5 Things Pro Organizers Would Never (Ever!) Get Rid of in the Kitchen

published Mar 25, 2024
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A simple white kitchen with open shelving instead of upper cabinets and butcher block counters
Credit: Lana Kenney

If there’s one room in my home I am perpetually cleaning and decluttering, it’s my kitchen. While there are always some crumbs to clean up or some chipped glassware to get rid of, there are certain things I can’t seem to let go of (despite my desire to get rid of even sentimental items). I figured that professional organizers might have some insight into this mentality, but instead I found out that they too have a handful of kitchen items they refuse to declutter. 

While the decision on what to declutter in a kitchen can vary based on individual needs and preferences, the best rule to follow is to determine the purpose of an item and how it fits into your life.

“Decluttering doesn’t necessarily mean throwing everything away; items that are still in good condition can be donated, repurposed, or given to someone who can make better use of them,” says Shantae Duckworth, professional organizer and founder of Shantaeize Your Space.

If you’re planning on spring cleaning and decluttering your kitchen soon, professional organizers say there might be a few things you’ll want to reconsider getting rid of.

Reusable Cleaning Products

The cost of cleaning products can add up faster than you can imagine, so Kaylie Hill, a Scotch-Brite brand ambassador and professional organizer, recommends holding onto your reusable cleaning products for as long as they work. This can include things like glass spray bottles and microfiber cloths. 

“Reusable cleaning products are something I always keep when it comes to decluttering my kitchen, like my favorite Scotch-Brite Greener Clean Sponge Cloth, which outlasts 20 rolls of paper towels and works on multiple surfaces,” she says. 

Heirloom and Sentimental Items

For Duckworth and Heather Aiello, CEO and founder at The Organized You, items with sentimental value, such as family heirlooms or gifts, might be worth keeping even if they aren’t used daily. 

Aiello says that displaying pieces such as a cherished set of vintage dishes, a hand-me-down mixer, or a well-loved cast iron skillet can add a personal touch to your kitchen despite their condition. 

Additionally, Duckworth says they’re sustainable and also save you money. “These items not only hold emotional value, but can also foster a sense of connection to family traditions and memories,” she says. “They also save space and offer practicality and durability.” 

Mason Jars

In your kitchen, Mason jars are ideal for storing foods and liquids in an airtight container. And while decorating with these may be a dated practice, Hill says there are endless uses for them, and they offer plenty of versatility all around your home.

“Even if you have no use for Mason jars in your kitchen, they can serve a great purpose in other areas of your home,” she says. “For example, you can use Mason jars in your bathroom to contain cotton balls or hold your toothbrush. If you have children, they are great for storing marbles and other small toys. In your garage, they can hold screws, nails, and bolts.”

Old Dishes and Containers

If you’re the crafty, DIY type, both Aiello and James Lott Jr., life coach and founder of The Super Organizer, suggest reusing and upcycling these items to give them new life. 

“I had a client who had a bunch of baking dishes and stopped using them in favor of the newer dishes. We turned one of them into an herb garden and another we put in the fridge as a tray to hold her cheeses,” says Lott. “You can always get creative with many uses.”

While these types of old containers can serve multiple purposes, Aiello says it’s important to consider a few factors such as damage, duplicate items, and lack of storage space to determine if you can keep the item, toss it, or donate it.

High-Quality Cookware, Utensils, and Gadgets

Both Duckworth and Aiello recommend keeping your versatile and high-quality kitchenware, such as a sturdy mixing bowl that can double as a serving dish, instead of buying replacements. If you’re using these items frequently and they aren’t damaged to a point that makes them unusable, they say it’s best to preserve them.

“High-quality cookware or specialty kitchen gadgets that you genuinely use and appreciate are worth keeping, such as a well-made chef’s knife or a unique kitchen tool such as a lid and ladle stand,” says Aiello. “Investing in quality can enhance your cooking experience and make certain tasks more enjoyable.”

Looking to spring clean? Sign up for Apartment Therapy’s 10-day Spring Cleaning Cure, a free guided program that’ll bring you one step closer to a tidier home.