Unclutter Your Nest 2017: a clutter-free kitchen
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.
I also make liberal use of labeled large jars and glass hinge-top canisters for my beans, rice, and grains.
Inexpensive wire baskets with adhesive bookplates/label holders corral all my small pantry items, which are mostly my baking supplies like sprinkles, extracts, food coloring, pastry bags/tips, etc…
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:
Week 1: Bedrooms and Bathrooms
Week 2: Kitchen and Craft/Office Space
Week 3: Den/Living Room/Play Room/Coat Closet/Laundry Room
- Other Decluttering and Organizing Posts:
Where to Donate and Recycle Your Discards
Freezer and Refrigerator Organization that Works
Personalized Kitchen Drawer Organization
Organizing and Storage Ideas for an Uncluttered Bathroom
Organized Closets and Cabinets
Organized Office and Craft Room
Clutter-Free Kitchen and Organized Linen Storage
Technology and Digital Declutter Ideas – Week 1
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,
Your pantry doors are amazing! I love the overall look of your pantry and the items you use to organize all your items. We must have the same ‘condition’! I am drawn to pretty containers and also believe creating a pretty space will help me keep it clean in the long run. It works my friend!
Hi friend and thanks for sharing some pantry door love. I am going to miss those door when we sell this house. And our affinity for pretty containers is a good thing…right? I know it helps me keep stuff controlled in my home.
Have a great weekend!
I have been decluttering quite a bit since around October, but I still have a long ways to go. My focus right now is the walk in closet in our guest room that has been a dumping ground for craft supplies, bedding, and anything else that didn’t seem to have a place in our house. It could take a while. But, I’m still working on the rest of the house as well.
Good Morning Sue, I am settling in to work on my craft supplies/office this morning as well! I redid my office this year and just shoved supplies and stuff in the closet and today is the day of reckoning! But it is so very cathartic…I’m very much looking forward to diving in to it.
Wishing you much success with your project…snap a picture and share it with us for the chance to win the $150 The Container Store gift card!
I’ve become an “old hand” at organizing and decluttering. 🙂 A little over a year ago, I went from a crowded, large 2 bedroom apartment with walk-in closet, lots of spare closet space…and I moved into a small one bedroom studio. My “empty nest” years. My kitchen now has empty shelves! Lots of food, but no extra sets of dishes, or obscure serving bowls that I never used. So liberating!
Cindy, that sounds lovely!!! There is that saying that goes something like, “the more things you own the more they own you.” and it’s so true. Sounds like you are fairly free from all that! And you don’t spend your valuable time tending all those possessions. Well done you! I am not quite there yet…but slowly working that way.
Wishing you a lovely weekend.
I love seeing the way you have organized your pantry Lynn, and love the way you hung your tablecloths! I can’t imagine a paperless kitchen, but I do admire you for it! Your pantry looks awesome!
Hey Nicki…once you go the paperless route is really is quite easy. In all honesty, I keep a roll of paper towels in my laundry room for certain accidents that happen, but that roll will last months! My mom saw my post and now she wants me to go over and organize her linens the same way! Makes it so easy to see what you have.
Have a great weekend my friend,
Organizing the pantry is on my list, so this was inspiring. Thanks!
Hi Towanda, I am so glad I might have inspired you a wee bit. Go find some wine crates…they make it so easy. I don’t know where you live, but it’s a cold nasty weekend where I am and so a perfect uncluttering day!
Good Luck with it and enjoy your weekend.
Lynn, I love your idea for storing your table linens! I’ve acquired quite a few in the last couple of years, and they’re all folded up, so I forget about them. It looks like you have some really gorgeous linens by the way! Oh, and your pantry door is gorgeous!
Hey there Robin, I’m quite tickled with my tablecloth organization…now my mom wants me to pop over and do hers as well! (Which I will gladly do of course!) So, I’m not surprised to find that we share a love for linens, we seem to be step with lots of those kinds of things.
And I do love my pantry…maybe one of my favorite things in my home.
What great ideas Lynn! I’m in a tiny rental house with limited storage. This is going to help a lot. After almost getting smashed by Halloween tombstones last weekend while trying to put away Christmas decorations, this couldn’t come at a better time!
Hey Mindy, you made me laugh! The image I have of getting smashed by Halloween tombstones while putting away Christmas decoration is a hoot…I trust you didn’t suffer any permanent damage…other than the urge to declutter.
