Tips on how to declutter your kitchen

August, 2022

Are your kitchen surfaces jam-packed with appliances?

Do you have thousands of mugs piled up?

Are your cupboards full of out of herbs and spices?

It doesn't have to be this way. Getting your kitchen in order is simply a matter of being practical and realistic.

Use these simple tips to declutter your kitchen:

Think about what you do most often

Your kitchen should work for you, not the other way round. Plonking infrequently-used items right in the middle of the counter, but having to visit various cupboards and drawers all round the kitchen to make a cup of tea is hardly the most practical use of your space.

Instead, tidy anything that you don't use regularly away (or, if it's never used, get rid of it), and consider rearranging your kitchen around your most frequent activities. For example, you can create a tea station, where mugs, tea bags, kettle and teaspoons are all in one place.

Don't have endless spares

Be honest — are you hoarding enough crockery and cutlery to cater for a family of 15, when in fact there are only four of you?

Most people have many more mugs, plates, spoons than they actually need, but we struggle to get rid of these things as we consider them "useful."

Realistically, all you need in your kitchen is enough for a daily meal with the family, plus a couple of spares in case of breakage or visitors. 

Lots of us could happily halve the amount of mugs we have, for example, and still never be short of a cup.

"But what if I have a party?" is a common excuse when it comes to ditching some plates or glasses.

The answer is either borrowing from your neighbours — people love to do a good deed — or buying recyclable disposable versions, which won't clutter up your kitchen for the months or years in between.

Position food so you can see what you have

We've all experienced the scenario where you buy a whole bunch of new ingredients for a recipe, only to realize later that you had several of the items in your cupboard already.

Turmeric, Ras el hanout, Spice mix, Mixed spice, Chili powder, Berbere, Baharat, Seasoning, Tandoori masala, Curry powder,

Arranging your food so you can see what you have is vital in reducing food wastage — it means you won't constantly be buying the same thing at the supermarket. There's no need to be obsessive about it, but an action as simple as arranging your cupboards so tins are facing frontwards go a long way in making your life easier.

Do you have items like pasta or rice that start spraying all over the cupboard as soon as your grab them? Grouping these together in a neat basket or glass container means you can lift them out easily, rather than making a mess.

Be practical with where you place things

Thinking practically isn't just about making your regular kitchen activities easier; it's also about distributing your lesser-used items most efficiently.

If an item is heavy, for instance, make sure you place it somewhere low down, otherwise you'll never bother getting it out again for fear it's going to topple on you.

Likewise, items that you only get out for a special occasion – say posh cutlery for a dinner party – should be stowed in a clearly labelled box and put in a cupboard, ready to be removed on the odd occasion they're needed. 

Ensure your storage is working in the best way possible

Warning: you could be wasting a whole lot of kitchen space if you're not making the most of movable shelves. 

If, for example, you have a shelf of tins with a huge gaping space above them, consider adding a new shelf or moving them around to create more storage within your kitchen cabinets.

You can add up to 50% more storage space in a cupboard simply through using the layout most efficiently, but most of us tend to stick to the way we bunged things in when we first moved into the house.

Think practical, not pretty

It's all too easy to get carried away by prettiness and forget to consider how sensible a storage solution is.

Take Kilner jars, for example — they look lovely laid out in a spacious pantry, but squashed into your average kitchen cupboard, they actually take up a lot of room due to the curved shape and thick glass lids.

Decanting food also comes with a lot of hassle — you might have more flour or rice than fits in the jar, leaving you with the problem of storing the leftovers, and somehow you'll have to record the use-by date of each decanted foodstuff. 

Instead, think practically, either keeping your products in their packets and investing in baskets to group items together or, if you prefer the decanting route, buying square jars for more efficient use of space.

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