The End of Kitchen Chaos

How to Simplify Your Kitchen for Good

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It was the coffee mugs that put me over the edge. I was in the kitchen, rummaging around in the cabinet to find a matching lid for my travel cup without success.

As I shuffled objects around, I noticed things seemed to be multiplying in there. Cups, saucers, lids, tea steepers, sugar bowls. Where did all this stuff come from?

That’s when I realized the most-used room in my home, our kitchen, was anything but inviting. It didn’t reflect the clean and cozy space I wanted for meal preparation and family gatherings.

In keeping with my resolve to eliminate excess from my life, I knew my kitchen needed exactly what my wardrobe had experienced a few months prior.

A paring down to the essentials.

If you’re interested in simplifying your wardrobe, you can read more about how I got rid of my clothes here. But for now, back to the kitchen!

I spent 10–15 minutes each day, and cleaned out one cabinet or drawer until every space in my kitchen was clutter-free and organized. I used an empty box from the garage for donations, and two large plastic bags (one for trash and one for recyclables).

If you want to make your kitchen a more functional space, end the chaos and create a simpler space in which to cook and spend time with your family. Follow these steps to get started.

  • Pick a drawer or cabinet each day, or do it all at one time. Your stuff will be there waiting for you, no matter how fast or slow you follow the process.
  • Take everything out of the cabinet(s) and put it on a flat surface (a table, counter, or island is a great place for this).
  • Put like items together so you can see how many of each you have. Then round up any of the same type of items that are being stored in other places so everything’s in one place.
  • Consider how often you use each item. If you haven’t used it in a year, it’s probably outlived its usefulness to you. Commit to passing on things you don’t use anymore.
  • Decide how many you really need of each item, and then consider cutting that amount by half. Keep the ones you like the best and use the most.
  • Donate duplicate items. You don’t need three ice cream scoops. Just keep one, and let the other two go.
  • Toss mismatched items. Part with plastic storage containers that don’t have lids, or any other items that have missing pieces.
  • Be ruthless with “free” items that have come into your home, like plastic water bottles, chopsticks, and kitchen gadgets. They may have been free, but they’re costing you storage space and cluttering up your environment. That’s not free! If these items are not being used, donate them to someone who needs them.
  • Get rid of just in case items. I used to keep extra spatulas, you know, just in case, but always used the same two favorites. So I parted with the other two.
  • Clear your counters. Move items that aren’t used every day into the new-found cabinet space you’ve created by getting rid of the excess. Your whole kitchen will look more open and spacious.

Whether your kitchen is large or small, used daily or never-cooked-in, these guidelines will help you create a simple kitchen that meets all your needs. Enjoy your new space!