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A Complete Guide to Decluttering Your Kitchen & Keeping It Clutter Free

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The kitchen is often the heart of the home. It’s a space where we cook meals, gather with friends and family, and store our food. That’s why it’s so important to keep your kitchen decluttered and organized. A cluttered kitchen can be stressful and overwhelming, but with these tips, you can declutter your kitchen and keep it clutter-free!

This guide will help you turn your kitchen into the functional space of your cooking dreams!

tidy kitchen countertops

Decluttering The Kitchen – How to Get Started?

How do you visualise your dream kitchen? There’s a good chance it isn’t a kitchen filled with cluttered bench spaces and overflowing cabinets.

The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in the entire house, so it’s important to keep it decluttered and organised.

Not only will this make your kitchen more functional and enjoyable to use, and make meal planning a breeze, but it will also help you stay on top of cleaning and maintenance.

Setting your personal room goals is one of the best places to start when decluttering any room.

Is your dream kitchen a bright and airy space with plenty of countertop space? Or is it a cozy kitchen with everything within reach?

No matter what your dream kitchen looks like, there are some basic decluttering principles that you can follow to make it a reality.

A decluttered kitchen is a happy kitchen!

How To Declutter Your Kitchen – 2 Different Ways

You have an idea of how you want your kitchen to function, so now it is time to get to the action.

You can only keep so much in your kitchen while also maintaining a functional space. This means you need to create space boundaries from the available storage room you have available.

And you need to eliminate anything that does not have a proper home – or create a home for it that makes sense and fits within your space boundary!

There are two different methods to declutter kitchens that can both be effective. The method you choose really depends on your preferences.

Method 1 – Declutter The Entire Kitchen In One Go

The first way is to take everything out of your kitchen and declutter the entire space in a single day. This is fine if you have a full day to dedicate to the task and can be a great way to deep clean your kitchen as you go since you will have everything out of the way.

This decluttering strategy can be overwhelming if you are doing the task solo or if you have a lot of clutter to sort through. Especially if this includes some sentimental clutter.

But if you have a small kitchen or you are sharing the workload with someone else, this strategy can be very effective for many people.

You need to be sure you have the time to get it all done in a single session though since you don’t want to get caught short and have half of your kitchen items still on the floor at dinner time!

A weekend is usually a good option for a big decluttering challenge like this!

Method 2 – Declutter The Kitchen In Small Sections

My preferred method of decluttering the kitchen and any other area of the house is to do this in small sections instead.

The main reason for this is that by breaking decluttering tasks down into smaller tasks, you are less likely to feel overwhelmed. It also means you have time to fit one or more quick decluttering tasks into a normal day, without feeling like you need to dedicate a full day or many hours at once.

This means instead of seeing your kitchen as a whole task, you have many small tasks – one drawer, one kitchen cabinet, your appliances, or a pantry shelf.

You can create a kitchen decluttering checklist that includes each small storage space in your kitchen.

This strategy is best for anyone who is limited on time but still wants to enjoy a decluttered kitchen!

Which Kitchen Declutter Method Should You Choose?

There is no right or wrong choice when it comes to choosing a decluttering method. The key is choosing the one that will suit your available time and motivation best at this moment. After all, the goal is the same – to get your kitchen decluttered!

There’s a good chance that you might do a little bit from both methods, having certain kitchen spaces that are related and can be decluttered in a single session.

tidy kitchen

If you are still undecided about which kitchen declutter method would work best for you, consider these factors.

  • How much kitchen clutter do you have? If your kitchen is relatively clutter-free, then the one-day declutter might be the perfect option. If your kitchen is overflowing with items though, then breaking it down into smaller tasks is probably a better solution.
  • Do you have any kitchen items with sentimental value? If yes, then you might want to take your time decluttering the kitchen so that you can go through everything with a more gentle approach.
  • How much time do you realistically have to dedicate to decluttering your kitchen? This is an important question since you don’t want to start a kitchen declutter project that you can’t finish. If you have a lot of kitchen clutter and very little time, then it might be better to gradually declutter the kitchen over time by doing one small task each day or each week. You could even focus on one area of the kitchen at a time if that is more manageable for you.

No matter which kitchen declutter method you choose, the important thing is to get started and make some progress!

