The kitchen is a magnet for collecting and storing lots of stuff and my house is no different. Kitchen units can get cluttered up with; electronic gadgets that are supposed to make our life easier, a dumping ground for post that needs to be sorted, kids pictures, books and bits and pieces waiting to be put way. Not to mention the cupboards bulging with food and more gadgets as well as dishes upon dishes.
Unfortunately we become so used to seeing all this stuff building up in our kitchens that just adds to the clutter in our homes, resulting in our eyes sweeping around the room and getting distracted by all this stuff, which then adds to the clutter in our minds and this affects how we feel.
In our house we have a kitchen diner, which is the one room everyone gets drawn to, we cook, we listen to the radio, the kids do homework, we have coffee with friends and family, I create art and crafts with the children, it’s my mini office, you name it and that is what probably happens in our kitchen diner.
In order to simplify the way we live and work as a family the kitchen is one of the most important rooms in our house that needs to be simplified. Starting with kitchen units, which is where our eyes are drawn to first. So I started to simplify our kitchen units by following these simple tasks.
Remove everything from the kitchen units and pile everything up together onto the dining room table.
Make a pile of all the things that do not live in the kitchen and need to be put away in their right place. For example my daughters Barbie does not need to live on my kitchen units and nor does my husband’s collection of spanners and screwdrivers. (Then put them away in the right place, where they are supposed to live)
Make a pile of all the items I rarely use but are supposed to make my life easier when producing delicious meals for my family. I asked myself, when was the last time I used this item? If I can’t remember, that item gets put into a pile for the charity shop or car boot sale.
Have I used this item in the last 3 weeks or maybe a month and if so, did I use it regularly? For example the toaster, microwave etc… If the answer is no, that item also gets put into a pile for the charity shop or car boot sale
Make a pile of all the non-gadget items like jars, fruit bowls, cook books etc.. I have rather a large collection of cookbooks but do I really need them all? If not into the pile for charity shop or car boot sale they go. Does the dry food filled in all those glass jars get used each week? For example rice, homemade bread crumbs, tea, coffee etc.. If not into the food cupboard they go.
Now I am left with just the important things that get used every day if not at least 2 or 3 times a week. These things can now find a new home on my kitchen unit.
To stop any of the items that I put into the charity shop pile (at the moment I don’t have a car boot sale pile because the car boot season does not start for another month) from creeping back into the kitchen, I placed them into my large reusable shopping bags, put them in the boot of my car and I drive straight to the charity shop. When I returned home and walked into my kitchen diner, I instantly felt pleased with myself and more relaxed.
The first thing my husband said when he came in from work was, the kitchen looks so much bigger.
The biggest downfall in our kitchen is filling the cupboard space with everything that I would love to live on our units. This is usually nearly every gadget that is supposed to make my life easier but I have only used once or twice or they don’t make my life easier at all because they are so complicated to use.
Similar to the strategies I used for my kitchen units to sort out my bulging kitchen draws and cupboards. I emptied each drawer and cupboard and then asked the same questions as I did the day before. When was the last time I used this? Then I reorganised each cupboard and draw.
- Draws – Cutlery, Baking and Jam making, Tea towels / oven gloves, Aprons and reusable plastic bags for freezing
- Food Cupboard -Tins, Baking ingredients ,Dried herbs, oils etc ..
- Cupboard 1 – Slow cooker, cereal, juice, Glass jars (for freezing sauces, homemade jam, pickled food etc..), Plastic pots for naked shopping (Week 3 Rubbish Challenge)
- Cupboard 2 – Plates (we only need 5 as there are only 5 of us in the house), Frying pan, saucepans baking tins casserole dishes etc..
- Cupboard 3 – Cups, glasses, breakfast plates and jugs
- Cupboard 4 – All the ingredients I need to make my own cleaning products, Floor brush and pan, light bulbs etc..
This took me nearly all day but as each drawer and cupboard was sorted I started to feel better and the more I sorted the more pleasurable it became. At the end of the process I had a massive pile of stuff that we just did not need and I really don’t even know why I thought buying it would be a good idea, let alone clutter up my kitchen!
Just like the day before I didn’t want anything from this huge pile to slowly drip back into the cupboards and draws so yes you guessed it. Into the boot of my car they went and straight off to the charity shop.
To my amazement not only does my kitchen feel bigger, I wondered why I constantly complained that I never had enough unit space or cupboard space. My kitchen is so much less stressful to work in and meals are produced so much quicker because I don’t have to hunt for every bit of equipment that I need to make a meal, like that saucepan lid that always ended up hidden in the back of the cupboard behind a big mixing bowl.
What are your tips for creating a simplified kitchen that works to its full potential?