every state)
4. Unused Appliances
In economics there is a concept called “Sunk Cost Fallacy”. In essence it states that people will continue in something as a result of previously invested resources such as money, time or effort regardless of the actual benefit or enjoyment of the behavior. In other words, people tend to keep doing things because they feel the need to “get their money’s worth” like eating until you’re sick because you are at an all you can eat buffet or sitting through a terrible movie because you already bought the ticket. We tend to do the same thing with items we have purchased especially if it was something we consider to be a big ticket item. Maybe it’s a blender or an air fryer or a tabletop mixer or a fancy coffee machine that you bought with the best intentions but really never use. Whatever it is, if it’s not useful to you, it’s not bringing you any value. It’s just adding clutter to your counter.
5. Single-Purpose Items A.K.A. “Unitaskers”
This can easily overlap with unused appliances. These items perform literally one specific task and that’s all. “Unitaskers” range from seemingly reasonable (ex. salad spinner) to just downright silly (ex. onion goggles- yes, these are goggles made specifically for wearing while cutting onions). However, they all have one thing in common: they take up unnecessary space in the kitchen. Take some time to inventory your kitchen tools and see what tools you have on hand that can do the job of your single-purpose item and then some. If a multi-purpose item can do the job of a single-purpose item, consider getting rid of the latter.
Clutter can negatively affect us in many ways including wasting our time and stressing us out. If you take some time to visualize your favorite or most inspirational spaces and places, they likely have one at least one thing in common: no clutter. At the top of this article, I included a photo of a kitchen that I, personally, find appealing for the layout of the kitchen as well as the materials and paint colors used (see caption). However, we must also recognize that this image and images like it are appealing because they contain just the right amount of “stuff” which implies that the first step to having a comfortable and enticing kitchen space is to clear it of all the junk we’ve accumulated over time. This ultimately sets up a successful foundation for future projects whether it be a complete renovation or simply changing the colors of your walls and/or cabinets, and at the very least, it makes the kitchens we already have much easier to use and to live in.