Having a decluttered kitchen will make meal times so much easier and enjoyable and will help reduce stress levels in your home.

BONUS TIP: Always have your cleaning supplies nearby as you work through a decluttering project. A simple spray and wipe with all-purpose cleaning inside your kitchen cabinets and drawers and other surfaces will have your kitchen not only looking clutter-free but also getting a spring clean while you’re at it!

Questions To Ask When Decluttering The Kitchen

With every decluttering project in your house, these questions will help you to make a decision on what to keep and what to get rid of:

  • Do I use this item regularly?
  • Does this item add value to your life or make your life easier?
  • Does this item have sentimental value?
  • Is there another item you could use if you did not have this one?
  • Can I easily replace this kitchen item if I need to?

Answering these questions will help you identify the value of each item in your kitchen and make it easier to decide what to let go of and what to keep.

What Should You Do With Kitchen Clutter?

Before you kick off any decluttering challenge, always have a plan in mind for what you will do with the unwanted items afterwards. This is the best way to ensure you take action and get them out of your home quickly!

Anything broken should go straight into the bin.

Anything in good condition can be donated.

Any high-value items such as appliances that are in great working condition may be worth selling, but make sure you have the time and motivation to do this!

The best strategy is to have boxes or bags ready for your unwanted clutter – one for rubbish, one for donations and one for items you plan to sell or give to friends and family.

20 Things To Declutter From Your Kitchen

Now that you’ve got your plan in mind for a clutter-free kitchen, it’s time to identify what kitchen clutter you need to get rid of. To help you out, here’s a list of 20 things you can declutter from your kitchen today:

tidy kitchen

Remove Kitchen Counter Clutter

Before you do anything else, clearing the obvious surface clutter is always the best first step to any decluttering!

Gather up any visual clutter items that don’t belong on the kitchen countertops and put them away in their rightful place.

This might include mail, keys, bags, wallets, loose change and anything else that doesn’t need to live on your kitchen counters. This quick decluttering task is an instant win too, already making your kitchen feel more inviting and less cluttered.

This is a habit I often include in my daily 5-minute pick-up at night, to make sure the following day starts with a clear, fresh kitchen!

Cooking Utensils & Cutlery

Do a kitchen declutter of all those cooking utensils that end up in the utensil drawer that you never use but are still taking up valuable kitchen drawer space!

Be ruthless with this one – anything that you don’t use or don’t love should go. Decluttering kitchen utensils means you will get a drawer that actually closes, without random items getting stuck!

The cutlery drawer is often one of the easiest drawers to declutter in your kitchen. Remove any odd items that don’t go with your cutlery set and anything else that doesn’t belong.

Under The Kitchen Sink

The area under the kitchen sink is often a catch-all for household cleaning supplies and other items that don’t have a home.

Start by taking everything out from under the kitchen sink and give the area a good clean. Then work out what you actually use and what you don’t.

Any cleaning products you’ve had for a really long time should go since they likely aren’t as effective as they were when new. This is a sign you aren’t using them often either.

If you have multiples of any product, put the most used ones at the front so you can use them up before moving on to the next.

free 30 day declutter challenge

Food Storage Containers

The food storage cupboard or drawer is often one of the most disorganised and cluttered spaces in the kitchen! This is often one of the highest priority areas to declutter in the kitchen too.

Get rid of any plastic containers that are cracked, damaged or missing lids. If you have duplicates of the same size, keep only one set and donate or recycle the rest. Only keep the food storage containers that you actually use and that fit easily into your kitchen.

Know the limits of your space and if you still have too many, it might be time to be a little stricter on letting go of the extra containers!

Dish Towels & Cloths

These are kitchen essentials that often get forgotten about when decluttering. Check your dish towels and kitchen cloths to make sure they are in good condition without any holes.

If they are starting to look a little worse for wear, it’s time to let them go.

As a rule of thumb, I keep no more than 7 tea towels or cleaning clothes. That is enough for a full week without washing and it keeps them to a manageable quantity.

Small Appliances And Kitchen Gadgets

Do a kitchen sweep to declutter any small appliances or gadgets that you no longer use. This might include blenders, juicers, coffee maker, sandwich makers, toasters and more.

Think about each appliance – when was the last time you used it? If it’s been more than six months, it’s time to let it go.

