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Bar none, kitchen clutter has to be the worst to deal with!
It’s insidious. You find a must-make recipe and you need a special tool, device, or pan to pull it off.
Then the tool, device or pan goes into a dark drawer corner and is never seen or used again.
Like probably the majority of you, I have a challenging kitchen. It was built nearly 30 years ago, not stylish even then, and we don’t have the money to replace it yet.
It’s clunky with a set of overhead drawers that I bang my head into on a regular basis. Some of the corner cabinets are odd and don’t let you put much in them. Not if you actually plan to get the items out again.
I probably have more than the average number of appliances and gadgets because of my stint in culinary school. Spaetzle maker, anyone?
The solid surface countertops are sturdy but there are cracks I can’t hide and there never seems to be enough counter space for all my appliances.
At least this last point can be addressed by the Kondo Challenge.
The one big draw in my kitchen is that we have a walk-in pantry. Which the kids kept stuffed to the gills with snack foods until recently. It also became the catch-all for every appliance and pan we had no room for in the kitchen.
So the getting rid of the kitchen clutter meant also getting rid of the pantry disaster!
Because of the sheer volume of what I had to deal with, I decided to focus on the small appliances first.
Bye bye went one of the ice cream maker (why did I have two??).
The air fryer impulse buy went to one of my daughters. The rice cooker lost the competition with the instant pot since the later can also cook rice.
The huge dehydrator is living in limbo, stored temporarily in the garage, while I ponder its fate. It was expensive and got used for ONE culinary school unit on raw foods.
I don’t like raw food cuisine.
Most of the baking tools went too. I love to bake but I have no need for the train baking form or the professional decorating set.
I did keep the torch though. Hey! I can make a Baked Alaska!
From there, I moved on to canned and packaged goods. Unwanted things that were not expired were taken to a food bank.
For the most part, the small appliances I chose to keep went into the pantry if they were not in use weekly.
With no more 11 pm pasta making by my teen boys, I could cut down to just a couple of pasta types and put them in the pretty jars and containers that I already had.
Granola bars were no longer being bought by the crate, so I could open the one or two boxes I bought and put them in their containers.
I have to confess to having a ridiculous amount of specialized flours, oils and sugars that were needed during cooking classes. They were long stale but something about how much money I’d invested in them had kept me from ditching them.
But Marie Kondo says to toss it if you don’t love it, so out went the walnut oil, the coconut flour, and the Turbinado sugar.
I also decided to ditch the huge pots that I collected over the years. Even for my big family, these were over the top. If I need to cook a huge pot of soup or stew when the kids are home or during the holidays, I’ll just borrow a big pot.
Once in the kitchen itself, it was decision time. Space in strange places had to become more useful. In this awkward little corner, for example, the upper cabinet was so strangled that it was hard to get any of the serving bowls and platters out. The counter space was crammed with my stand mixer, vitamins, and random water bottles.
Once I’d chosen which servingware was going to stay and which I was getting rid of, it became a sort of jigsaw puzzle. Space created in other cabinets by removing small appliances and useless things, I created space for the things I did decide to keep.
The beauty of it is that each reclaimed and loved item now was easily seen and accessible.
It was fun to rediscover some of the pretty things, that I really could use in our everyday life, that had been buried behind debris!
And that funny little corner cabinet became the perfect place to store water bottles and my vitamins.
I have very, very few drawers in the kitchen and my spices had been crammed in a narrow one. I could never find anything or, God forbid, buy a new spice to try to find space for.
On the other side of the kitchen a large drawer held my rolling pin and assorted peelers and small tools. My ustensils had to be on the counter because there was simply no place for them!
With an assist from a couple of organizing units from Bed, Bath & Beyond, I combined the spices and the junk drawer contents into a single organized area.
Literally all that’s left to do is to stick some labels to the tops of the spice jars to identify them. A sharpie would even work!
Everything I truly need and use regularly is in that drawer (ladles, knives, etc. are in another place)
And for the first time in a very long time, my utensils are living in a drawer. Where they belong!
The rest of the kitchen was much easier to deal with once the contents of the cabinets had been purged, cleaned and organized.
At that point, I took every single thing off the counters to clean and evaluate what had earned its way back.
While the coffeepot has to be up front and center (we drink a LOT of coffee), the toaster surprisingly did not. I usually have cereal or fruit in the morning, so the toaster went into the corner with the food processor. The food processor is on a padded placemat and can easily be pulled forward when I need it.
The stand mixer is now out and easily accessible so that I can bake more easily. It’s a heavy piece of machinery and putting anywhere that required moving it to use it would have been a bad decision.
I’m really happy with the look and functionality of my kitchen now and I am not missing a single thing that I decided to part with.
One day, I’ll have the beautiful modern kitchen I dream about, but in the meantime what I have is doing its job quite well now that I’ve decluttered successfully.
Be sure to read the other Kondo Challenge posts!
How about you? What can you do to get rid of your kitchen clutter and make it more functional? Take the Kondo Challenge and post photos of your Before and After on the Facebook page!
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