Often referred to as the hub of the home, most kitchens get a good workout every day, especially with growing kids to keep fed and happy. With a limited amount of space available, cupboards, pantry’s and bench tops can start to overflow quickly. De-cluttering the kitchen is a top priority!

As organising the kitchen can seem like a big job, especially when you have to stop part way through your organising to cook a meal, plan to tackle this room over a period of days. Each day choose a single section and try to finish it.

As with the two rooms we’ve already worked on, we follow the same procedure to declutter the kitchen.

De-cluttering the kitchen

First, clear the decks or the countertop in this case. There is no point in starting to organise a cupboard or the panty if you have nowhere to put things, so address the clutter on the countertop first.

Kitchen countertops are a magnet for paperwork, mail, newspapers, kids lunchboxes and artwork etc.

Where possible try to find another more appropriate home for such items i.e. mail and paperwork should go into the study/office, kids artwork should go in their rooms or on the fridge if you wish to display it. Mail should be opened and dealt with straight away.

If you’re quite happy with the kitchen remaining the collection point for these types of items, then I suggest you purchase a plastic or cane tray that can sit neatly on the bench and act as a catch all. Simply by putting it in a tray, will prevent it from creeping across all the available bench space.

Next you should tackle the pantry, as this can usually be organised quite quickly, and the end result will hopefully give you the motivation and enthusiasm to continue on.

Pull out everything from the pantry and put it on the bench top. At this stage we recommend giving your shelves a good clean – it can be surprising how much dust and grime can build up in our pantry over time.

Remember to make sure your shelves are completely dry before putting food back as you can get packets sticking to shelves and canned goods will leave rust marks behind if they are put back onto a wet surface.

As you return the food to the panty check the expiry dates. You’ll be surprised at how much stuff has gone past its use by date!

Put like things with like i.e, group all baking items together and all rice and pasta items together. Place the packaging so the front is facing out, this way you can see what you have at a glance.

Next, tackle the fridge, and repeat exactly the same procedure as for the pantry.

As you move your way through the other kitchen cupboards, you’ll need to take a good look at what you have. Throw out anything that’s broken or that you just don’t use. Or better yet, donate items that you don’t use to friends or family or the Salvation Army.

If you want to be really brutal with your clean out, get rid of anything that doesn’t match – you know what we mean – odd wedding presents, or hand me downs from your mother, mother in-law or your aunt!

This cull also applies to things like cleaning products, cookbooks, recipes etc – anything that lives in the kitchen.

Repeat this process with every section. Pull everything out, clean out the cupboard and replace items – but only those that are worth keeping!

Place appliances, pots and pans, dishes and utensils closest to their most frequent point of use i.e. put pots and pans in the cupboard closest to the stove.

This helps create zones or one-stop centres to make coffee, wash dishes, cook or serve a meal

Everyday items need to be easily accessible, so make sure they are either on the bench top i.e. toaster and jug or at the front of a cupboard. Items that you don’t use everyday ie. breadmaker or slowcooker should go to the back of the cupboard.

It’s a good idea to keep all your warranties and instruction manuals together. If you have the room in your kitchen, I suggest that you allocate a drawer specifically for this otherwise they should be put in a separate file in the office/study.

So that’s your big task to crack this week. Go to it and don’t hold back with the throwing out!

Remember, this is one area that we need to pay particular attention to. Unlike the other rooms, where we suggest one sweep a day, the kitchen really needs 2 sweeps a day to remain uncluttered. We also suggest replacing and reorganising the fridge and pantry each time you shop.

A little de-clutter each day, goes a long way.

Check out Clear room, clear mind: Clearing the clutter in 7 areas of your life for the rest of this great series.

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