How to Streamline and Clean Out Your Kitchen

Welcome to phase one of the Spring Kitchen Clean Out Challenge (#SpringKitchenCleanOut)

The big challenge goals:

  • Get rid of what you don't want and don't need.
  • Decrease food waste (week 2).
  • Increase usable space for your actual kitchen needs.

What it's not:

  • It's NOT a call to be a "minimalist" by having a specific number of things in your kitchen.
  • It's NOT prompt to get rid of things you like and need.
  • It's NOT a source of unnecessary stress. This is not a 'should', this is only here for you if you want to make your kitchen more efficient for YOUR life and want help. 

What to expect in Phase One:

During phase one of this two week challenge, the focus is on evaluating what's on your counter and in your cupboards. We'll look at equipment, large and small, utensils and that weird Belgian waffle maker you have in the cabinet.

We recommend you make your challenge public for accountability. Use the hashtag on Instagram Stories and in your feed (#SpringKitchenCleanOut). Engage with others taking the challenge and provide tips and support. Submit your questions, where you're stuck and thoughts to us via direct message or email and we'll share the knowledge on Instagram and in the newsletter (side note: make sure you're subscribed to the newsletter- we'll share 1 round up each week of the 2 week challenge that summarizes the tips and links). Also, helps the posts do well on Instagram so we can help more people with this fun challenge and get more eyeballs. #Honesty. And if you happen to stumble upon this post later in the year...have at it! I'll keep an eye on the hashtag no matter what. 

Today's post covers streamlining and de-cluttering your kitchen. Later this week you'll see a post on what you DON'T need in your kitchen, what we think are kitchen ESSENTIALS based on years of use as food lovers who happen to have minimalist tendencies with high standards, and lastly our tips for organizing, no matter your kitchen layout. 

minimalist organized flatware drawer


Get Started:

Time and method: It's up to you how long it takes you to accomplish the initial declutter and clean out of your kitchen. Some people are all-in-empty-everything people. Others find that very overwhelming and need to go quadrant by quadrant over several days. You do you. Chris is more of a all at once kind of guy, I'm more of a section by section with in-between clean ups so I can actually still cook in the kitchen. 

Quick Advice: Set up a keep, donate, pending section area as you sort. This gives you a place to put everything for now. Find a good music station to play, or a podcast or Audible. I also recommend going out to eat or ordering in that night for dinner because your kitchen is going to look like shit and when you're hungry you're going to hate the whole freaking project. Keep yourself fed, know it might be easier to just go out to eat. 


Clean Out Tips:

  1. Ditch doubles. Pick your favorite or the best of the two. Donate the other or sell it. Think of it as a bracket system. It has to earn the right to stay if there's more than one without reason.
  2. Be realistic about what you actually use- not your dream life- your real life. If you bought that champagne bucket because you envisioned sitting outside with it on summer nights, but you're actually more of a beer person and you want to die a thousand times over with mosquito summer so you stay inside? Probably time to get rid of the bucket. Or make it into a planter. 
  3. If you don't use it, ask yourself why. Is the why fixable? Like a missing part? Or is it because you seriously hate the functionality of the item. If you hate using it, get rid of it. It's making dead space just being stored. Make notes on what you are and aren't looking for in a replacement and keep an eye out for sales. I create a secret Pinterest board with things I'm shopping for passively so I can get the best price for the best item, not in a rush. If you're looking for product recommendations, you'll find our essential items later this week on the blog.
  4.  "Pending" is a decision. Anything you're not sure about, put it in the pending box/drawer and hold onto it for a bit of time to see if you need it or reach for it. This happened with me and a mellon baller and pastry cutter. You wouldn't think you need it, until you do...also please note we cook and style food for a living so you probably won't even need those things personally. Allowing yourself to making an item 'pending' helps you push through the project. Don't spent five minutes debating with yourself. Move on. 
minimalist kitchen marble black and white


Mini challenge prompts:

If you're happy with your current kitchen declutter state and don't need an overhaul, or you're overwhelmed by the thought of a deep clean, here are some starters:

  • Go into your kitchen, pull out one uni-tasker and see if you can get rid of it. If the thought of doing an entire clean out just scares the hell out of you, tackle it one item a day. 
  • Find three appliances (eg waffle maker, snow cone maker, etc). Can any of them go? How much space does that free up? Getting rid of the biggest items first is kind of inspiring. It changes the entire space you have in the kitchen.
  • Remove something with a ton of branding on it on your counter or stored in your cupboard. A ton of labels and text are visual clutter. That's why if you see a styled pantry, all the labels are removed and items are decanted into glass or plastic bins. The same applies to cabinets and counters.

What's Next: See the list of 25 things you DON'T need in your kitchen.

Dietitian Nutritionist and cookbook author sharing flavor-forward recipes and simplified science-driven wellness.