There are few places in the home that collect more clutter than the kitchen.
Junk mail, groceries, backpacks, and contents from emptied pockets routinely add to the everyday collection of dirty plates, coffee mugs, and cooking supplies. Keeping a kitchen clutterfree requires action and resolve.
But there is something entirely refreshing about a clean, uncluttered kitchen. It is inviting. It brightens the day. And it offers endless possibilities that any number of meals or conversations can take place in it.
You’re probably a busy person. It seems most people are these days. But let me try to convince you of a project that will bring beauty and possibility to your home and family: Minimizing your kitchen.
Consider these seven reasons to declutter your kitchen this weekend:
1. You will eat healthier (and less). Did you know that a cluttered kitchen can be a cause of overeating? Brian Wansink of Cornell University and his colleagues recently conducted a study to better understand how cluttered, chaotic environments—such as messy kitchens—influence snacking behavior. Among their subjects, those in the messy kitchen were more likely to overeat and tended to consume twice as many calories from junk food as those in the tidy kitchen.
2. It sets culture for the entire home. The kitchen serves as your home’s control center—all action seems to run through it. As a result, the kitchen sets tone and culture. A clutterfree kitchen communicates calm and order, promotes opportunity and possibility, saves time, and promotes cleanliness. A tidy kitchen serves as an example to everyone else in the home.
3. Cluttered counters contribute to physical stress. Researchers at UCLA discovered a link between high stress hormone levels and a high density of household objects. Clutter increases stress levels as physical objects compete for our visual attention. And the more physical distractions in our environment, the more stress we feel.
4. It’s more enjoyable to cook. The kitchen serves a number of purposes in most homes: gathering place for conversations, quiet place for homework, or an ideal location for art projects. But the primary purpose will always be food preparation—meals, snacks, nourishment for our bodies. A minimized kitchen, with room to move and chop and bake and boil, is always a more enjoyable space to work in than any cluttered environment.
5. Clutter attracts clutter. When a space in our home becomes a collection site for “stuff,” more and more “things” begin to make their way to it. Think: junk drawers, basements, closets. Countertops too often serve the same purpose. When we allow them to become cluttered with items that don’t belong, more and more odds and ends collect. The only way to stop this accumulation is to remove as much as possible.
6. You home will be healthier. There is another point that needs to be made here. A messy kitchen attracts germs, dirt, and impurities on surfaces or objects. I realize there is a difference between cluttered and messy, but one usually leads to the other.
7. A tidy kitchen allows you to take every advantage of tomorrow. Mornings can be tough—especially if you wake up and still have to wrestle with yesterday’s mess. That’s no way to start your day and it certainly doesn’t allow you to make the most of it. A tidy, decluttered, minimized kitchen in the morning serves to remind you that the day ahead serves you, not the other way around.
If you want to create an environment that encourages cleanliness, health, focus, and calm, here are four steps to get you started:
1. Remove duplicates. Look inside drawers, cabinets, and closets for duplicates. Most homes contain an overabundance of cooking items: spatulas, measuring cups, bowls, coffee mugs. Removing duplicates is an easy way to free up space without needing to question any item’s usefulness.
2. Relocate large or rarely used items. If there are items taking up space in your kitchen that are rarely used (twice/year or less) look for a new spot in the home to store them—the basement or back of the pantry, for example. Particularly look at large items. Moving items you use only once/year to a new place in your home will free up more valuable space that you use every single day.
3. Challenge your assumptions about how many kitchen tools you actually need. Mark Bittman at the New York Times once argued that you can equip any kitchen to prepare almost any meal for $200. Here’s his list of kitchen essentials. Consider this list when deciding which tools in your kitchen are truly essential and which are not.
4. Clear your countertops. After completing steps 1-3, you’ll be surprised at how much out-of-sight storage space becomes available in cabinets and drawers. Use that newfound space to free up countertops. Trust me, you’ll love the new clean, uncluttered look and you’ll find it easier to clean as well
There are any number of household chores you can tackle this weekend. I just happen to think minimizing your kitchen is one of the most beneficial.
Teresa Alto says
Great information!! Thank you!
Cleveland Cabinets says
A messy kitchen leads to a messy life, in my mind! lol.
Love all the ideas
Oh, Gosh@! I have only the kitchen to work on it is looking like it is going to take forever. There is so much that I know I don’t need or use since I got them. I have been delaying in getting my garbage bag and put in all the stuffs. I am afraid that it is going to be 3/4 of them going away. Thats is what actually stop me from doing this. I don’t like an empty drawer or closet. Now that I spend more time cooking, I became more aware of how useful my kitchen tools can be and many are quite useless. So, this is a very difficult to decide to bring changes in my cuties and give them away. Just to let you know that I really need help here to sort this out. Thanks, in advance, Josh!
Too many cooking gadgets that I have collected long back then !
I had the same problem. Then removed all utensils unused haunting my closets . I brought some home from second hand store and made some use fir decoration in the kitchen. Now I am really thinking of decluttering my counter tops and top shelves also. I need to tackle this very soon ?
Wow our kitchen is very small although we have 7 cabinets in all. Many rooms for mugs! Really need now to start on early soon thanks,Sir
Hubby and I downsized to a 500 square foot apt from a 1500 square foot house while waiting for the perfect “retirement” house to appear on the market. We donated at least 2 kitchens worth of “stuff” when we sold the house and now we are in our new retirement house and find that by keeping only what we used and carefully choosing our new appliances (servings for 2 instead 5-8) we have 6 empty cupboards? We are seriously considering removing the upper cabinets and opening up our small kitchen! BTW, nothing on the counters and dishes are done before bed. Everything is clean and ready to go the next morning. Stress free!
