Blitz Your Kitchen Clutter with these Top 10 Tips
Updated: Apr 26, 2019
Springtime has a natural uplifting energy to it doesn’t it? Coming out of the dark and greyness of winter, the longer days means there’s more daylight. It makes us see our stuff/our home in a different way. The daylight and blue skies are lovely and a promise of what’s to come, however this also means we can see more dust and grime!
And that’s where National Spring Cleaning Week from 6-12 March steps in to inspire us to tackle that muck head on. You may know that I’m a member of APDO (Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers). This year APDO have teamed up with National Spring Cleaning Week for the first time and I’m proud to kick start the week with a look at spring-cleaning the heart of the house: the kitchen.
Clear first, clean second
Many people do a big spring clean at this time of year and the kitchen is a great place to start. Spring-cleaning is rejuvenating but what happens when you have clutter? Can you still spring clean? Of course you can but trying to clean when you have clutter is like having an ashtray on the back of a motorbike. What would be easier is clear your clutter first then spring clean. You’ll find that once you declutter the cleaning is so much quicker to do and it will save you time to maintain it in the future. It’s more logical…clear first, clean second.
Things that make you go…
Having clutter does not equate to a healthy environment. I’m sure you know the drawbacks of having a dirty and cluttered kitchen. Kitchens are where we prepare our food and drink and if it’s not hygienic can lead to food poisoning or trigger allergies. It can be a hotbed for trapping dust (think dead skin cells and other debris that has been brought in or blown into your home from outside), and it can allow germs and mould to catch hold that can trigger respiratory infections. It could even provide a nice hidey-hole for mice.
I came across this snippet of info recently: “Most kitchen sinks actually have more germs than the toilet. Most people think of the toilet as the most contaminated part of the house, but in fact the kitchen sink typically contains 100,000 times more germs than a bathroom or lavatory.”
And how about this little gem: “A used kitchen sponge can contain thousands of bacteria per square inch, including E. coli and salmonella. The sponge's moist micro-crevices are a trap for germs and are difficult to disinfect.”
If that made you squirm, hold on to your hats it gets worse: “The average kitchen chopping board has around 200% more faecal bacteria on it than the average toilet seat. Hygiene experts advise you to use separate chopping boards for red meat, poultry, fish and vegetables.”
So are you ready?
Here come those 10 top tips for you. Fling open your windows and start blitzing your kitchen.
1. Where to start?
There’s no absolute best place to start. You could begin with a cupboard or a drawer. The tops of cupboards? How about the kitchen sink, fridge, oven? A worktop and go on to clear all the worktops. The kitchen table if you have one? The window ledge? You choose but bear in mind that dust travels downwards so it’s worth starting higher up like the top of a cupboard than lower down like the kitchen floor.
Think about what bothers you the most? What will give you a quick win? What will inspire you to continue clutter clearing? What will start to give you a healthy space to prepare what you eat and drink?
2. When you don’t have much time
Usually with Spring-cleaning you’d dedicate a good chunk of time to get it done but what if you don’t have much time? Find a small chunk of time, say 15, 20 or 30 minutes and commit to spending that amount of time each day to getting your kitchen sorted. By chipping away at it a bit at a time and in a consistent manner, you can declutter, organise and clean your whole kitchen.
3. One drawer, one cupboard, one worktop
Don’t take everything out of all the cupboards, drawers or off the worktops all at once. If you do you’ll see everything you have for sure but…it can be overwhelming. You might not have time to sort through it all and you’ll just end up with a bigger mess than you started which is demotivating. Deal with one drawer at a time, one cupboard, one worktop, etc.
4. Clean as you go
It makes more sense to clean the shelf you’ve clutter cleared before going on to the next shelf. Don’t leave it until the end, it’ll seem like a bigger job.
5. How to decide what’s staying and what’s going?
If it’s an item that you love – it’s a keeper.
If it’s something that you find really useful – it’s a keeper.
If you used it today, yesterday, last week – it’s a keeper.
If you can’t remember when you last used it or if you’ve never used it (maybe you bought something at an exhibition and didn’t really need it) – time to declutter.
If you have several of the same items (how many wooden spoons do you really need?) – time to declutter.
If it’s out-of-date (e.g. spices, flour, biscuits, cake decorations, bottles of oil and whatever else you find) – get rid of it.
If it’s smells off or has gone mouldy – get rid of it.
If it’s broken – get rid of it.
If it was a present and you don’t like it let alone love it – get rid of it.
If you find not everything you’d like to keep fits in the space you have – go over those items again because you either need to pare them down or find somewhere else to put them.
6. Hands up – do you love a good gadget?
I have my hands up! Yes I do love a good gadget. The right ones make cooking and baking easier and quicker, but do you have any gadgets lurking in your kitchen (or anywhere else) that you don’t use or haven’t used for a long time? If they don’t get regular use it’s time to say goodbye.
7. But what about the seasonal stuff?
With stuff like barbecue utensils, or summer picnic stuff and other seasonal items think about if you used them last year, if you still like them and if they’re really useful. If so, find somewhere to store them like a bottom drawer or top shelf. You could always store utensils with the barbecue too.
8. Do you have stuff on top of your kitchen cupboards?
Avoid storing stuff on top of your kitchen cupboards. First of all something might fall off and hurt someone and secondly, they look heavy and oppressive like they’re bearing down on you. Try it out, declutter the tops, clean them and see how it feels to you.
9. How to organise what’s left?
Store like with like and in places that make it convenient for you to use. E.g. foods you cook with - put them in cupboards/drawers next to your cooker; cooking utensils – in a drawer next to your cooker, or in a caddy next to your cooker; washing up liquid – in the cupboard underneath the sink; special occasion cutlery and crockery – in a cupboard/sideboard/dresser near to your dining table. If your dining table is in another room consider keeping these items there instead of the kitchen. Something to think about…you could always just use your ‘special occasion’ stuff every day. Use them and enjoy them.
10. Clean clean clean
Once you’ve finished with the insides of the cupboards and drawers, clean the tops of the cupboards (if you haven’t already done so), the outsides of the units, windows, fridge and other appliances (pull them out too and clean behind them), worktops and splashbacks, lightswitch, door and floor.
It’s all well and good doing a big blitz this National Spring Cleaning Week but here’s how you can keep on top of it in future:
Adopt new habits to stop clutter and mess accumulating in your kitchen again. Clear and clean up as you’re cooking. Clear up and clean up after eating. You know that old adage ‘a place for everything and everything in its place’? Put everything back in its place after use. Do a quick vacuum a couple of times a week. Rotate your food. So when you buy a new bag of flour, put it behind the older one so you use them in use-by date order. Change your washing sponges regularly. Wash your tea towels regularly. Empty the bin and recycling box regularly.
If you live with other people, perhaps agree jobs that each person can do and it teaches them good habits too.
To avoid getting in a mess, keep it organised, clean regularly and sort out any clutter that starts before it gets out of hand. And…stop buying new gadgets unless you’re 110% sure you’re going to use them and have space for them.
Get in touch for help to declutter your home:
Trained with Karen Kingston, author of Clear Your Clutter With Feng Shui
Member of APDO (Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers)