Move over spring cleaning, fall is also a perfect time to declutter your kitchen. The trees shedding their leaves get us thinking about shedding our own clutter (physical and mental!) to make space for creativity, and the kitchen is a great place to start. Getting the kitchen clean and clutter-free can make it a more relaxed place to cook, prepare, and eat meals. We certainly enjoy being there more when everything feels organized and clean. It’s not always realistic to keep it clean every second of the day when you have a family (or if you use the kitchen a ton like we do), but doing a quarterly de-clutter and deep clean helps keep things under control, organizationally speaking, and it takes less time you might think.
Follow the process below and feel at ease in your kitchen again.
Note: If the steps below sound overwhelming to tackle all at once, do it over the course of two weekends by dedicating 30 minutes to an hour each weekend. You’ll get it done without feeling like you’ve had to sacrifice any fall fun (or precious down-time) in the process.
Tackle the pantry/storage cabinet
It’s easy for food to get piled into the pantry or a cabinet each week in the mad rush to get the groceries put away. But, after a while you end up unintentionally hiding things that need to get used up. Or, buying doubles (or triples!) of things you already have. Go through and toss anything that has gone bad and donate anything you’ve been hanging onto but realistically aren’t going to use. If you’ve accumulated doubles of items, put the newer one behind the older one so you use the older one up first. And, here is a post from Classy Clutter we love about how to organize your pantry in a realistic way.
Clean counter clutter
A clearer counter space can make room for more organized meal prep and make the overall vibe in your kitchen more calming. Anything that doesn’t get used DAILY can be put away in a drawer or cabinet. This is also a good time to consider donating anything you rarely use (if you haven’t used it in a year, chances are you won’t), or tossing anything not in good enough condition to be used by someone else (like that melted spatula you’re hanging onto even though you have a perfectly good new one next it!)
Freshen up the fridge
Your fridge is another place where you can create space by tossing or making a plan to immediately use condiments that you used once for a party or recipe and forgot about, or jars of olives or jam that have been sitting in the door so long they’re solidified. Once you’re rid of anything unusable, give the fridge shelves, drawers, and doors a good scrub with soap and water (we love a DIY cleaner and/or using Sal Suds for this). Once your fridge is nice and clean, these Glasslock Storage Containers and Erasable Food Storage Labels are our go-to for keeping leftovers and cut-up fruits and veggies visible while stored in the fridge. We’ll be following up this post with more on how to stock your fridge in a way that promotes healthful eating and less food waste.
Host a kitchen swap!
Maybe you have some appliances or kitchen gadgets kicking around that you don’t use, but your neighbor has been dying for, and vice versa. Grab a few friends and bring some of your gently used kitchen stuff to an exchange (with some yummy food and drinks) and feel great as you de-clutter, reduce landfill waste, and give to your friends at the same time. Any items that don’t get taken can get donated directly after the swap.
Designate a place for everything
This task can be the most challenging, but start small. If it comes into the kitchen and doesn’t have a place, either make one for it, or toss/donate/recycle it. For instance, if your mail ends up on your kitchen table or counter everyday find yourself one of those mail bins for the wall. You can go with something simple like this or this, or create more of a family organization station with this Pottery Barn organizer (we’ve also seen lots of these at Home Goods for a bit less.) You can also reuse cereal boxes to DIY! Using wall space, if you have it, can help clear up the counter. This is also a great starting point to reducing household waste, because you’ll more clearly see what consistently gets tossed/recycled and can work to minimize those items.