How To Declutter The Kitchen

updated: 17/06/2024

A neat, decluttered kitchen

If I had to choose the first room I would tackle in terms of organising, it would be the kitchen. The kitchen is typically the hub of family activity. The kitchen has long been the centre of many houses. Just look at the words associated with it: “hearth and home” (with a possible link to heart), and the word “focus” originally meant “fireplace.” The place where cooking goes on (and often eating and entertaining) is the hub around which all the other rooms revolve.

How to keep your kitchen sparkling

Why Would It Be A Good Idea To Organise The Kitchen?

An organised, well-planned, and well-run kitchen will greatly contribute to your home life’s overall success and harmony. But kitchens are often the scene not of tranquillity, order and harmony but of chaos and clutter. While dishes aren’t usually piled sky high waiting to be done if we have dishwashers, benches (and cupboards) are often jammed with appliances, gadgets, ornaments, odds and ends, papers, pictures, and so on. Sometimes, you wonder how people find the space to cook anything on earth. And as for those who use the kitchen table as a workspace, if they work from home (like me), I have one thing to say about the kitchen table as a workspace: don’t. Never mind the hazards of getting food, etc., in your laptop and other files, and the distractions of dishes needing doing, you will need to have somewhere to store files and projects, and it’s a nuisance to clear it off every time you want to eat. Use a corner of the living room; use a hallway; use a separate table in another part of the kitchen; use the broom cupboard, even (although this isn’t a good idea).

Kitchen Decluttering Tips

Here are some quick suggestions for organising your kitchen. Use some or all of these ideas to create a kitchen that will work for you and your family. Suppose you plan to reorganise your kitchen completely; set aside a day to work on it. Make sure it will be a quiet day without constant interruption. Could you send the rest of the family out for a fun day together? OK, let’s get started!

Trim On The Gadgets

Where do you start when you declutter the kitchen? Many things could spring to mind, but the best place to start is with gadgets. You can find many kitchen gadgets, each with its specialised use, in the department and similar stores. Bread-makers, pasta-makers, juicers, steamers, wands, doughnut makers, waffle makers, toasted sandwich makers, mincers, grinders, blenders, Cuisine-arts, this-makers and that-makers. How often do you use them? If you haven’t touched it for over a year, sell it online, donate it to charity or hold a garage/car boot sale. Also, think twice before buying any gadgets: if it only does one thing, it might not be the best buy and may end up cluttering everything. Take popcorn makers. Yes, you get oodles of air-popped popcorn without buying packeted microwave popcorn with too much fat and salt attached. Still, it’s just as easy to cook ordinary popcorn in your microwave using a paper bag or a small cardboard box (e.g., used for teabags) to get the same thing. The exception here would be bread-makers – as long as you use them. Even so, you can make delicious bread in the oven (kids can make bread this way– it’s easier than cakes). Be ruthless.

Remove All Unnecessary Small Items

Also, look at the kitchen goodies you use that don’t have a cord or plug attached. Are you still hanging onto a set of eggcups, even though everyone in your family loathes boiled eggs? Have you got a collection of preserving jars that have been empty for years? (oops – that sounds like me. I don’t think I bottled any fruit since a family member was diagnosed with diabetes, and I had to cut back on using sugar.) A wok and a set of chopsticks that you bought in a fit of enthusiasm for Asian cuisine two years ago but never got the hang of using? A fondue set? Once again, be ruthless. However, some little-used items may be worth hanging onto for special occasions – fancy jelly moulds and shaped cake tins may only come out for birthday parties, but they do come out. Maybe a good move for all of us would be to get together with friends, compile a list of who’s got what, and have a cookware co-operative where everyone lends their particular gadget and borrows other people’s.

Next, consider ornaments. The kitchen isn’t the best place to keep ornaments, as the air is often greasy – spitting fat, etc. And if you do not have a domestic cleaner and are not a regular duster (as in dusting twice a week), dust gets stuck to things with the grease and becomes very difficult to remove. Get rid of them, move them to another room or keep them in something glass-fronted.

Choose the right materials for kitchen cleaning

Power Hour: Clean Your Kitchen In A Flash!

To make your kitchen feasible to eat in, clean this important room in your home with a systematic program I have created for kitchen cleaning.

