If you’ve been thinking about uncluttering your home but don’t really know where to start, the kitchen is a good place to take the first steps. It’s usually a little easier to tell what does and doesn’t belong in there and what should definitely be thrown out.

Your kitchen should be a space for loving food preparation or at least a clean space for handling eatables. It’s not a storage room. Figure out what you are and aren’t using, and determine what really has value and is worth the space it takes up—and what doesn’t.

Expired and Expiring

First, let’s toss some stuff. Rummage through your pantry and countertops. Get to the backs of the shelves and the corners of the fridge drawers. If anything is expired or clearly a health hazard, get rid of it! Old cereal boxes like to hide in the shadows of pantry shelves; they’re stale. Your kids will never eat them. Garlic might be sprouting in that forgotten vegetable drawer in the fridge. Unless it’s fresh and in high demand with the household, throw it away. It’s taking up space and probably threatening the health standards of your kitchen.

Appliances

Talk about bulky. Kitchen appliances are commonly given as gifts or acquired as impulse buys. When is that last time you really used that bread maker? What about that cotton candy machine your kids used maybe once or twice? Broken appliances obviously are the first to go. Machines you don’t use are just taking up space. Figure out if its condition is most suitable for regifting, handing down, donating, or just throwing away. Missing a lid (for over a year or two)? Get rid of it. Kept that ice cream maker just because it was a gift? Donate it or give it to someone else who is actually interested in bread making.

Plastic Food Containers

We all have that embarrassing drawer of miscellaneous food containers. Take a deep breath and sort them. Recycle the ones that don’t have matching lids, and work out a way to stack them in a way that makes them orderly and easy to access.

Plastic Bags

Do you have a collection of plastic bags from the grocery store inside another plastic bag? You’re not alone. They can be useful for small trash can liners, dirt barriers for packing shoes, and more. But there’s only so many that you need at one time. Part with a portion of your collection and bring it back to the store for recycling. Keep canvas bags in your car so that you won’t be accumulating more than the occasional plastic bag (when you forget, or simply when you need them).

Cookbooks

If they don’t have a stain on them, you aren’t using them enough to justify the clutter they create. Save your favorite recipes, cut out the pages, and keep them in a binder or folder. But recycle the rest of the book.

 

Know someone with a disaster-area kitchen? Share this with them so that the preparation for mealtime comes with just a little more peace.