Thursday, September 15, 2011

Declutter Your Kitchen

For the conscientious homemaker, the kitchen is, for all good purposes, the center of the home. It is where meals are prepared that sustain the family and thrill the guests. With the stresses of modern living, the last thing that one wants is to have to go into a cluttered kitchen. Clutter not only makes it difficult to operate in the kitchen, but also constricts the creative process. For someone wanting to serve up a nice meal, this can lead to a disaster instead. Here are some basic guidelines to make your kitchen clutter-free.

Make the Most of Cabinets and Shelves
Modern apartments tend to be small and the kitchen often gets the least of storage space assigned to it. The solution is to use scientific principles of organizing things. Like most homemakers, you too must be having your own system for organizing your pantry. Apply the same principles here, but more effectively. 
Use the depth of the cabinet to stock similar items. Keep the taller cans, jars and bottles at the back so that they are easily visible. Stack containers on top of each other. Get yourself labels and markers so that you can write what item is in which container. Keep similar items together. You may want to keep all the baking ingredients in one place, all the herbs in one place, and all the outdoor cooking supplies in one place. 

Drawers Can Save Space and Prevent Clutter
Make use of the space under the counter to install drawers. You can have drawers of different heights built so that you can store all kinds of items that you will be needing most frequently while you work. Use partitions to divide your drawers into distinct areas. 

Use Overhead Units for Infrequently Used Items
You can get overhead storage units built if your kitchen does not already have them. These can be used to store items that are not used frequently. If you look around your kitchen you will find many items that only get used on rare occasions but hog up storage all year round. All such items can be kept in these overhead units.

Audit Your Pantry
A common experience for homemakers is to discover forgotten items, packages that have exceeded their use-by date, and remnants of hard-to-identify things. Audit your pantry ruthlessly, and trash all things that are past or close to their use-by date. Throw out everything that you cannot identify. You can also wait till your mother-in-law drops by, so that she gets you to throw them out.

Reclaim the Corners
The corners of the kitchen are spaces that are lost to utility. Browse the home supplies stores for suitable corner storage units. These are ideal for keeping small items such as dried herbs, essences, etc. If you are not hanging roll dispensers, you can use the corners to stand them up.

Practice Keeping Things Back
One of the main sources of kitchen clutter comes from things that have not been put back where they belong. Make it a habit to replace things where you took them from. (This point has been thrust upon this post, and I am leaving it in, since I cannot disagree with it.)

Hang Things That Can Be Hung
Items like cling wrap, paper towels, and aluminum foil can be used from hanging dispensers. This makes them readily available without your having to clutter up your workspace every time you need to use them. The same can be done for pots and pans that can be hung. A wide range of solutions are also available for racks and rails with sliding hooks to hang things from. These can be customized to meet your particular needs. Many appliances such as hand blenders, can openers, detergent dispensers can also be wall mounted in order to reduce clutter.

Stack Up Your Appliances
Several smart and sleek shelving solutions are now available that let you stack your electrical appliances on top of each other. Some of these come with heat insulation and venting so that you can even stack heat emitting appliances in them. You may also want to consider modern multipurpose appliances that combine the functionality of many of the older gadgets. A drastic step would, of course, be to let go of some of the non essential gadgets and appliances. We lived without a fridge for a while, and got by.

I have found that the biggest clutter that we had in our kitchen came from multiple instances of the same item, and from heaps of take-away cartons and containers. The other big piece of clutter was decrepit cookware that we would never use, but did not trash or donate. The same applied to chipped crockery, faded melamine, and non-stick cookware that has begun to stick. There were also a lot of stuff that we bought based on good advertising but never used after the first time, since they were, in one word, useless. Look in your kitchen and ruthlessly throw out all that you are not going to use, and you will be surprised at the sense of freedom it gives you. 

One of the things that I did was to take some of the utensils that came out of this process and use them as planters in the garden. It might have cluttered our balcony garden but it did end up making our kitchen look neater, so there. As you can perhaps make out, this conclusion is building itself as my writing is being reviewed. For those who may be interested in setting up a budget kitchen, you may want to check out an earlier post on how to set up a budget kitchen.


  1. I am sure this is a good article but it needs space in between. I had to give upi reading it.

  2. Thanks, I kind of didn't check to see how it was looking. Will fix it. Appreciate your feedback, and hope you will come back for another read.

  3. Thank you for the posting I am going to get busy moving things I never use.