Good luck with your unclutter!
We are so much alike. When I was newly married I thought if I didn’t have a pkg of chili mix, I couldn’t make chili. I now make everything from scratch. I love you tablecloth solution.
Hey Sherry…no doubt that everything is better made from scratch! And it makes my pantry so much more orderly! And I’m pretty tickled with my tablecloth organization as well…makes it so easy to find what I want, without the wrinkles.
Have a great day my friend.
Lynn, I love your pantry door! Is it something you recently found and added or was it there when you bought your house? Very stunning! I’ve always stored our tablecloths on hangers in a closet, but never thought of putting labels on the hangers. Great idea! Also, thank you for listing those resources! I always cook and bake from scratch. Hugs to you, my friend!
I’m in love with your pantry! So beautiful. That door is perfect. Great tips for organizing.
Thanks so much Lindsay…it is truly one of my favorite features of our home. We found it in a salvage store and refinished it, but the glass is still original…very thin and wavy. I’m really surprised that it’s survived my 17-year old pantry raiding son!
Have a great weekend.
I really like the way you have done your tablecloths. Mine are also in a bureau with my napkins and assorted other linens. I have room in the closet in the same room as the bureau. I will need to look into finding the large hangers. Thank you for the idea.
Good Sunday Morning Terri Sue!
I am telling you that I am thrilled with that tablecloth organization…I go in and open the closet and lovingly gaze at my well-organized and wrinkle free tablecloths! I really think it will encourage me to use them more since it will be easier to see what I have and easier to access them. My mom called me yesterday and wants me to come over and organize hers that way! Of course, I will.
I did have some large hangers from the dry cleaners (you may want to call and see if they will give/sell you some), but when I ran out of those, I just used regular wire hangers with the cardboard tube on the bottom.
Good luck with it!
Your pantry is really pretty and I´d love one just like that! I am pretty organized and declutter all the time due to our lack of storage, but I still have stuff piling up here and there! I should really tackle my tiny cupboards and get some stuff out of there! Have a good one Lynn and enjoy! Decluttering is like therapy, hey?
Good Morning my friend, yes…decluttering is therapy! Can be rather painful going through it but so worth it in the end.
And I love that pantry too…I will so miss it when we move. In fact, I’ve considered taking the door with us so that I can replicate it whatever house we move in to.
Thanks for coming by to visit my friend.
Have a great day.
I love this! I really want to downsize to a tiny house one day so I purge regularly. I really love that you have a paper-free kitchen! And your linens organization with the hangers is a great idea 😀
A Tiny Home! Wow…I admire that lifestyle and it seems one that would fit you and your outdoor lifestyle perfectly. Truthfully, my paperfree kitchen is such a non-issue in my home. Just a wee bit of adjustment time, and then it just becomes ‘what it is’.
I’m actually in your neck of the woods right now! Looks like the remaining snow will melt today
Have a great day.
Agreed! Once you get used to a paper-free kitchen it seems so easy 🙂 I hope you are having fun in the area! There’s still one big pile of snow in the middle of the parking lot at my office, but other than that it seems to have melted.
I am going to declutter my bedroom & kitchen this weekend!
Good Morning Tiffany and good luck to you. You will be so very glad when you are done. I am happy to say that my home stayed fairly well uncluttered over the past year, thanks to all my work last year. I do have a few areas that I am looking forward to tackling soon and will document them on my post in the next week.
This week I’m all about my craft room/office…So very happy with the progress I made there.
Hey, make sure you enter our giveaway for the $150 gift card from The Container Store! I know you can find some great things for your declutter! You can find the entry at the bottom of this post.
Thanks for leaving a comment! I look forward to hearing about your progress.
Have a great day.
For us, it’s time to declutter the whole house but more specifically the master bedroom and the kitchen!
Hi Ashley, those are two rooms that really can end up cluttered so quickly. The kitchen, well because there are just so many great gadgets out there! I am a complete sucker for anything that Williams-Sonoma sells, which is one reason I had to quit working there! And for us, the Master Bedroom became the dumping ground for stuff we didn’t know what else to do with! Because no one but us ever really goes into our room, it was easy to just dump…(truth time…my Christmas wrapping stuff is still sitting in my Master!)
Anyway (except for the Christmas Paper…which I have just shamed myself into doing something about!), by taking out all the excess clothing and stuff, our room really stays neat.
Good luck to you and your process! And make sure you enter to win the $150 Gift Card to the Container Store!
