I’ve written before about the importance of an organized and clean kitchen. It’s the heart of the home. A place you spend a great deal of time. And during these last few months of quarantine, I’m sure you spent more time there than you planned to.
Today I’m diving a little deeper into why an organized and clean kitchen is key to your sanity. Did you know studies have shown clutter and mess can trigger stress hormones to rise?!
I don’t know about you, but knowing that would make me want to clean stat.
I’m not alone here when I say being stuck inside has been a blessing and a curse. More people are organizing and getting their houses in order. But on the other end of the spectrum are those that spent these quarantine days buying more stuff than they know what to do with.
And most of it for the kitchen.
Fear not, my friends. Today’s post is all about decluttering and ditching kitchen overflow.
Decluttering your kitchen
Tackling kitchen overflow can be a daunting task. But you’ll be surprised to find we often buy items because of a fantasy rather than reality. Unless you regularly host wine and cheese parties, do you really need six cheese platters?
The first step to decluttering a kitchen and minimizing overflow is creating piles. Keep. Trash. Recycle. Donate. When sorting through your items, don’t overthink their use. Simply ask yourself this question:
- Have I used this more than once this month?
Believe me, you’re going to surprise yourself with how much will end up in the donate pile.
After sorting through appliances, be sure to check the pantry.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve definitely found long-expired food that’s been pushed all the way to the back. Sometimes we buy an ingredient for a recipe and never use it again. Consider asking a friend if they have what you need rather than buying an entire bottle you’ll only use once.
The main thing you need to remember when organizing your kitchen is how much space do you have to use?
Your main goal is to keep only the essentials in the kitchen. Here’s a helpful image to tell you what those essentials are. Another goal is to make sure you have at least one of each. Do you really need three whisks? No. Donate two of them. Toss anything that’s broken.
If you buy holiday-themed kitchen essentials, store them away with the rest of the decorations. Decorative dishes are okay. But rather than displaying them on your countertop, install a wall shelf and put them there.
When it comes to your kitchen — the heart of your home — you want functional over style. This doesn’t mean you can’t decorate your kitchen. The goal is to not put decorations in the space you use to cook.
Space-making tips and tricks
I hear from a lot of people that the hardest part about organizing a kitchen is the lack of space. If you have a smaller home or apartment, more than likely your kitchen is going to be small. But a small kitchen doesn’t spell immediate doom.
There are many space-making hacks you can try. Some provide more counter space. Others act as double duty. And most involve finding new and inventive ways to store bulky items.
Let’s take a look at some ways you can find more space in your kitchen, no matter its size.
Backsplash. Your kitchen backsplash doesn’t only have to be eye-catching. You can make it useful. Try a stainless steel pegboard for a clean and minimalistic look. Hang your most-used knives and small pots there for easy access.
Folding table. If you can’t fit an island in your kitchen, consider installing a folding table on the wall. Lower it whenever you need extra prepping space. Talk about effective. You can use it to prep food, eat, and work. When it’s not needed, fold it up.
Working untapped space. Around the fridge and corners are the most underused spaces in a kitchen. But with a little innovation, they can become amazing storage zones. Build narrow shelves between the fridge for items such as spices or smaller objects. Install corner shelves for pots, pans, dishes, and more.
Over-the-sink cutting board. Again, if you can’t fit an island, try finding a cutting board the length of your sink. An easy fix when you have little space, you can also rinse what you’re cutting right there.
Utilizing closets. I know how much we’d all love a walk-in pantry, but the majority of us have to make do with what we have. Don’t think you need to store all your food in the kitchen. Look at nearby closets. Can you reorganize any of them to fit some backup food? If you do, make sure you remember to check the expiration dates. Don’t fall into the out of sight, out of mind trap.
It’s a lot to think about so let’s recap everything we just learned. Below is our foolproof checklist. This will make decluttering and organizing your kitchen easy and stress-free.
Kitchen decluttering checklist:
- Gather cleaning supplies.
- Clean one area at a time: remove everything and wipe down inside.
- Separate all items into piles: Keep. Trash. Donate. Recycle.
- Make sure you have at least one working item of each kitchen essential.
- Organize cabinets, drawers, and counters.
- Return items to newer, organized areas.
I mentioned earlier how studies linked stress to clutter. Studies have also revealed stress can be cleared away by the simple act of cleaning.
Yes, decluttering and organizing your kitchen will take time, but consider the benefits. Knowing where everything is each time you start cooking will keep things running smoothly. And the more you get used to putting things away in a designated zone, the more natural it’ll become.
As the heart of the home, your kitchen should represent possibilities. It should represent you and your family.
It’s normal to overbuy; to purchase items you think you’ll need one day. But keeping only the essentials in your kitchen will make for a much more effective space.
And, as always, we here at The Project Neat are here to help. Send us a message and let us assist you in making the kitchen of your organized dreams.