Declutter the kitchen with my free printable decluttering calendar, and have a perfectly clean and organized kitchen by the end of the month!
It’s time for another monthly decluttering challenge! Last month we focused on a small-but-mighty space– the pantry (which you can find here)– so I thought this would be a great month to tackle the rest of the kitchen! The goal of these monthly challenges is to take one area of the house and break it down into little decluttering baby steps so that it is easy to manage and stick to but still gets you great results!
The Easiest Way to Declutter the Kitchen
Of all of the rooms in the house, decluttering the kitchen can feel the most daunting because there are so many things to store! By breaking down the process into smaller, more manageable chunks, the intimidation goes away, and you will have the decluttered kitchen you’ve been dreaming of in no time!
I keep all of our decluttering calendars neatly organized in a “decluttering vault,” and you can gain access to them by clicking the button below.
You’ll notice a few things when you download your kitchen decluttering calendar:
- There is a simple task to complete every other day. I know life can get crazy and schedules fill up, so by assigning a task only every other day, you essentially have two days to complete each one. That way if you get busy and miss a day or you have a lot of a particular item and it ends up taking a little longer than you expected, you have a built in day to catch up and won’t fall behind.
- I intentionally didn’t put specific days of the week on the calendar. The August calendar runs from day 1-31, but I didn’t include a line that says “Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc.” on purpose so that the calendar could be used for any year (or any month, for that matter)!
- Feel free to just use this calendar as a guide. If you find yourself with extra time one day and know you’ll be busy in future days, you can definitely do 2 or more of the tasks on one day, check them off, and then pick up again after your busy days have passed. The calendar is meant to get you started down the right path and give reminders of what to do next; it doesn’t have to be a hard and fast rule.
Quick Tips for Decluttering the Kitchen
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.
I thought I would lay out the process I like to use when decluttering the kitchen. You can feel free to follow it exactly, tweak it to fit your liking, or completely disregard it and use your own strategy!
1. Take all of the items from the day’s category out of the cabinets.
I have found that the decluttering process is a lot easier if I can see everything I have all in one place. Once I can see everything we own that category, I can determine how many of the item we actually need to keep around and what can go.
So for example, if I was decluttering our cups, glasses, and mugs, I would take everything that we drink out of and put it on the island. Then I would be able to see which drinking vessels we were still using and which ones I didn’t even remember we had. 😉 This would then allow me to…
2. Purge like crazy!
I try to get rid of anything and everything that we don’t truly love and/or use often. As I go through each category, I try to be as ruthless as possible because I know the less stuff I’m trying to store in my kitchen, the more likely it is to stay organized in the long run!
Anything that is broken or unusable can be thrown in the trash or recycled, and items that are still in great shape but just aren’t used by our family anymore can be donated or sold.
(I like to keep running “donate” and “sell” boxes throughout the month and then make one big donate trip and/or list everything on Facebook or Craigslist all at one time at the end of the month, but if it’s easier for you to do it as you go, that definitely works too!)
3. Put items back in an organized way.
This decluttering challenge is a great excuse to rethink how your kitchen is arranged. If everything is working well for you in the place you currently keep it, great! You can simply put items back where they go, perhaps corralling smaller items in a bin or organizer.
Lids for our food storage containers are stored in a small bin, as are the kids’ dishes!
Try to pay attention, though, and look for systems that may be able to be improved. For example, when I first set up our kitchen, I put our coffee machine right by our fridge. But after a few months of living with it this way, I realized that Donnie was walking all the way across the kitchen to get water for his coffee at the sink and then all the way back over to the machine to make his drink.
I switched some things around and put the coffee machine and supplies right by the sink, saving him a few steps and streamlining his morning routine a little bit.
our Keurig in its new spot, closer to the sink
As I go through the decluttering process and put items away, I now try to ask myself, “Are these items stored near where we use them in the kitchen on a day-to-day basis?” If the answer is yes, great! They stay where they are. If the answer is no, I try to shuffle some things around and find a more convenient spot for them.
