Happy first day of January declutter my friends! Do you have your trash bags all lined up, ready to be filled with trash and donations? Do you have your favorite Pandora station on and playing music that will keep you motivated? I know much of the US is bracing for some nasty weather today and this weekend, so it’s the perfect time to dive in and start decluttering. I’ll share some of the ways I keep a clutter-free kitchen.
I am teaming up again with my friends from No Place Like Home to bring you 8 times the decluttering ideas and motivation.
So, let’s get busy! If you remember, I undertook a MAJOR declutter this time last year. Pop over to this post which is filled with suggestions for clearing out the declutter and where to take your discards.
In a nutshell, I picked up just about every kitchen gadget I owned, laid it out on the counter and really considered it’s usefulness. In doing this, I found some items I thought I had lost, as well as multiples of several items.
By being ruthless in this process, I removed 117 pounds of stuff from my kitchen alone and at the end of the 4 week period we removed a total of 1,330 pounds from our home.
I am pleased to say that at the end of one year, my kitchen is still in good shape and there is really not much to get rid of. By following my rule of ‘When I bring 1 thing into my home I need to remove 1 thing’, I’ve kept duplication and clutter to a minimum and still have a clutter-free kitchen.
However, there are two areas that I really didn’t do a deep dive on last year that I will pick up on this year as they both have helped me keep my pantry orderly:
- For the most part, I keep my pantry stocked with staples that have multiple uses, as opposed to single-use items.
I don’t buy many prepared meals, dressings, baking mixes, spice mixes, etc… I grew up with a mom and grandma who made everything from scratch, so I’ve always gone that route.
This keeps my pantry free of cake mixes, biscuit mixes, brownie mixes, salad dressings, taco seasonings, etc… I always have flour, sugar and baking soda/powder on hand and can make just about every baking mix with those ingredients. I always have olive and vinegar, so I can quickly mix up a salad dressing.
Not only does this method keep my pantry down to the basic staples, but I also avoid all the preservatives that so many of these prepared items need for their extended shelf life.
You can find recipes to DIY just about any prepared mix out there, but here are a few sites that I use as resources:
- The Kitchn is one of my go-to’s for many recipes.
- The Organic Authority has posted a list of DIY dry baking mix recipes here.
- My favorite taco seasoning is this one by Alton Brown...except I omit the salt.
- I rarely use mayonnaise, so when I do need it, it makes more sense for me to make a little bit instead of buying a whole jar of it and have it just sit in my fridge for months until it goes bad and I throw it away.
2. I probably have an unhealthy attraction to storage containers, boxes, vessels and such, but I use them to keep my pantry organized. My ‘functional aesthestics’ motto follows my thinking that I am more likely to keep an area clean and organized if I like the way it looks. I have a whole post on snazzy organization ideas and styles, that goes beyond the kitchen if you want to check out more ideas for storage containers.
‘I have too many wine crates and wire baskets’ said no one, ever! These wine crates in my pantry hold smaller, similar items that would otherwise be getting lost or getting in the way.
One box holds bags of dried fruit, one box holds bags of my oriental pasta, one holds my boxes of aluminum foil, parchment paper,etc…and one holds some of my unused canning jars.
I was lucky enough to be given one of my boxes from a friend who owns a lovely restaurant and the others I found by calling and asking local wine stores.
So, if you’re looking for wine crates to help control your kitchen clutter, call your restaurant friends and local wine stores; Etsy also has some.
I found the wire baskets at Walmart…a much better deal than I could find elsewhere. These are similar.
For your convenience, this post contains affiliate links to products I use, love and highly recommend. If you purchase any product through this site, I may be compensated, but you do not pay one penny more. You can see my full disclosure policy here.
My pantry has a beautiful, old door with a glass panel, so letting it get messy is really not an option.
But man oh man, do I love this pantry door! It makes keeping my pantry neat so very worth it.
Pin this to your ‘organizing ideas’ board!
So remember at the beginning of the post when I said: ” My kitchen is still in good shape”? Well, there is one rather glaring exception to that statement…my table linens have been a hot mess for quite some time.
So, I extended my kitchen organization to my adjacent dining room this weekend to tackle them.
I am a collector of linens; a habit started by my grandmother and reinforced by my mom. I grew up in a paperless kitchen and have carried that into my own kitchen.
As such, I am always on the lookout for lovely cloth napkins, tablecloths and dish towels and have accumulated quite an assortment of all of them.
I have tablecloths that my grandmother embroidered and tablecloths that my mom purchased for me on her travels overseas.
I have napkins that I purchase on my travels, napkins I made and napkins that were gifted to me.
But all these beautiful linens have been stuffed in drawers and lodged in cabinets resulting in a wrinkled hodgepodge of napkins and tablecloths.
I employed the methods I used last year of taking all the linens out of the cabinet to examine them for their condition and to decide if they were something I still wanted to use. I did discard a couple of dated runners and repaired a small tear in one of the tablecloths in the process.
It was clear that my tablecloths would fare better and I would probably not need to iron them every time I wanted to use them if I hung them up instead of keeping them folded in the drawers. Plus that would clear up tons of space in my drawers for my burgeoning napkin collection.
Kate and I measured each of my tablecloths and runners and I created labels so that now I know exactly what I have.
I folded 4″ by 6″ cardstock in half, cut a little half oval at the fold, wrote down the details and attached it a hanger.
Now all my tablecloths are organized and I can easily see what I have!
I’m so excited about this little organizational coup
And now my napkins have room to breath!
Interested in More Decluttering or Organizing Posts?
- Catch up on all 4 weeks of the Unclutter Your Nest Bootcamp here:
- Other Decluttering and Organizing Posts:
Pin this to your organization board!
So, what is your problem area in your kitchen? I’m telling you, the best advice I can give you is to just dive in, pull open your drawers and examine each and everything.
Do you use it? Does it bring you joy? If you can’t say ‘absolute’, then it’s time to pass it on to someone who will use it and to whom it will bring joy.
Remember this quote by William Morris as you start your declutter process:
“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”
Thanks for stopping by to visit today, I appreciate you more than you’ll ever know. And when you leave a comment…ah, it makes my heart sing!
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Until next time,