If you have any appliances or gadgets that are no longer in great working order, they are ready for the bin!

If you have a single-purpose appliance that does the same thing as a multipurpose appliance in your home, it might be time to part with the single-use one.

For example, if you have a slow cooker, rice cooker and an Instant Pot, the Instant Pot can be used as a slow cooker and a rice cooker so you can part with the single-use appliances to make more space in your kitchen cabinets.

Expired Pantry Items

A kitchen decluttering wouldn’t be complete without checking the pantry for any food past the expiration date. Toss anything that is outdated or that you know you won’t use before it goes bad.

It might seem like a waste but you want to be able to easily use your pantry! When it’s full of items you won’t even use, it’s usually the reason things get shoved to the back and forgotten!

You also want to check your dry ingredients for weevils. Ick!

You can donate any non-perishable food items that you know you won’t use to a local food bank. This is a great way to declutter your kitchen and help those in need at the same time!

For keeping your pantry well stocked with the essentials, check out my pantry stock list guide (and grab the free pantry inventory printable).

Refrigerator Items

While you are decluttering the kitchen, don’t forget to check the fridge for any expired items. Toss anything that is outdated or that you know you won’t use before it goes bad. When it’s full of items you won’t even use, it’s usually the reason things get shoved to the back and forgotten!

You might be surprised how many expired bottles of sauce and other condiments you will find when you really look.

Dishes & Mugs

Do a kitchen sweep to declutter any items that you no longer use or are broken and chipped. This might include plates, bowls, cups, and mugs.

A lot of kitchens collect a mix-match variety of mugs and unless it’s your favourite mug that you use often, it might be time to get rid of some of them. The same goes for those odd plates or bowls that don’t go with your main dining set.

woman sorting plates in cupboard

Pet Dishes

If you have pets, declutter any pet dishes that you no longer use. This might include bowls, dry food storage or placemats.

Mixing Bowls & Measuring Cups

Declutter any mixing bowls or measuring cups and measuring spoons that you no longer use.

If you only bake once in a while, it’s probably not worth keeping a full set of 10 mixing bowls taking up space in your kitchen cabinets when you could just keep 2 or 3.

Water Bottles

Water bottles are another of those many kitchen items that tend to get out of control in the kitchen cupboards! We tend to have our favourites, but also those randomly collected promotional bottles or gifted drink bottles the kids seem to end up with.

Keep enough bottles for each member of your household with a few spare at most. They are easily replaceable if needed. You don’t need 5 water bottles each!

Lunch Boxes & Cooler Bags

If you have school-age kids, you might have an impressive collection of lunch boxes and cooler bags taking up space in your kitchen. Some of these might be a poor condition or in a size or style they have outgrown.

Any that are in great condition are great for donating to families in need, especially in the lead-up to a new school year when school supplies are such a big expense.

Kids Bowls & Cutlery

Another collection that tends to get out of control if you have kids at home are the kids’ bowls, cups and cutlery. These can quickly add up, especially if you have more than one child.

You might want to keep a few sets on hand for when friends come over or for sleepovers but in general, older kids can use the same dishes as adults. You don’t need a special set of kids’ dishes taking up space.

And if they have outgrown their sippy cups and toddler spoons, it’s definitely time to get rid of these items. Most kids love reaching the age when they can use the same dining ware as mum and dad!

Baking Ware

Baking ware can quickly take over kitchen cupboards if you’re not careful. If you only bake occasionally, it’s probably not worth keeping a full set of cake tins, cookie sheets, muffin tins and cookie cutters.

You might want to keep one or two of each item but anything more than that is probably taking up valuable kitchen space. Instead, you can ask friends or family to borrow theirs on those rare occasions you find yourself needing one.

Otherwise, for anything you don’t use or don’t like, it’s time to donate or dispose of them.

Pots & Pans

Pots and pans can be a real kitchen declutter challenge! They are bulky items that often come in sets so it’s tough to know what to keep and what to get rid of.

The truth is, you probably don’t need every pot and pan you have. A good rule of thumb is to keep the ones you use most often and get rid of the rest. Also, make sure to throw out any odd pot lids that don’t have a pot and anything that is damaged.

Most sets come with at least 3 different-sized saucepans while most of us only use the largest and the smallest in the set.

