Having a clean and clutter free kitchen is one of the most satisfying feelings when it comes to your minimalist and decluttered home. We know how good it feels, but how do you actually organize and declutter your kitchen?
It’s not as complicated or as overwhelming as you might think. In fact, you can have a kitchen that is much less cluttered and feels far more clean and functional in less than a few hours.
A lot of these simple sets are overlooked, and can quickly make your kitchen feel less cluttered and help you feel less overwhelmed.
Before You Start
Before you start cleaning and decluttering your kitchen, have a think about how you want your kitchen to feel, what functionalities you want, and how your kitchen fits in your day to day lives.
For example, is there a section of your kitchen that ends up being the ‘dump zone’? If so, how can you make this area work better and feel less cluttered?
Also, think about how you use the space you have at the moment? We often feel like we need more storage space, when in fact, what we really need is to use the space we have more efficiently.
Then start with the obvious. The first step to decluttering is to throw away garbage, and let’s be honest – your kitchen likely has a lot of it.
Before you consider whether your oven mitts spark joy, get rid of these items that you definitely don’t need to keep around.
After you’ve gotten rid of these obvious clutter culprits, you’ll have an easier time truly decluttering.
Set aside a weekend to take back your kitchen – you deserve to have a clean, clutter-free space to cook and eat in!
Remove The Items That Add Clutter and Mess
1 – Remove Rotting Food
Whether they realize it or not, most people keep expired food in their kitchen.
Before you dig through your pantry for your out-of-date goods, get rid of food that is clearly spoiled or rotting. Even if the “best by” date says it’s still good, you’re not going to eat food that looks terrible!
Prepare a separate garbage bag for these items so you can take it outside ASAP.
As you’re going through, make a note of the items you have in your pantry, fridge, and freezer. This can help you when you’re meal planning and can help you to use the items you have.
Also, take not of how you store your items. Can you see the items you have clearly? Can you organize them in a way that displays what you have better? Can you move items that need to be used sooner to the front of the cupboard/fridge?
2 – Remove Empty Bags
Do you have dozens of empty grocery bags in your kitchen cabinets? Do you actually reuse them? If not, they’re just taking up space.
You may be able to free up a whole cabinet by getting rid of your bag collection!
If you were using them for grocery shopping, consider buying an inexpensive reusable bag – many grocery stores sell them, and they’re sturdier than disposable plastic.
If you’re on a roll and super keen to declutter, grab those plastic bags and do a pass through your home (set a 30 minute timer) and fill them with clutter and things you no longer need.
You’ll be amazed at how much clutter you can clear in 30 minutes.
3 – Remove Empty/Near Empty Containers
Take a peek at your fridge door – do your condiment containers have anything left in them?
If you’re saving near-empty containers to prevent wasting the tiny bit at the bottom, it’s time to break that habit and throw them away.
To prevent holding onto these last few bits in a container in the future, when you realise a condiment is getting low, add a note to your meal plan to make a meal that includes this condiment.
This way you’re not wasting items and you’re rocking your meal plan.
Other common culprits for clutter include ice cream, cookies, and flour, so check the freezer and cabinets for more empty food items.
4 – Up Your Recycling Game
If your recycling bins are overflowing with bottles and cans, now is the perfect time to dispose of them.
While you’re at it, make sure your recyclables land in their designated spot in the first place. There’s no reason to let bottles and cans accumulate in your home – get rid of them regularly to reduce clutter.
You can also take note of the items you buy that have a high waste rate. Do you buy items that come wrapped in single use plastics? Or have a ton of packaging.
Small changes make big impacts, so the next time you go grocery shopping, think about the items you’re buying and how they contribute to the clutter and waste in your kitchen.
5 – Remove Loose Napkins and Paper Towels
Did you forget to throw away your napkins after you used them?
Check your kitchen for loose napkins, paper towels, and other paper goods that have been left out.
Some things are not worth reusing!
You should also get rid of empty paper towel rolls before replacing them.
Check your paper towel rack, trash area, and cabinets to make sure you’ve thrown them all out.
6 – Dispose of Spoiled Food
Even if you don’t think they’re spoiled, refrigerated items that were left out on your counter should be thrown away.
This is particularly important for meat and dairy products.
Once cold food hits room temperature, it’s no longer safe to eat. For that reason, anything left out for over 4 hours without a temperature check should be discarded, too.
Similarly, frozen items that were left out to melt shouldn’t be kept around, either. Who wants refrozen ice cream, anyway?
Check to see if you have any questionable food that needs to be disposed of if it’s not safe to consume.
7 – Throw Away Receipts from the Grocery Store
Some people hold onto their grocery store receipts to get cash back, but there’s no reason to keep them once you’ve uploaded them to your preferred app.