My kitchen is so minimalist I even dislike it when there is stuff out whilst cooking. Maybe a little OCD of me.
Quote Ambition says
As for me, minimalistic style is my favorite. I love simplicity and love when I have minimum things. Although I don’t spend too much time there, but my wife rearranged everything from the beginning because it’s more comfortable for her.
Adriana @MoneyJourney says
Clutter does attract clutter… Good thing I like keeping the kitchen tidy :D We don’t have a lot of space anyway, so having a place for everything helps a great deal!
I agree with all the reasons. We should declutter the kitchen.
I love that you included not only WHY we should declutter our kitchens but also HOW. This is a powerful exercise that I need to do with some regularity.
Having a cluttered kitchen can be likened to the table on an executive with load of papers and files. Such person cannot be effective in managing his time neither will he be able to achieve much.
I decluttered my kitchen a few years back and it has made cooking a pleasure in that everything is easy to get to. The one area I neglected back then was my spice rack. I hated having to move so many jars to find the one I needed. I pulled out all my herbs and spices and got rid of the ones I don’t use regularly and alphabetized what I kept on lazy-susans. Now I can find what I need quickly and can easily tell when I am about to run out of something.
The kitchen is actually the first place we started, after reading your Removing Duplicates post. We purged multiple boxes of kitchen duplicates (seriously, how many spatulas did we use at a time?), excess dishes I didn’t really care for, and gadgets that were too much trouble to ever bother using. The result was a few empty cupboards and drawers that were no longer needed. It felt amazing! The joy was invigorating and we continued throughout the house.
It opened our eyes so much that we decided to downsize our 3300 sq ft home for a 1600 sq ft one. The time in between escrows put our family of 4 (plus kitties) in a hotel for a while. We brought with us what we knew we would need/really want for the time being, and everything else is in a pod until move in day. The experience has given us such perspective that half of it’s contents may go straight to Goodwill without being unpacked – particularly the kids’ toys which they have not once asked for. We brought just an armful with us to the hotel and they have been surprisingly happy. Phew! I can’t wait to move in just our truly loved and useful items.
I had read some of these tips before in your archives. They REALLY came in handy during a move last year and all the lightening and decluttering that went on before that. I got rid of (donated) a TON of stuff–lots of duplicate and unused items–but I STILL ended up with an entire new (and bigger) kitchen than I had filled with stuff. I think another round of taking your tips to heart is in order…definitely before the next move! Hopefully WELL before then.
Yes! Love this article and its advice.
As for me, the more I’ve moved toward decluttering and a minimalistic lifestyle, the more I want to purge! It feels liberating and truly “lightens the load” – not only physically, but energetically….feels fabulous.
Continue with your great advice ??
Cynthia M. says
Love this. And I’m doing that this weekend. After reading this post, I got up to get water and noticed my toaster on the counter. I haven’t made toast at any point in 2017. haha It’s going to be a rainy weekend and this post is exceptionally timely.
if you have space in a cupboard, put your toaster in a low plastic container (so crumbs stay there) and shove it in a cupboard–I saw this at a friend’s house and immediately went home and did the same–it made me so happy!
Or better yet, save your money on the plastic container. Simply clean out the crumb catcher before you put the toaster away.
We simplified our kitchen awhile back, getting rid of items we never used. We also took most all of the paperwork, magnet pictures, etc off of our fridge. It’s strangely calming to have the fridge unadorned of all that stuff!
yes brother, good Idea
Sandra Clark says
I just did that….oh my you are right….tackling my dish cupboards yesterday. I think I have a hoarding problem but things are beginning to be so much more manageable
I see now…the link was to an article from 2007. No wonder the prices seemed cheap!
Thanks for the tips and motivation. My counters and table are a landing spot for everything that comes in the door, and it’s a never-ending chore to chip away at it. I looked at the list of essential kitchen items from the link and have rarely found them as inexpensively as the author says they are. But his prices encourage me to look deeper.
The kitchen is one place we have decluttered and streamlined for sure. I like that it makes everything faster without the stress of trying to go faster: food prep because there are only a few items to grab (THE cutting board, THE big knife), cleaning because there is nothing to move out of the way before you can start cleaning (just squirt and wipe), and doing dishes (no intricate kitchen gadgets to take apart before washing). Thanks for your posts. They are always encouraging.
laura ann says
I culled out things recently in the kitchen. Extra utensils not being used (some came in sets of three when I only wanted one) I doled out to a group home and some will go to a private school cafeteria next week. I am staying out of these outlet stores that sell lots of housewares like Ross and TJM. My two pans and one stockpot is used often, ceramic non stick skillets used daily. Extra mugs and dishes were donated. I stir fry veg. and rice dishes and change ingredients for variety. Bed bath and Beyond is full of kitchen gadgets (tempting) but only go there when I really need an item like a jar opener.
Connie Baum says
I recently rearranged my kitchen to make it more convenient. I cook three meals a day most every day and I was spending too much energy. I needed to simplify!
In doing this project I removed duplicates and found a new home for them. It felt so freeing and liberating and PRETTY to look at!
I have promised myself I will clean one drawer every time I wash dishes and continue to declutter as I go.
I am appreciating your email messages. Thank you.
I like that idea to clean one drawer every time you wash dishes! Will not consume a lot of time. I think I will try that!
Connie R. says
I just went through the uncluttered course and I stopped at the kitchen. The only thing I accomplished there was removing everything from the top shelf in the pantry, cleaning the shelves and putting a few things back. Life just took over and I got distracted. Thanks for motivating me to get back to it.
yes great Idea