Wow, we have really made progress in our Clutter Free Journey this past week! I was not expecting to have a lot of things to get rid of in our kitchen because I “de-cluttered” fairly recently. But I found a LOT more to say goodbye to because I had a different mindset this time around.
This time around, I am really feeling more free because of the true de-cluttering. I am able to keep my counters much more clean. And I can keep up with the process of keeping a household that revolves around the kitchen.
The kitchen is kind of a hard spot for this Clutter Free journey because I really do LOVE to cook and bake and I LOVE to have all the accouterments to go with the cooking and baking. Even as I went through this process this time, I asked myself different questions and found I really do not use a number of the things I had in my kitchen. And if I don’t use it, I need to get rid of it!
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Here are the questions I asked myself as I worked through my kitchen that helped me to purge the items I do not need:
Question #1: How many is too many?
The first time I asked myself this question was in my kitchen towel drawer. I had a large number of kitchen towels…we are talking scores! They all fit into one drawer, but it just seemed like too much! So I pulled them all out and evaluated the ones I would like to keep and the ones I would rather pass on to someone else.
My girls helped me sort them out. I got rid of all the black and white towels and kept the ones that “go” with the color scheme for the house, blue. The girls took the black and white ones and put them in a pile and handed me the blue ones to fold and put in the drawer.
Now in the drawer, I have just enough towels for my needs in the kitchen and I have room for my cleaning towels, too (yes, I have different cleaning towels from my kitchen towels).
I also found myself asking this question in regards to plastic containers, pasta strainers, mixing bowls, little bowls, etc. The list of things we have in multiples is now shorter and I still have all the things I truly need and use in our kitchen.
Question #2: When was the last time I used that?
I have a lot of gadgets for my kitchen. And gadgets are fun! But typically gadgets are good for only one or two things – very specific things. As I went through my kitchen I asked myself about some of these gadgets’ usefulness by questioning the last time I used them.
If the answer was, “I don’t remember, ” or more than two years ago (or never); the item went to bless someone else who needs that gadget. If it was an item that I do use but not that frequently, I set it in a place that is not easily accessible. This leaves prime space for the more important and more used items in my kitchen.
I also examined my knife collection along this same rubric. I have a number of knives. But I use my favorite two knives more than I use any of the other knives. So, I asked myself, when was the last time I used this knife. If the answer was too long ago, or if it was “when all the other knives I wanted to use were dirty,” into the Goodbye Bin it went.
Question #3: Are expiration dates an estimate?
Alright, I really struggle with throwing away good food. But I really struggle with the idea of knowing a food is past its expiration and serving it to my family.
Thankfully, I came across things that were clearly way past their expiration date. But I don’t want to be guessing at these things, so I came across this helpful guide for food expiration dates:
Question #4: How long would it take me to use ALL of this?
My guideline for keeping multiple items of one thing is the question, “How long will it take me to use this?” If it is over 6 months, I can feel free to donate the extra item(s). I figure I will have the means to purchase a new one and it will likely go on sale in that amount of time.
If it will take longer than the expiration date to go through both (or all) of that item, I definitely donate the extra item(s).
But this question also reminds me it is time to use it or lose it! A lot of the things I have in my pantry are things that I love, but they get pushed to the back and forgotten. Going through and purging items I don’t really use leaves more space for what I do love. It also tells me that I should use these things! I need to get in the kitchen and use that marinade we all love or make more salads so I can have some of that yummy dressing.
Question #5: Does this belong here?
I found a bunch of random things in my kitchen. These things weren’t just the items in my junk drawer. Under my sink, I found all manner of cleaning supplies I almost never use and certainly don’t use in my kitchen. I have a specific place to store all my cleaning supplies and it is not under my kitchen sink.
It was easy to clear out the clutter under my sink when I asked myself the question, “Does this belong here?” All the items which don’t belong in a specific space got taken to where they belong. My kitchen is much more streamlined as a result.
Kids toys and books were also a clutter culprit in our kitchen. That is part of living with little ones. Keeping the counters and floors clean of these kinds of items helps me to feel more grounded in my kitchen (and safer!).
I love the look of my clutter free kitchen and I am so happy that I have a system for evaluating it again as clutter creeps back in – because I know it will!
Are these the questions you ask yourself as you remove clutter from your kitchen?