Simplify Your Kitchen

Simplifying / Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

Centsational Girl is having a Kitchen Gadgets link party today and the timing couldn’t be better. My latest decluttering target has been the kitchen.

While sorting through what to keep and what to toss, I’ve noticed a few themes. Here’s what’s being shown the door:

Duplicates or extras or too many of something

These bowls are lovely. But I no longer have the plates that went with them and my dish obsession insures that I will never have a shortage of bowls of any kind.

Time to let somebody else get use out of them.

Coffee mugs, plastic cups, and water bottles are good candidates for the “we have too many/where did they all come from category” too. Is there a kitchen anywhere that couldn’t stand to get rid of a few of those?

Things that haven’t been used in a year or more

This Tupperware container is a perfectly good idea. It’s designed to keep fruit and vegetables fresh.

But I don’t use it. I have no idea why, but I have other bowls with lids that I always grab instead, so it’s time to free up the cabinet space this takes up.

Appliances and tools that only do one thing

Not long after writing this post I was making dinner and realized that my salad spinner only does one thing. So do my lemon juicer and my vegetable peeler and I’m definitely keeping those.

So let me revise this a little to say: appliances and tools that only do one thing unless they are used regularly and nothing else will do what they do nearly as well.

With that off my chest…

It all started when I donated a smoothie maker last month. I bought it several years ago as a Valentine’s Day present for my smoothie-loving daughter.

Never mind that it never got used (even when she’s home from college, she tends to buy her smoothies, not make them) but we have a blender that does exactly the same thing. So it was time to let the smoothie maker go.

This week’s donation includes more single use items:

  • The slicer thingy with the ridges (not it’s real name) that I only use to make cucumber slices pretty. Even that is rare so it’s not worth keeping for me.
  • The meatloaf pan that has holes in it to drain off the fat. I actually use this, but last week I watched the Pioneer Woman use a broiler pan for that very same thing on her cooking show. I’m embarrassed to admit how excited I was when I realized I could get rid of my meatloaf pan. So excited that I almost missed the fact that she completely covers the top of her meatloaf with slices of bacon. Bacon! I didn’t know that was even allowed.
  • The apple slicer was given a reprieve by my son who plucked it from the donation pile, used it on an apple right away and asked to keep it. He’d better plan on eating a lot of apples And maybe baking me a pie.

I promise you, having a kitchen stocked with only things that you actually use is just as good a feeling as having a closet full of only things that you actually wear. And realizing which things you don’t need or won’t use can prevent future buying mistakes.

Have you decluttered your kitchen lately? What suggestions or tips can you share

36 Replies to “Simplify Your Kitchen”

  1. I must confess that I had a storage container obsession in the past but since we remodeled the kitchen and got rid of what seemed like hundreds of them, I’ve been very good at keeping my inventory down to a minimum. My favorite Chinese restaurant uses decent quality plastic takeout containers which I’ve been reusing for my leftovers so I haven’t felt the need to buy any new ones in a few years. With the remodel we changed the location of the containers from an upper cabinet, which was frequently in avalanche mode, to a deep wide drawer which keeps them so much more organized. Our travel mug collection was also weeded out to just a few favorites and kids sippy cups got the boot as well.

    1. Bestmommy, your confession is safe with us! And I completely relate to avalanche mode. Travel mugs and sippy cups…those things multiply when you aren’t looking, don’t they?

  2. Hi Julie, I’m stopping over from Centsational Girl Link Party. I love this post of yours. You are so right, if you don’t use it, get rid of it. I have to go through our kitchen and other parts of the home for that matter before we have a garage sale this year. Thanks for the inspiration. :)

  3. Agreed! Isn’t it nice to get rid of those things that clutter up the kitchen? And I have to try PW’s recipe, it looks sinfully good! Thanks for joining the party!

  4. I so need to do this again! LOL! I am dish obsessed and it all honesty they are never used. 6 weeks till the neighborhood garage sale, Im cleaning. Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. Jennie, why do those dishes call to us like they do?? A neighborhood garage sale is great inspiration! Nothing like having a date on the calendar to work toward.

  5. Right now, I’m still building up my kitchen supplies but I’m trying to stay away from building up clutter and have actually done pretty well at not buying things just so I can have them. I’m a perpetual builder of storage things so I bought 1 kit and that is all I will allow myself to get right now.

    1. BOD, you’re smart to be selective. Better not to even buy it in the first place. There are so many things that look helpful/cool that it can be hard sometimes.

  6. Hi Julie,

    Let me first say I love your bio perspective, “… hired myself …”.