For example, if you only ever use one frying pan but have three, it’s time to declutter the other two. The same goes for those pots that you only keep because it was part of a set.

Glassware

Glassware is another kitchen item that can quickly get out of control. If you have a collection of glasses that you never use, it might be time to declutter them. This includes any drinking glasses, tumblers, vases or other decorative glassware.

Keep enough for your family and a few extras for entertaining but anything more than that is probably taking up valuable kitchen space. If you’re not using them, it’s time to let them go!

In our household, we have a variety of craft beer glasses to suit my husband’s appreciation. It drives me crazy since he won’t part with any of them! They currently live in our buffet cabinet alongside the wine glasses.

Knives

A kitchen just isn’t complete without a good set of knives! But if you have a collection of knives that you never use, or any that aren’t very good at cutting that are not worth the effort of having sharpened, these are just taking up valuable space.

Make sure you dispose of old knives carefully! You don’t want someone to get injured if donating them or when throwing them in the bin.

Casserole & Baking Dishes

Another kitchen item that can quickly take over your cupboards is casserole and baking dishes. If you don’t use them often, it’s probably not worth keeping more than two on hand.

This is also the case for roaster pans and carving trays. You only use one at a time so there is no reason to keep more than one!

Special Occasion & Entertainment Items

Do you have special occasion or entertainment items that you only use once in a while? These can be things like punch bowls, platters, tablecloths or serving utensils.

If you don’t often entertain or would not use them at least every 2 years, it’s probably not worth taking up valuable kitchen space with these items. Instead, borrow them from friends or family when you need them.

Other items that come under this category are things such as cake stands, cupcake stands, large platters and grazing boards.


Need more help? Grab my Declutter Your Home workbook – a printable workbook with a 30 day declutter challenge, habit tracker, quick declutter tasks and much more!

declutter your home checklist

Once you do a complete kitchen decluttering, it can be much easier to maintain your organised kitchen by doing a mini declutter on a regular basis. The task will never be quite so overwhelming again if you stay on top of it.

Decluttering a kitchen can be a real challenge, but it’s important to stay organised so that your kitchen functions at its best. These decluttering tips for keeping your kitchen clutter-free will help you to enjoy the time you spend cooking in the kitchen and save you a load of time when finding items you need quickly and easily!

For more decluttering tips:

kitchen declutter

Rachel

Sunday 25th of January 2015

I like how everything you're working on goes together:)

Holly

Sunday 25th of January 2015

Thanks Rachel.

Shannon Bednowicz

Wednesday 21st of January 2015

I love this post! I got some new appliances for Christmas from my parents and I completely reorganized my kitchen. I love a big work space and since I've changed everything around, and cleared that space, I am SO much more engaged and excited in cooking. I love being in my kitchen and I'm so much more motivated to KEEP it clean.

Holly

Wednesday 21st of January 2015

That's great to hear. Sounds like both our Christmases were very kitchen inspired. Everything but a pair of earrings and a plant were kitchen presents for me lol but you're right, it makes it exciting.

Carol Cassara

Wednesday 21st of January 2015

Very helpful list, thank yu so much. We are renovating also...sigh.

Holly

Wednesday 21st of January 2015

Oh dear, Carol. You probably have no choice but to declutter right now. Good luck & I hope the list helps.

Sara | Kid Magazine

Wednesday 14th of January 2015

We will be renovating this year and our kitchen may be ever so slightly smaller so I need to do this declutter now before it all happens. Love this challenge!

Holly

Wednesday 14th of January 2015

What a good extra motivator! Haven't done the renovation thing before but I imagine it can be stressful. Good luck!

Sharon - Her Organized Chaos

Wednesday 14th of January 2015

The kitchen is the worst place to try and declutter! I am on a mission to do it after your tips. Hopefully I don't get overwhelmed like I normally do! I start and then it's going well and then it all just keeps adding up and it's too much! Thanks for sharing this at Totally Terrific Tuesdays! I just started co-hosting there and hope to see you next week and see what great stuff you have to share!

Sharon herorganizedchaos.com

Holly

Wednesday 14th of January 2015

It sure is a big area to tackle but feels so good once it's done. I've never done such a thorough job of it myself either. I do the same... Start well, then get very over it haha breaking it down into smaller tasks makes it less daunting :)