If you’re not seeking rebates, you can even throw your receipts out immediately after unpacking your groceries.
The chances of you returning a food item you bought weeks ago are slim to none, and you can always donate unwanted food instead.
If you’re keen to keep coupons to help you with your grocery budget, have a designated coupon space. A pouch or folder can help you keep all of your coupons in one spot without adding to the clutter.
8 – Throw Away Overused Sponges & Dishcloths
Are your dish sponges falling apart? If so, chuck them in the trash bin.
They’re not going to clean your dishes well, and they’re likely carrying bacteria from previous uses.
While you should be changing out your sponges every 2-4 weeks, you also shouldn’t let old sponges accumulate.
Therefore, you should toss old sponges when you buy new ones, even if they’re technically still usable.
If the thought of throwing your sponges away this often makes you cringe, then make the switch to reusable dishcloths and sponges that can be washed and reused.
9 – Recycle Old Newspapers, Magazines & Catalogues
If someone in your family reads the newspaper over coffee, you may notice a pile of old papers on your kitchen table.
We often keep things like newspapers with the idea that we will use them around our home or may need them for packaging in the future, but all this does is add to the clutter we have now.
While you’re on the recycling path, grab any old magazines and catalogues you find lying around too.
If there are parts of a magazine you want to keep, tear that page out and add it to a folder, then toss the rest or donate them to an animal shelter.
10 – Declutter Unimportant Papers
Everyone has a spot in their home that’s accumulating bills, statements, and mail you never intend to read.
Shred any documents you no longer need and store important papers somewhere safe – just get them out of your kitchen!
If any papers do belong in your kitchen (like recipes), place them in a folder to keep somewhere easily accessible, but not on your tables or countertops. Otherwise, you’ll likely lose them or encourage another pile of clutter.
11 – Remove Full Trash Bags
If your trash cans weren’t already full before you began throwing things away, they likely will be when you’re done.
Whether you have one full bag or three, don’t let them sit on your kitchen floor!
Consider decluttering on your neighborhoods trash day so you won’t forget to take the bags out.
12 – Remove Condiment Packets
You know how every time you order in, the restaurant gives you more sauce and condiment packets. Why are you collecting them?
It’s time to toss out the hot sauce, ketchup, and salt packets that you’ll probably forget you saved until you’re done eating anyway.
Clear Your Cupboards
Now you’ve taken care of the smaller declutter items that you wouldn’t normally think of, it’s time to tackle your cupboards.
Decluttering your kitchen cupboards is very much a personal thing, but here are some tips to get you started:
- Remove anything that’s broken
- Get rid of containers that have no lids (so frustrating)
- Remove double ups and excess
- Remove serving ware you never use
- Toss rusty items
- Remove anything you no longer want or use
You don’t have to just throw these things out. Items that are in good repair can be sold on Facebook Marketplace, or donate them to local services that help people get on their feet and their homes set up.
Clean Your Clear Space
Now you’ve decluttered your kitchen, it’s time to clean your space. Having a clean kitchen feels absolutely amazing, but when you’re standing in front of it all, it can be difficult to know where to start.
Use these tips for a simple but effective way to clean your kitchen:
- Start by filling your kitchen sink with hot, clean, soapy water.
- Grab some cleaning cloths and supplies and have them ready
- Spray cleaner on your oven so it soaks while you clean the rest of the kitchen
- Remove items from your fridge one shelf at a time, clean that shelf and return the items
- Move all small appliances off the benches and wipe down benches, backsplash, and underside of upper cupboards
- As you place small appliances back onto the benches (or put them away if possible) wipe them over with a clean cloth
- Wipe down all the fronts of kitchen cupboards and handles
- Wipe over the outside of the fridge and dishwasher
- Wipe over the kickboards/baseboards
- Wipe down/clean the stove top
- Clean the oven and wipe over the front of it
- Vacuum and mop
It seems like such a big cleaning list, but with some of these items only taking a few minutes, this deep clean is going to help your kitchen to feel absolutely amazing.
Organize Your Kitchen
Once you’ve decluttered and cleaned your space, the next step is to orgnaize it!
Organizing your kitchen can be a little overwhelming so to help you out, focus on these areas:
- Make a plan and choose where to start
- Lay everything out (declutter again if you need to)
- Use storage ideas to help organize your kitchen utensils and your pantry (like these kitchen organization ideas here)
- Remember to organize the junk drawer
- Focus on function over form – just because things look pretty doesn’t mean they’re functional
- Make sure everything has a place
Decluttering, organizing, and cleaning a space can be energy and time-consuming.
Instead of trying to get rid of everything at once, clear your kitchen in steps so you can pace yourself and mark your progress.
No matter how overwhelming your kitchen feels, following these action steps will help you to create a kitchen space that makes you feel right at home.