We are moving across the country in about 8 short weeks! This was a last-minute decision and now I am knee deep in things that I don’t want to move with. This week I am working on clothes. My fiancee and I put a large dent in things tonight and have several bags for donations but there are seasonal totes in the basement still to go. After that it will be going through our respective collections of various baubles. I love these organizational posts that you do! They serve as excellent motivation for me.
Hi Claire…Oh I don’t envy you right now, but you will be so much happier (and lighter) when it is all done! And I’m with you, moving is the greatest declutter motivator on the planet. With the clothes, it was so helpful to pull EVERYTHING out of the closet, hold it up and really decide whether it was worth hanging back up (and in your case, packing and then unpacking!).
Good luck to you! And I’m so glad that these posts might be helpful. It’s comments like yours that keep me going!
My resolution is to become more organized. I have always struggled with clutter. I hope to have a success story soon.
I know you can do it Dawn! It is so much easier to be organized when you have fewer things to keep organized. That declutter process I went through has been so helpful and I haven’t once, over the past year, said to myself ‘Rats, I wish I hadn’t gotten rid of that!’
Good Luck…and make sure you set a reward for yourself at the end, in addition to the reward of a less cluttered and more organized home.
I’d love to hear your success story!
I am decluttering my linen closet and coat closet.
Hey Kristen, how is your decluttering going? I am getting ready to start on my cabinets and closets in my Laundry Room…that area is such a clutter magnet. But, since I really went through it heavily last year, this year will be much easier.
I’m hoping to declutter our spare room this week. It’s become such a catch-all, I need to unload so many things!
Hi Tamra, how is your declutter going? I know about having one of those catch all rooms! But once you get rid of all that declutter and find a place for everything that you decide to keep, then it really helps to keep those piles down. That declutter I did last year really has lasted well into this year!
Good luck to you and pop back and let me know how you are doing! I know you will rock it!
I will be decluttering all the cabinets in the hallway
Hi Sarah! How is your decluttering going? It is so cathartic to have that done. I have found that since I did that one big clutter last year, it’s much easier to keep my clutter under control. I’d be lying if I said I never have ‘clutter’ piles, but they are much easier to deal with now.
Good luck with it and pop back in and let me know how you are progressing.
I am decluttering my bedroom.
Hey Thomas! How is the decluttering going? I know that after that big declutter I did last year, it is much easier to keep my piles dealt with. Not to say that little piles don’t pop up, but I can easily dispense with them. I’d love to hear how you are doing. Pop back in and let me know your progress.
Wow, your kitchen looks so organized Lynn! I especially like how your are hanging your tablecloths. I keep mine in my dining room hutch and they get so wrinkled in there. I think I am going to start hanging them from now on!
Thanks Tara…hanging those tablecloths makes SUCH a difference! Nothing is wrinkled and it’s easy to see what I have. Thanks for visiting.
Although your site was very hard to read with just a few lines showing between all the ads I did enjoy it. I was hoping you were going to tell us where you hung the table cloths. I am very organized but the table cloth thing has me flummoxed. Right now they are living in a large deep drawer in my kitchen that I would rather use for something else.
Also, you must not live in the south – can’t imagine making mayo everytime I want a sandwich.
I do apologize for the ads. They are a necessary evil to keep the blog afloat, akin to ads in magazines I guess.
As it relates to the tablecloths…when I first hung them, I used the bar in our coat closet…just moved over the coats. We have since moved and our new home has a smaller coat closet. So, we added a bar in a closet under the stairs, just using these heavy duty support brackets https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B074DM3RN7/ and a rod. It is working perfectly.
I do hope this helps!
Many hugs, Lynn
Hi Lynn. While we’ve used cloth napkins for years when we have company, we’ve been using paper napkins for everyday use. And while we compost them, reading your post convinced me to use cloth napkins for every day use: and lucky me! I found linen napkins which had never been used at our local thrift shop for 50 cents each. They are so much nicer than any paper napkin. Thanks so much for the reminder: these are useful and beautiful.
You are so welcome Mary! And how brilliant of you to find those linen napkins for .50! I clearly need to check my thrift store as my inventory is beginning to look a bit ragged. I know folks are hesitant because they think washing them is extra work, but I just toss them in with my regular loads and it becomes a quick job to fold them. I can’t imagine going back to paper napkins now.
Thanks for your comment! Have a wonderful day, my friend.