  1. Begin with a 15-minute kitchen clean-up. This will eliminate the clutter and dirty dishes and give you room to clean up the kitchen. Do not worry about cleaning the floors. We will do that later.
  2. Dust down the ceiling and corners of the walls. Decide if the walls need washing. Spot wash, remembering air vents, doorknobs, doors, and switch plates. Walls must be washed more often in this room than in others. Take your kitchen cleaning time now to clean the grease, grime, and spilt food from your walls.
  3. Dust and clean all art and photographs along the wall. Be careful when cleaning framed art and photographs. Never spray cleanser or water onto the frame. The liquid can seep behind the glass and damage the pictures. That happens to me quite a few times. Instead, lightly wet a clean cloth to wipe the frame and glass.
  4. Dust and clean the ceiling fan. You may need to use a gentle cleanser like Murphy’s Oil Soap. I like that product. Take down any light fixtures and gently wash and dry them before replacing them. You will notice dead bugs and dirt built up in the fixtures.
  5. Take down draperies, curtains, and blinds to wash or clean them according to the manufacturer’s directions. Vacuum and clean windowsills and corners. Wash the insides and outsides of the windows. Take down and rinse off screens before replacing them.
  6. You can apply oven cleaner to the oven and clean the refrigerator. Leave the windows in the kitchen open to avoid the overpowering smell. Do not forget to vacuum the coils of your UNPLUGGED refrigerator. This is a great time to sweep and mop underneath it, too, if you can find some help to move it. Be careful of scratching your floor. Watch what oven cleaner you use. Some have hazardous chemicals and can be dangerous to pregnant women. In addition, some can make you gag. I bought an oven with a self-cleaner. I did not want to clean the oven because I had not yet found a cleaner that had made me gag.
  7. While the oven cleaner works, begin sorting through the freezer and refrigerator. Throw out any expired food, mostly empty containers and items you bought and never used. Put the items you are going to keep on the counter. Take out the refrigerator shelves and drawers. Wash them down, being careful with glass shelves. Wipe down the entire refrigerator and freezer inside before replacing shelves and food. Wipe down and clean out the oven according to the directions on the oven cleaner.
  8. Take the knobs, burners, burner covers, and spill catchers off the stove. Follow your stove/oven owner’s manual for information on proper cleaning methods for your model. (The one you carefully filed when you bought the stove, just for an occasion like this.) Some stovetops lift to allow easy access to spills and crumbs. Wipe down the entire stove.
  9. Wipe down and clean the toaster, blender, and other small appliances. Wipe down and clean the microwave. If the microwave spills are fossilised, try boiling a water-filled glass cup in the microwave. The steam should help loosen the crud. If the microwave smells, boil lemon juice. Unplug all appliances first. Do not forget the turntable.
  10. Clean out kitchen cabinets, reline if needed, remove mismatched lids and bowls, remove anything not being used regularly, reorganise, and wash down the insides and outsides of cabinets.
  11. Run the dishwasher empty. Try adding vinegar or baking soda to the empty dishwasher before running it. If your dishwasher has a food trap in the bottom, clean it out. Wash down the outside of the dishwasher.
  12. Wash down the countertops in your kitchen. Do not forget backsplashes.
  13. Wipe down and clean out any drawers. Organise your flatware. This is a great time to install drawer dividers to improve the organisation of your kitchen drawers.
  14. Wash down the sink. If you have a rubbish disposal, now is the time to pour baking soda with warm water and/or a lemon peel down the disposal to freshen the drain. Put ice cubes through the disposal to sharpen the blades.
  15. Sweep and mop the floors. Do not forget the baseboards. One of the best ways to clean a floor is to use a rag or towel on your hands and knees. If this is not an option, try barefoot and scooting a large towel around the floor with your feet. It provides more contact and pressure with the floor. Press gently, and be careful and slow. This is the best way I get all the dirt off the colours. The mops work, but not as well.

Anyclean’s Quick Tips For A Clutter-free Kitchen

  • Look for pictures of kitchens you like in magazines. What do you like about them in terms of organisation? Could you emulate some of these ideas in your kitchen? A week or two before the kitchen-organising day, note what you like and do not like about your kitchen’s current organisation. Use these notes in the planning process.
  • Be prepared. Bring a tape measure (to measure spaces for purchasing storage containers or baskets), a label maker, and cleaning supplies.
  • After carefully planning and measuring what you need, shop for containers and baskets to help organise your kitchen.
  • Containerise items like cereals, pasta, flour, sugar, etc. This will help keep these items fresh and help you to see when they are running low. Also, most containers are much less bulky than their original packaging.
  • Label containers and shelves throughout your kitchen to aid in easy retrieval.
  • Empty all of the cabinets and drawers. Start with a clean slate! If needed, clean the surfaces of cupboards and drawers.
  • Have a junk drawer. It does not have to be a mess, though. Find a drawer insert with different compartments that you can label for typical junk drawer items (e.g., rubber bands, glue, extra keys, change, matches, safety pins, scissors, etc.).
  • Group like items together. For example, you could put your baking supplies together in a basket in your pantry.
  • Alphabetize items like spices, canned goods, etc. Alphabetising these items will aid in easy retrieval.
  • Donate, throw away, give away, recycle or sell those items you no longer use. If you have not used something in over a year, likely, you will not use that item again. If the item is something you do not use very often (e.g. a turkey roaster), store it in a place like the basement or attic. Most people have a limited amount of kitchen storage. Save this space for items you use on a daily or weekly basis.
  • Design a master list of items you typically use at the grocery store, leaving space to add extra items. Post this list on your refrigerator so you and your family can add items that need replenishment throughout the week. Take your master list to the grocery store with you.
  • Once you are finished, tell and show your family where everything is stored so they can help you keep the kitchen organised.
  • Evaluate your kitchen regularly. Keeping a space organised is a process. Do not be afraid to fine-tune things.
  • Does your kitchen feel welcoming? Add a fresh bouquet, a plant or some seasonal arrangement to the centre of your kitchen. Let everyone share in the blessings of your well-organised space.

Finally, if needed, elicit the help of a Professional Organiser. Professional Organisers are experienced in helping you design an organised space that meets your needs.

About the author 

Nick Vassilev

Nick blogs about cleaning. He is a cleaning expert with more than 25 years of experience. He is also an NCCA-certified carpet cleaner. Founder and CEO of Anyclean.