4. But how do I organize a small kitchen?!
Small kitchens can be a challenge, but they also have forced me to get creative and think outside the box a bit to come up with solutions that allowed us to stay organized in a not-so-huge space.
our small kitchen in our former townhouse
Here are a few things that worked for me to organize our small kitchen:
- I kept fewer gadgets. I went through and got rid of any tool or appliance where I could use something else to accomplish the same purpose. I got rid of our blender because I had a Magic Bullet. I got rid of our George Foreman grill because I could accomplish the same thing on our stovetop, in the oven, or on our actual grill. I got rid of a lot of little gadgets that could be replaced by a simple knife or spoon. Because I had less, it was easier to use the items I kept and keep them organized.
- I had a “backup tub” in our garage. Kitchens seem to have a lot of items that you only use once or twice a year but still need/want to keep around. I put items like these (I’m looking at you, cookie cutters and fondue pot!) in a tub in our garage that was easily accessible and clearly labeled. That way I could still keep the items, but they were out of the way and not taking up precious space in my kitchen.
- I reworked our pantry situation. In the townhouse, we turned our entry coat closet (which was right by the kitchen) into our pantry to have more room, not only for pantry items, but for some of our small appliances as well.
our coat closet-turned-organized pantry in the townhouse
Our coats were then split between a mini mudroom we created in our former miniature pantry and a nook in the basement, right where we exited our house to the garage.
You might not have the layout to do this exact swap, but you could still get creative by bringing in a rolling cart, utilizing a piece of furniture in a neighboring room like a dining room sideboard, or creating a narrow rolling unit that slides between the refrigerator and the wall.
- I thought about space differently. In a small kitchen, there is sometimes only one spot where larger items like pots and pans can actually fit or one drawer that is convenient to hold silverware, so I started with those items that had to be placed in a certain spot and moved on from there. You can read more about my strategy for organizing a small kitchen in this post.
5. Give yourself a reward!
I know I can become a little more motivated if I promise myself a reward when I’ve finished all of my decluttering tasks! You can use the “Notes” section of the decluttering calendar to decide what your reward will be. Some ideas may be…
- A special date night with your significant other (especially if they’ve helped with the decluttering process!)
- Or if the whole family has pitched in, a special family trip to the zoo, museum, trampoline park, movies, etc.
- A manicure/pedicure
- A girls’ night out
- A day off to spend however you’d like
The possibilities are endless! Choose something that motivates you to keep going throughout the month!
6. Maintain your beautifully decluttered kitchen.
Now that we’ve worked hard to declutter our entire kitchen, the last thing we want to do is fill it right back up with more clutter! I know this can be hard, especially if you have kiddos (and/or a significant other!) that has trouble putting things back where they go. It can definitely be a battle in our house!
Some ideas you could try to help everyone in the family to put items back:
- Involve them in the organizing process and let them weigh in on where things should go. This lets them have some ownership over the space and makes them more likely to put things back.
- Use labels. I like label maker labels in the kitchen because they are small and discreet. Picture labels can work well for kids who are too young to read, even if it’s only for their own items.
- Once you’ve gotten everything where you want it, do a family kitchen “tour”, showing everyone where everything goes. You could even make it a game and have a “quiz” or play “memory” with kids to see if they can remember where items go.
- Unload the dishwasher/put away the dishes together as a family the first few times so everyone gets used to putting things back in their spots.
- Have the kids take turns checking that everything is in its spot once or twice per week. This reinforces their knowledge of where everything goes, gets everything back in its place at least weekly, and, again, gives them ownership in the process.
That’s it! It’s a simple process, but I’ve found that having a guide– like a decluttering calendar– to walk me through it makes me more likely to follow through and stick to the plan. Again, you can request your decluttering calendar and gain access to the “decluttering vault,” which will contain every new calendar when they come out each month, by clicking the button below.
If you’re looking for more inspiration for decluttering your pantry, these posts may be helpful:
Which decluttering themes would be most helpful for future monthly challenges? Let me know in the comments!
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.