Spring Clean To A Less Busy Life Part 2- The Kitchen

Image: marthastewart.com

Image: marthastewart.com

 

In part 2 of my series “Spring Clean To A Less Busy Life”, we look at one of the busiest areas of clutter: the kitchen.

The kitchen is the busiest area of our home and is where my family gathers to enjoy meals together, and is the room I spend the most amount of time in. Why make myself busier in the kitchen than I need to be?

In today’s declutter session, I’d like to focus on the kitchen EXCLUDING the pantry and fridge (don’t worry, we will come back to these areas in few weeks).

Let’s go over the basics again in preparing for our declutter session, similar to the tools in Part 1:

THE TOOLS:

-A packet of heavy-duty garbage bags or an empty box (for heavy items)

-A cleaning cloth/rag to wipe down dust

-A stop watch/clock/mobile phone to time your session

Now that you have assembled these tools, it’s time to begin!

THE RULES:

-Try to time each declutter session for 45 minutes only- spend 30 minutes cleaning, and the final 15 minutes packing up and putting things away. Don’t worry if you have not finished,  you can continue your session another day.

-Focus on sorting everything into 4 piles: what to keep, what to donate, what to throw out and what to recycle.

Set your alarm for 30 minutes, and GO!

KITCHEN TIPS:

Don’t begin your declutter session until you have washed and put away any dirty dishes. Why? Firstly, you will need the bench space when pulling things out of cupboards and drawers. Secondly, some of your dirty dishes will be items that you will end up donating or throwing out. Thirdly, it is the quickest and easiest way to make your kitchen look a lot tidier.

So either wash your dirty dishes by hand like I do, or place in the dishwasher and switch on- by the time the cycle is completed, your decluttering session will be well and truly finished.

The focus of decluttering a kitchen is to ensure that the items that you keep are those that you use on a regular basis, and that you don’t have two, three or four everything! The aim is to ensure you have enough items for the number of people living in the house plus a few extra for guests, without going overboard.

Do NOT worry about kitchen appliances during this session.

Begin with the easier items- I like to focus on my cutlery and glasses/mugs. The aim is to ensure you only have enough items in your kitchen for your family.

Drinking glasses, mugs and coffee cups: How many people in your household regularly use glasses, mugs or coffee cups? Count one item per person, and keep a small number as spares (I keep 4 as spares). Spares should be placed somewhere not as easy to reach for, such as a buffet or cabinet). Anything that is chipped is to be placed in the “throw out” pile

Cutlery: 1 spoon, 1 knife and 1 fork per person, with a few spares (I keep 3 per item as spares). Extra cutlery beyond this amount is placed in our buffet to use for dinner parties. If you no longer have dinner parties, or think your collection is too extensive, place the extras in your “donate” pile

Plates: Follow the same procedure as per mugs/coffee cups and cutlery. Keep enough plates for the family, with 3 spares, and the remaining plates in a buffet or cabinet. Be realistic: when was the last time you had a dinner party with 50 people? Can you donate your extras? Go on, do it!

Utensils: The drawer with all the crazy utensils and gadgets is probably overflowing with items that you never use, or don’t even know how to use! Be ruthless: how many wooden spoons would you use at the same time when cooking a meal? Anything extra should be thrown out. If its old, get rid of it! Imagine the bacteria and germs that have stayed on your old wooden spoon, especially if it has cracks or gaps. You only need 1 tin opener. Those weird Tupperware gadgets that were freebies that you can’t even remember how to use: donate pile.

Saucepans and pots: Realistically, how many pots and saucepans do you use at the same time for a meal? You do not need 10 saucepans. In our house, we have a stock pot, 2 medium sized saucepans and 2 small saucepans. We have invested in excellent quality stainless steel pots that we have had for 8 years. I am not a fan of non-stick due to health concerns arising from the toxins found in the non-stick materials, and I found that these types of pots and pans did not last long. Any extra pots and pans can be placed in your donate pile. Any non-stick items that are scratched or damaged should be disposed of.

Fry pans: We never use more than 2 fry pans at a time, but we mostly use just one stainless steel pan. Anything damaged, particularly if it is non-stick, should be disposed of.

Baking and roasting dishes: Again, be realistic about the number of baking dishes you use. We only use 2 at the same time at the most, but mainly 1. We have 2 excellent quality stainless steel baking dishes, and also have 4 small ceramic baking dishes that we tend to use as serving dishes during dinner parties rather than something we place in the oven. I prefer using stainless steel to ceramic as it is easier to clean and more hardy. Any extras that are in good condition- put in your donation pile. Anything damaged: in the “throw out” pile.

Cake tins and pans: Okay I have to admit, this is one area that I struggle with. I used to love making and decorating elaborate birthday cakes for my kids, so I have all sorts of cake tins in varying sizes. I have managed to cut down to a smaller number. Think about the types of cakes you commonly bake: keep these sized tins. Anything that you have used as a one-off should be placed in your donation pile. How many muffin tins do you really need? When was the last time you baked the cake using the 30 cm baking pan- 2 years ago? Okay I think it’s safe to say that was too long ago and you probably will not bake it again! If you find yourself using the excuse “just in case”, remember that if you DO really end up needing that tin, it will be relatively inexpensive and easy to purchase again (but chances are, you won’t ever need it again!).

Okay, so the decluttering session has been going along nicely. Remember, you may not get through all the items above in 30 minutes. That’s ok. Allocate another 30 minutes another day.

At the 30 minute mark, I stop what I am doing and reset my alarm for another 15 minutes.

By the 30 minute mark, I should only have my “keep” items left to put away. The donate pile is put in a garbage bag or box, and the “throw out” pile has been thrown out in the garbage bin.

I spend the final 15 minutes wiping down dust in cupboards and drawers and placing my “keep” items back in their rightful places. Extras are placed in my buffet.

45 minutes is over.

Don’t forget to check your dishwasher load and empty if it is done, or put your feet up and enjoy a nice cup of herbal tea!

How did your kitchen declutter session go? What were some challenges your overcame, and what did you discover about your kitchen habits? What are some obscure items you found in your crazy utensil/gadget drawer? Let me know!

 

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