Clutter in the kitchen just like everywhere else tends to accumulate over time.
I like to utilise every possible space I can find in my house. As I seldom cook, I tend to hoard some of my kitchen space for other items like camera boxes and IT accessories. I know. It’s the least likely space to store them but I can’t help it; I’m a victim of senseless hoarding. I reckon I’ve my late grandfather’s hoarding genes; I like to hold on to things for fear that I might need them in future. Usually that doesn’t happen. Because I’d always forget that I’ve had them in the first place. So, they end up forgotten and abandoned.
Clutter in the kitchen builds up the same way as any other room in the house. Kitchen clutter is best kept to a minimum because the kitchen is where cooking is done and in some cases where people partake of their food. Therefore a cluttered kitchen could be unsightly and less than hygienic setting for a person consuming his or her meal. It is all the more so when the clutter is not hidden inside the cabinets but displayed on full view outside. When there’s clutter, the room is prone to household pests like houseflies and crawlies, leading to more efforts to maintain the cleanliness of the place. What are some ways then to de-clutter a kitchen already bursting at the seams, and make it more conducive for healthy living?
Take a step back
Before you begin to unravel the place, take a step back and plan your workflow in the kitchen. Evaluate your current placement of tools, pots and pans and consider if that’s the best place to store them. Does it facilitate your cooking and cleaning? Perhaps when you’ve first started storing things, you’ve not put much thought to their storage. Now you’ve a chance to improve the flow. What are some of the things you need less often? Baking accessories? Is there an uppermost shelf you can store them? Take note of your requirements and have an idea where is good to house them.
Is storage sufficient?
Is storage enough? Could you maximise it by acquiring more storage help like containers, baskets, hanging shelves, kitchen racks, and more? Do you need more tiered shelving for those detergents and cleaners and is there a better way to organise them? Find better and modern ways to store your kitchen supplies from many household stores like Ikea, Howard Storage Solutions, and King & King Wong.
Step by step
Breaking the job into manageable tasks I find is much easier than undertaking the entire de-cluttering exercise in one go. Consider approaching the de-cluttering in phases, say cabinet by cabinet and shelving by shelving. Dedicate half an hour after work to clear your cabinets with your cleaning cloth and mild detergent; you’d probably finish the work in a week. Of course, there’re some who prefer to dirty their hands in just one setting. Do what works best.
Ready the carton box and trash bag
Sometimes it’s easy to decide whether a kitchen item should stay or go for example the packet of MYOGO maggie noodles that is past its use date. However there’re some items that are not that clean-cut: the tea-set that my aunt gave me is still pristine and nicely packed in the box never mind that I hardly drink tea nor would serve my guests with them. Or the juice-blender free gift we got from who-knows-where that is still untouched in the cabinet. The thing is, they’re new and sometimes these are gifts given by well-meaning friends and relatives during gatherings or house warming parties; what if they were to ask of these presents they gave us later? Must we then hoard them as proof of our loyalty?
I suppose if you’ve no use of it now, you’d have no use of it 10 years down the road. However if you’re undecided, put them into a carton box and place them in the store room. Make a note to revisit them half a year later (if you run out of space again) or during the next de-cluttering exercise. If still no use for it, then consider giving it away to friends or donate it to the Salvation Army. And next time, ask for shopping vouchers instead.
To maximise the cabinet space, buy tiered shelving or racks and drawing dividers; you can store more things. Group similar items together to facilitate easy reach; if you seldom cook but you’ve opened your pack of condiments or sauce, make sure the expiry date is clearly shown or label them so that you won’t have a chance to use them past their expiry. Store the less frequented used items on the topmost shelf; label their expiry dates if necessary.
Get rid of multiples
I’m sometimes guilty of buying multiple gadgets and objects. Take table knives and wine openers for example. Of course unless we plan to open many bottles of wine (in one go) at a really big party then having a few openers would come in handy. Otherwise oftentimes, just one will suffice. This applies to other kitchen items. Do we really need the toaster oven when the microwave one will do the job? If you don’t have the need for it, keeping it simple is the way to keeping your kitchen clutter-free.
Free the counter top
A sure-fire way to create clutter is when we place them on the table. Naturally when we cook, we’ve no choice. However the counter top should be cleared out after cooking and cleaning. Keep the pots and pans inside the cabinets or hang them on pot racks (if you must else I prefer to have them hidden inside). Similarly for washed dishes, after airing them, dry them with a clean cloth and put them back into the cabinet. This might be impractical for some heavy cooks but making it a practice to keep the pots, plates, and utensils would free the counter space, keeping it neat, clean, and tidy.