    In terms of de-cluttering, sometimes a single purpose item is really only that by the label the manufacturer has slapped on it. A while back I had to replace everything in my kitchen {due to a fire} and I did so with an eye to multipurpose use … like not buying a soft cheese slicer because I can use my egg slicer to do the same thing {but not really the other way around}. I know that’s a small example, but a lot of culinary tools can multitask. I have a few in my link party post.


  7. it’s so easy to accumulate kitchen items over time – buying something, and then using it once or twice. Every few years I purge my kitchen of gadgets, appliances and containers that I no longer use. it’s amazing how much more cupboard space I have afterwards =)

  8. LOL. I used to have that Tupperware item, too. They’re too hard to clean! That’s why I re-purposed mine into a marker holder (and have since gotten rid of the thing).

    1. Danette, maybe the cleaning thing is why I didn’t like it. I honestly can’t remember. And markers…I’ve got a bunch of old ones from my kids’ grade school days that I should toss. Thanks for the reminder.

  9. I vote for the apple slicer/corer, but I make alot of pies! I puchased one of those spinning, one lid fits all storage systems for 10 bucks and haven’t looked back, except to buy another! What a space saver. I still have a few large containers in the basement for carrying stuff, but this was one of the best decluttering purchases. I still have a lot of dishes and a truly spectacular mug collection, but they are all things that I use and love and have space to store and access easily.
    I really need to get rid of the extra colanders and mixing bowls. Very entertaining post.

    1. LOL Teresa, I put a colander into my donate pile after I wrote my post. Hey, I’m all for keeping stuff that you use and love. Especially if pies are involved! :)

  10. Such a great post & love the idea of getting rid of gadgets that do only one thing. I recently cleaned out my pantry and improved the organization by storing dried fruits, nuts, pastas, rice, etc in canisters that are easy to stack, label and see what is inside. It has made a huge difference in the look of the pantry and I utilize more of what is in there because I can see it.

    1. Kate, I really need to do that in my pantry. I’ll bet it looks terrific. And even better if it helps you to remember what you have.

  11. Hi Julie,

    Oh my! I am not want to ask about de-cluttering the kitchen! LOL!!! I have so much stuff but from time to time, I employ Fly Lady’s tip – the 27 fling boogie. I take a bag and fill it with 27 things, tie it up, put it in my car and drop it off at the local thrift shop. If I don’t do it ASAP, it winds up making it’s way back into my kitchen!


  12. I have so much cooking crap that I haven’t used in years. For instance, I made limoncello for a while and I have a lemon zester. I was into homemade onion rings and have a mandonline slicer. I will likely never use either of them again, yet I have a hard time giving them away.

  13. You are so right, we all have way too many things that are no longer useful. I have to purge from time to time to open up some breathing room in my cupboards. You gave some great examples of items that can somehow become useless over time. Kathysue

  14. Hey, I have one of those *make your cucumbers look pretty thingy*. It will be in my giveaway pile today…I NEVER use it! ;)!

    Timely post, as I’ll have some time this week to organize my kitchen…again, and see what else I can put in the give-away pile! :)!

  15. I am on a decluttering rampage since the baby’s on the way. It’s not like I’m gonna store my wee one in the kitchen cabinets, but I feel the need to declutter every single thing in my house! So, my kitchen has gone through a total transformation: getting rid of china I have only used once, purging a second set of non-microwaveable dishes (really, who needs two sets when I only ever use the microwaveable dishes?), and giving back kitchen appliances I never use (my mom gave me her stand mixer, ice cream maker and food processor a while ago, but I’ve never used any of them!). My list goes on and on for the rest of the house. If I haven’t used it in more than a year, it’s going into the garage sale pile!

    1. Christa, you are on a roll! Nothing like a new addition to the family to inspire a furious bit of nesting. When are you due?

  16. When we remodeled our kitchen a couple years ago, I did a serious purge, and things have remained pretty orderly since then. But it’s probably time to revisit the shelf of “extras” in the basement and weed out what we haven’t reached for in the past 2 years! I’m also ready to make a second pass on the bins of plastic kid stuff. I did it a few months ago, but we use less and less, and I could perhaps store some other everyday dishes that the kids could reach to help set the table.

  17. You totally approached this with the spirit of William Morris! Those great bowls…..reading that you realized they were superfluous and you’d be getting rid of them….I most confess I had an involuntary shudder! I too have a dish obsession and I just don’t think I could be as brave as you! Bravo!

  18. I’m trimming down the clutter prior to letting a couple of rooms – I’m amazed at the truly useless stuff that collects at the back of big cupboards.

    Now they are all clean and I can see what we have – and can see what has made its way into students rooms and never resurfaced again LOL

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