The kitchen can be a major clutter hotspot in the home. Some of this ground has been covered on the clutter decisions page, but this is fertile territory. Nobody ever thinks their kitchen is big enough. Everyone would like to have a table in their kitchen big enough for the whole family to eat around and some are lucky enough to have this. Even if your kitchen is small enough to only cook and prepare food in you can bet that people will congregate there. Kitchen have a magnetic attraction. People like to be close to the source of food and drink, and also the heat of the cooker draws people in, the way a real fire does. Because of the way people accumulate in the kitchen, this room becomes the heart and soul of the home.
The side effect of all this is that the kitchen can become cluttered very quickly. Look in your cupboards, in your drawers, and on your worktops and think to yourself, which of this stuff do I actually use. When did I last use this item or gadget. If you have never used it, haven’t used it for ages, it’s broken or you don’t know what it’s for then it is clutter. You may think you will use the item one day. You won’t! If you have had it for a couple of years and you haven’t summoned up the enthusiasm to use it yet, then you never will.
There are many of these cluttering cupboards and littering worktops. When did you last use that ice cream maker, or that food processor? You may have bought it in good faith intending to use it regularly, but if your lifestyle doesn’t allow you time to make ice cream, or to chop up food from scratch, then either change your lifestyle to free up more time, or accept the reality that you don’t have time to use these things. Having things you don’t use not only causes clutter, but can engender feelings of guilt for not using the gadget. Don’t feel guilty for not using the esspresso maker, get rid of it: then no more guilt. Instead you can feel smug at how tidy and spacious your kitchen looks compared with your friends. You can fool them into thinking your kitchen is bigger than it is by getting rid of the gadget clutter. Don’t underestimate smugness. It’s a great feeling!
Cutlery, crockery and saucepan clutter
These can be clutter too! If you have too many saucepans of the same size then you can’t be using all of them at the same time. The chances are you use the same favourite saucepans all the time. They are easy to use, easy to clean, light, you like the shape or colour. Whatever the reason, the favourites get used time and time again. So what are the others for? The ones you don’t use, the spare or old saucepans. Maybe you are keeping them in case the good one breaks, but if that happened you wouldn’t dig out the old, ugly one, you’d replace the good one.
The same is true of cutlery and crockery. That cutlery where the handles are scratched and discoloured, the silver plated cutlery which makes all your food taste slightly metallic so you never use them or only inflict them on unfortunate dinner guests. The cutlery which is hard to grip or just doesn’t feel comfortable in your hand, or can’t go in the dishwasher. This stuff hardly ever or never gets used but takes up precious space and space is never at more of a premium than in your kitchen.
Crockery can be a clutter problem too. Too many sets of china mean that half of it never gets used. You will use the one that can go in the dishwasher or the one that has the nicest pattern. The rest will just collect dust. Dump the dust collectors and free up that precious space.
Tea towel, oven glove and apron clutter
If you have a whole drawer full of tea towels, then you have too many. There are only so many you can actually use. Get rid of the worn ones and the ugly ones to start with, and then decide how many you actually need. Ten may be reasonable to allow for down time when being washed, twenty is too many. The same applies to oven gloves and aprons, although here two aprons per person and two oven gloves per kitchen will be plenty. How many people will be wearing them at the same time, after all!
Under the sink clutter
Most people keep cleaning products under their kitchen sink and some keep newspapers, plastic shopping bags, clothes pegs and other paraphernalia as well. Some of this stuff will have been there for donkeys years so a closer look could reveal some clutter gold. How many bottles of fluid are empty, clogged up, or just never used? How many dried up sponges, rock hard cloths, black dusters, and hairless mops are under there? These should be easy to dispose of and will make cleaning much easier now that you will be able to find the things that you actually do use. By the way, you can have too many old newspapers and plastic shopping bags. More than ten of each is probably too many.
Yes, even food can be clutter if it has gone off. How many spices, sauces, and packets are past their use by date in your cupboard? How much food in your fridge has gone off? Look in the vegetable tray at the bottom for rotting fruit and veg, whilst some of those bottles in the fridge could be a bit dubious. Everyone wants a bigger fridge but maybe you don’t need one if you could just get rid of some of that food clutter.
Foreign object clutter
Other kitchen clutter can be caused by things which shouldn’t be there in the first place, like paperwork. This has a tendency to accumulate in the kitchen because maybe you open the post while making your morning tea or coffee, or people just dump it as they pass through. If this doesn’t get cleared up regularly then it will become unmanageable very quickly. Get it out of the kitchen first of all and then go through it, thin it out, and then file away the important stuff. We will talk more about paper later in this website.
Lots of people have a junk drawer in their kitchen. A typical junk drawer may contain: screws, elastic bands, pony tail bands, plastic knives and forks, lids for jam jars or plastic jars, bits of paper with something unintelligible written on, recipe cards, battered playing cards, driving license, library card, booklet that came with the blender, solitary spoon, paper clips, allen keys, screwdriver, strange plastic object, marble, chewed pens and pencils, strange metal object, rubber, pencil sharpener, hairgrip, beads, old keys, tangled string, paper labels, small padlock with unknown combination, broken torch. Most of this stuff is pure clutter. With the exception of the driving license, the library card and maybe the allen keys, I would be tempted to tip the whole lot in the bin. One empty drawer. This may seem drastic but often you don’t even know what is in there, and do you really want to spend your precious free time marrying up stray paper clips with the rest of you collection or untangling string, or trying to work out what lock that old key fits, or what the combination to that padlock could possibly be? If you haven’t needed it before now then it can’t be that vital to the workings of your life. Junk drawers are full of just that, pure clutter.