Declutter: the kitchen

Kitchen Photo from the Container Store - one of my favorite organizing resources

Let’s get started where we spend about 80% of our waking hours when at home:  the KITCHEN.  It’s the center of our home which means it’s also the place that likely catches most of our clutter.  These places {which really adds up to the entire kitchen!} are the common clutter catchers:

  • flat surfaces {counters & tabletop}
  • food keepers {pantry, refrigerator, freezer}
  • storage places {cabinets & drawers}

Keep counters clear of “stuff” unless used daily – adding in a couple of decorative items you love – which provides optimal workspace and makes for easy cleaning. {Getting rid of clutter can cut cleaning time in half!}



Map out your kitchen in zones {meal prep, cleaning, eating… } and determine where each will be. {This may change as you go through the process which is great. This means you’re really seeing what you have and thinking about how you can better utilize your kitchen.}


Schedule blocks of time to tackle different parts of the kitchen. Or, take 10 minutes here, 20 minutes there and do one shelf, one drawer, one cabinet at a time. If done a couple of times a day over the course of a week or so, you’ll see big results.  Start with what drives you the craziest – that’ll give you immediate satisfaction + will help to keep you motivated!


For each section, remove everything and then determine if it’s a keeper or not. {Revisit these questions if you need help.}  Begin sorting what you’re keeping while placing the other things in your trash, recycle, donate or return containers.  {Tip: Quickly clean each space while it’s empty.}

Cabinets / Drawers:

  • Get rid of what you don’t really need or love. {Consider tossing mismatched & chipped mugs, glasses + plastic containers with no lids + things that are broken!}
  • Begin grouping together items such as:  office supplies, batteries, change, scribbled notes, menus, coupons… I’ll temporarily use Ziploc bags to keep sorted items and then at the end of session, put items in place where they belong.  Or, if no designated place, I’ll determine where best home will be.

For pantry / refrigerator / freezer:

  • Throw away out-of-date items {boxes that have been opened longer than 6 months / left(way)overs and other expired things in fridge/freezer}. Donate those canned items that you probably won’t end up using.
  • I love having a stocked pantry but at times it can get a little out of control.  When this happens, plan meals around what you already have. This will help de-clutter your pantry AND save you $ at the grocery.

Recipes, recipes, recipes

As some of you know, magazines are a bit of an obsession of mine. And some of what I’ll tear out of them are recipes that look good.  {Maybe I need to avoid food magazines when I’m hungry – just like they tell you to avoid the grocery when you hungry!} I have quite a collection of recipes that I need to handle just like I did with my magazines. Give myself a time limit {30 minutes} and get rid of at least 75%.  I’ll let you know how it goes…


Place items in their {new} home based on the zones you’ve established.

  • Optimally utilize cabinets, shelves and drawers keeping items near where they’ll be used. {I have a plastic bin in our hall closet labeled “miscellaneous kitchen” where I stash seldom-used {but needed) things}.
  • Group like-items together {labeling if necessary} so that everyone in the house can find – and put away – what they need. {THIS is how you know you’ve organized successfully – everyone is able to easily find what they need & put away when finished!}
  • I do have a container that I’ll keep miscellaneous “things.” {But try to have just one of these!}
  • It may sound a little over-the-top to some, but it really makes a neater appearance when labels of fridge and pantry items are turned to the front. It makes the space more visually appealing and makes things easy to find.  {Although it may only take a few seconds more to find items that are turned around – or kept not quite in the same place each time – those seconds really do add up!}


This is the fun part!  {Actually, I find the other parts quite exciting, too… that’s how I know I’m in the right profession!!} Once you’ve tackled the function part of organizing you can have fun with the form part!  There are plenty of great organizing products / containers out there but don’t buy until you’ve determined what you need.

Next, I’ll share a few of my favorite kitchen organizing products and resources!


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