The Starting Over Exercise To Unclutter Your Whole Kitchen

The Starting Over Exercise To Unclutter Your Whole Kitchen

Taryn Williford
Sep 13, 2017

We are really in this now! Week one of the September Sweep saw us setting up a few systems and rules, and now we're halfway through week two and really making some progress with our home's less orderly areas. Next up: the kitchen.

I don't think my kitchen cabinets have ever been as clean and tidy as they were on the day I moved in to my loft. There's so much clarity and confidence that comes with a fresh start—with empty cabinets and a carefully curated selection of only the essentials I've decided to carry from one home to another. Then somewhere along the way, those cabinets just become bottomless pits for all sorts of stuff: takeout sauce packets, plastic containers, bowls and platters I might only use once a year—and that's to say nothing of the junk drawer!

We'll skip the junk drawer today (I'm a firm believer that every room should have a nondescript junk zone to hide random bits away), but the rest of the kitchen is fair game for this "starting over" exercise.

Today's Assignment

Empty your kitchen cabinets and drawers, and work through your things before putting them away.

There's a bit of a choose-your-own adventure aspect to this task. If your kitchen is pretty well-categorized but, you know, messy... you might be able to tackle it one cabinet or drawer at a time. But if your kitchen's storage is a hodge podge with no real organization at all, you should try emptying everything at once.

What gets emptied:

  • cabinets and drawers that hold kitchen tools, food storage containers, cooking and baking supplies, etc.
  • any counter-top storage or standalone storage you keep in the kitchen for the same reason

What does not get emptied:

  • the junk drawer
  • pantry cabinets (we'll get to those later)

You might also decide to leave some spaces alone (like your flatware caddy or everyday dishes) if they're not a problem area for you.

Once everything is temporarily out, use your rubric to sort through your stuff and decide what to keep and what to let go of. We outlined five questions at the start of the September Sweep to help you on your way. If your answer to each question is "no," it's time to send that thing onto a new life. Everything you're ready to get rid of can be sorted into the trash, recycling, or our "sell" and "donate" boxes.

If you happen to come across anything that you feel might need a better home—the kitchen is pretty prime real estate after all—feel free to throw that over to our "wanderers" box for now.

And don't forget...

Head over to your monster zone sometime today and get one new thing out of there forever. You know... you could even try grabbing two or three things, if you wanted to.

Want to catch up with Apartment Therapy's September Sweep decluttering plan? You can see all of the month's assignments right here.

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