Decluttering Cure

Here’s a Game Plan for Decluttering Your Kitchen in 20 Minutes

published Sep 16, 2020
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The kitchen can be such a black hole for storage, because everything in it feels necessary. When it comes to tools and cups and food storage containers, no amount feels like enough. And in your mind, you probably have a use for all of it.

That’s fine. Hang on to as much as you want in the kitchen, especially now. Even the things you use once a year—like the apple corer that helps you with the first (and last) pie of the season—can have ritualistic and emotional value.

Decluttering Tip: Be honest with yourself about the value your items have: If it’s more about emotion than function, maybe you can store it in a different place, or keep the memory in some other way, like framing a photograph of it.

→ Create Your Own Decluttering Workbook

But I am here to help you declutter, so my “hang on to anything you want” advice only extends as deep as your cabinets do. If you find it hard to find tools when you need them—or let out a few colorful curse words every time you unload even more water bottles onto an already-toppling stack of them—it’s time to let some things go.

So let’s try a quick sweep of your kitchen storage today…

Day 9: Do a timed 20-minute declutter in your kitchen.

If you’ve been following along with this Cure, you know the drill by now: Set a timer, grab a basket, and go through your kitchen looking for things that are either out of place, or ready to be tossed and given a new home far away from yours.

But first… there are a few places not to look: The fridge, freezer and pantry can be spared today, because we’ll be coming back for a pass at decluttering those food storage spaces in a few days.

Where to Look:

  • cabinets
  • drawers
  • on the counter
  • on top of the fridge or cabinets
  • any freestanding furniture, like a hutch or island
  • the bar or bar cart
  • anywhere you store cooking and serving supplies, even if it’s not “in” the kitchen

What to look for:

  1. Anything that belongs in another room
  2. Broken cups, mugs and plates
  3. Multiples you have too many of
  4. Kitchen tools you never use
  5. Duplicate kitchen tools or measuring cups
  6. Small appliances that you never use, or that you use so infrequently you can probably find an alternate technique or borrow from a friend
  7. Baking sheets, pans, pots, and cutting boards that sit untouched
  8. Holiday-themed serving pieces that didn’t get used last holiday
  9. Novelty accessories
  10. More than two-ish bottle or wine openers
  11. The fifth and sixth water bottles you never get to using
  12. Old, gross cleaning supplies
  13. Old, stained, or extra plastic containers
  14. Takeout condiments, plasticware, and stray menus
  15. Out-of-date invitations or event announcements
  16. Expired coupons
  17. Excessive collections of paper or plastic bags
  18. Expired medication
  19. Bottles of liquor that don’t ever seem to get drunk
  20. Cookbooks that haven’t been cracked open in more than a year

A lot of these things can be recycled or donated, so don’t opt for the trash can unless you have to.

More Ways to Participate in the Decluttering Cure:

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