January 6, 2020

How to Declutter the Kitchen

I think that decluttering the kitchen is probably the most difficult room to declutter because there are so many aspects and functions in the kitchen. When a kitchen works well and efficiently, you don’t notice it nearly as clearly as when it isn’t working well. My challenge to you is to do a complete and thorough job in the kitchen this week – not only will you benefit from a decluttered kitchen but you’ll be able to immediately feel the affects in your days moving forward. Make the time, move as quickly as you can, and be ruthless with what you allow to stay.

If you haven’t printed out the Declutter Order Checklist, make sure you keep reading and do that. Before you do anything this week, it might be helpful for you to figure out when you’re going to do the tasks. I use my Homekeeping Planner but you can write it on the checklist, in a calendar, on a scratch sheet fo paper. I find it really helpful to block out when I’m going to do specific tasks. This helps me break it down into manageable tasks and steps and so I don’t get overwhelmed.

Throughout the month of January we will be following this free printable – Clean Mama’s Declutter Order (also found in The Clutter Handbook) as our guide. I’ll be posting on Mondays with a couple bonus posts for the week ahead. Make sure you’re following me on Instagram for behind the scenes progress in our home!

If you’re ready for decluttering but not quite sure where to start, I have a simple method to make a lot of progress in a short period of time. Ready?

Here are your steps to a decluttered kitchen:

STEP 1: CLEAN + CLEAR COUNTERS

  • Remove everything from your counters and place everything on your kitchen table or another surface.
  • Wipe the counters down with warm soapy water and a bar mop towel or sponge. Take a look at what WAS on the counters and quickly evaluate if everything gets to return or if there might be a better place for anything that’s on the counters. Use the KEEP, TOSS, DONATE, RELOCATE Declutter Station bins that you set up.
  • Return items to your counters.

STEP 2: EMPTY, PURGE, CLEAN REFRIGERATOR + FREEZER
Divide this task up or do it all together – I think it’s easier to do the fridge and then the freezer. The process is similar except for the freezer, I use a barely damp bar mop towel to wipe clean, not the water/soap mixture.

  • Empty the fridge/freezer – take everything out and check dates and decide if there is anything that you aren’t going to use. Bring your garbage can over to the fridge if you need to.
  • Put items that will return to the fridge/freezer categories: fruit, veggies, beverages, leftovers, meal prep, condiments (I separate these by savory and sweet), dairy – whatever makes sense for your family.
  • Remove drawers and shelves if needed/possible – bring them to the sink and wash or wipe clean and thoroughly dry.

QUICK TIP: If you cannot figure out how to remove a shelf or drawer, do a quick internet search – you can usually find a YouTube video of someone showing how to do it.

  • Wipe the refrigerator/freezer down – REFRIGERATOR: I use a bowl with a drop of Castile soap and warm water – if the fridge is stinky I’ll add a sprinkle (a teaspoon or so) of baking soda to the water/soap mixture.
    FREEZER: I use a barely damp bar mop towel to wipe clean, not the water/soap mixture.
  • Vacuum with a CLEAN vacuum cleaner attachment if needed. Wipe the attachment clean with rubbing alcohol before using in the fridge/freezer. This method gets all the crumbs, dog hair, whatever else you find in the crevices and crannies of this appliance.
  • Use a toothpick for tough spots – If you can’t get stuff stuck in the seals or crevices, a toothpick works well. Make sure you are using it almost parallel to the crevice so it doesn’t break off or puncture anything.

QUICK TIP: Moving forward, wipe down your refrigerator weekly as you’re doing a grocery list/menu planning. You’ll be able to maintain your clean fridge status and you won’t have nearly as much food waste. I do this on Friday as part of my Catch-All Day Routine.

STEP 3: CABINETS, DRAWERS, PANTRY, FOOD STORAGE
Depending on how much time you have and your commitment to decluttering, you’re going to want to go through your kitchen cabinets, drawers, and food storage. Make sure your declutter station is nearby and go through everything if you can. 
KEEP – Love it, need it, or use it
TOSS – Recycle or trash
DONATE – Don’t love it, need it or use it but someone else could
RELOCATE – Still love it, use it or need it, but it doesn’t belong here

I used the labels from The Clutter Handbook and attached them with a clothespin to these laundry baskets from IKEA.

STEP 4: KITCHEN TOOLS, SMALL APPLIANCES, TOWELS

Next up? Go through any utensils you haven’t decluttered, small appliances, and kitchen towels. If you have doubles or any tools or small appliances that you haven’t’ used in a while, now is the time to assess what you have and donate or relocate any extras or anything that’s not usable. Go through kitchen towels and repurpose any that are past their prime and use them as cleaning cloths. Fold your towels and arrange your towel drawer in a way that works for you.

Make sure you are completely emptying these spaces and cleaning them out before moving to the next step.

STEP 5: UNDER THE KITCHEN SINK

  • Empty the cupboard under your kitchen sink
  • Put the items in 4 categories: Keep, toss/recycle, donate, relocate.
  • Wipe down the cupboard – consider adding adhesive paper (like Con-tact paper) to the bottom shelf to protect it and make it a little more decorative.
  • Put what’s left into categories and set up containers to keep things in. I use a handled bucket, an upcycled vase for cleaning brushes, a small dish for veggie brushes, and a turntable for kitchen cleaning supplies and cleaners. Use what you have!

This post goes into detail about how I organize under my kitchen sink if you’d like more details. You can find my favorite products in my Clean Mama shop and in my Amazon favorites here – look under the Kitchen section. I’ll be talking more in depth about these areas on Instagram and in the private Facebook group for anyone that purchases The Clutter Handbook as well over the next couple days.

Here’s what you can expect on the blog for the month of January:
January 1 – INTRO – Join the Challenge!
January 2 – Decluttering Quick Start + Cleaning Supplies / Laundry Area
January 6 – Kitchen
January 13 – Bathrooms
January 20 – Clothing + Bedrooms
January 22 – Entertainment + Kids
January 27 – Office Space + Paper Clutter
January 29 – Digital Clutter

What will you GAIN when you declutter?  TIME, LESS STRESS, A CALM + COZY HOME you are excited to come home to!

please note: the Clean Mama Clutter Challenge is free – it is not necessary to purchase the handbook to take part in the challenge but the handbook will definitely help! Grab it now while it’s on sale!

Ready to clear the clutter? I’m SO excited to share The Clutter Handbook with you! It’s updated and ready to help you take on your clutter in a fresh, new way for 2020. The FREE Clean Mama Clutter Challenge through the month of January will be on the blog, Instagram, and in a new private Facebook group (purchase The Clutter Handbook to be in the Facebook group). Grab The Clutter Handbook to take you even more in depth through the challenge!

The Clutter Handbook is a 47-page pdf guide designed to take the guesswork out of decluttering your home. If you’re starting from a room you can’t walk into or just a couple clutter piles, this guide is designed to take you from clutter to decluttered in simple, manageable steps.

The problem with decluttering is not knowing where to start. If you’re just happening on this post, go here first. I have 4 steps to give you a quick start on your decluttering. You’ll gain momentum and be motivated to continue – that’s the best kind of decluttering. Getting rid of the clutter quickly, easily, and while seeing almost instant progress in the early stages.