By Sommer Poquette
Americans are known for accumulating unnecessary stuff — especially in the kitchen. If there’s no room for it, just shut the cabinet door, and suddenly the clutter magically disappears. Out of sight, out of mind!
That is, until one day when that pile of plates, bowls, pans and mismatched Tupperware tumbles out onto your toe. You scream and say a few choice words before promising yourself that someday you’ll get organized.
It may be silly, but we can all relate to this scenario. There’s even a UCLA-backed study that says American families are overwhelmed by clutter. Is the mess really worth a broken toe and the potential loss of your sanity? It’s time to stop the madness! Let’s organize our kitchen cabinets and take control of the chaos.
Step 1: Prepare to say good-bye. Mentally prepare yourself to donate, throw away or recycle unused, unnecessary or orphaned kitchen items. It seems funny, but we hang on to items for odd reasons, and that stuff just turns into clutter. For example, if you’re saving that first-ever sippy cup from your child’s toddler days and they’re now 9 years old, it’s time to take a deep breath and let it go. Really, it is going to be okay.
Step 2: Dedicate an afternoon or even a day. You’ll need time to really empty your kitchen cabinets and see what you have, what you actually use and what you need. “Need” is the key word here. If your kitchen is like my kitchen, you might need a full day.
Step 3: Create a playlist to help you get in the mood. If you’re seriously organizing your kitchen cabinets, you’ll want some good tunes. So create your ultimate inspirational playlist or Pandora radio station and get ready to crank it up — you have some major work ahead of you.
Step 4: Empty your kitchen cabinets. Each. And. Every. Single. One. Do not cheat and say you’ll get to a cabinet later. Go all in. Empty each kitchen cabinet and sort everything into the following piles: “Used often,” “Never used or hardly used,” and “I don’t know what this is or what this belongs to.”
Step 5: Clean the inside of your kitchen cabinets. They’re empty for the first time in who knows how long, so take the opportunity to give them a good scrub. Wash the entire interior and consider putting down pretty shelf liner — you may even be able to see it once you’ve gotten rid of the clutter!
Step 6: Purge. All of the items that you never use, hardly use or that you’re not even sure what the heck they are, kiss them good-bye. Give them a new home. Donate them, or ask a friend if they need 27 miscellaneous Tupperware lids. Recycle whatever you can, and if it can’t be recycled or rehomed, then it must go in the trash.
Step 7: Organize. The best part of all! This is when you take what you have and decide how to put it back into your clean kitchen cabinets. Here are few tips for organizing your kitchen cabinets, now that you have finally de-cluttered everything.
- Put items that you use often in easy-to-reach places. If you want the children to get their own water and/or snacks, put the plastic cups, plates and bowls where they can reach them.
- Display items neatly. Even though the kitchen cabinet is closed, you’ll know that behind the doors, you have everything looking nice and neat.
- Consider stacking bowls, plates and Tupperware. Items that store neatly and won’t take up as much room make for tidier kitchen cabinets, overall.
- Use your space wisely. If you have high kitchen cabinets, put items that that are seasonal (like your Thanksgiving turkey platter) higher up. Use your most accessible kitchen cabinets for items that you use daily.
Good luck with your kitchen cabinet organization. It’s a perfect spring-cleaning activity that will leave you feeling energized and renewed!
Sommer Poquette likes to provide kitchen tips that are both time saving and green for The Home Depot and her blog, cleanandgreenmom.org. For more info on a wide range of kitchen options, visit The Home Depot.
Photos purchased by the author from Depositphotos.com