10 signs that you need to declutter your kitchen

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All moms know the feeling of dinnertime dread, there’s a few things we can do to take that dread down a notch and one of those is decluttering your kitchen, here’s 5 signs that your kitchen clutter is making that dread worse and it’s time to declutter your kitchen.

dishes in sink with text overlay: 10 signs that you need to declutter your kitchen

Hey everyone, welcome to the podcast today!

I’ve been working on decluttering my house lately, and I’ve been thinking a little bit about this hot topic, and I wanted to chat a little bit about clutter in the kitchen.

So we’ve talked a lot about creating peaceful, easy, family meals and we’ve touched a little bit on the dread that comes at dinnertime for many moms.

Now that dread can have a variety of causes, and I’m honestly trying to unpack a lot of those reasons on the podcast.

Now you may feel dread because you don’t know what to cook, you  may feel dread because you were a little bit over-zealous and planned something that would take an hour and you only have 15 minutes worth of energy, you may feel dread because your kids are having a needy day and you don’t know how you’re going to get the cooking done and have them leave you alone enough to do it.

But today I want to dig into a reason for the dinnertime dread that we haven’t talked about a lot, and that is clutter.

Why kitchen clutter is so tricky

Clutter is a HUGE trigger for me, and at this point it’s usually the reason that I don’t want to make dinner at 4:00 PM if I run into that scenario. 

The thing about clutter, is that it can be super sneaky.

First off, I want to state that I don’t consider myself a minimalist.  There’s a lot of things about minimalism that I don’t really support, and I think that minimalism in many cases is perfectionism in a different package.  Minimalism creates this idea that if you don’t have a perfectly curated kitchen, a perfect collection of high quality equipment, nothing out of place, then you aren’t good enough, your kitchen isn’t good enough, nothing is good enough.

Now, if you DO consider yourself a minimalist, I’m not making any of these assumptions about you.  I definitely see the value in a decluttered home, I’m just hoping to offer a more realistic, and less perfectionistic perspective than what I often see from minimalist blogs and accounts.

…But here’s how clutter and materialism can be sneaky. 

You might think that your things are well-enough organized so they aren’t really affecting you because you have space for them.

Or you may think that the convenience the item is going to add to your life will mitigate any needs associated with storing the item so it’s worth it.

So I guess what I mean is that you might not think that the clutter or too much stuff in your kitchen is really affecting you because you’ve gotten used to it, but if you did remove some of that clutter you would be so much more likely to get in your kitchen and actually use what’s left.  So here are some signs that your kitchen is in need a of a declutter.  If you find yourself nodding your head with any of these, schedule a declutter session and see how much better you feel about cooking in the weeks that follow.

One last thing I want to bring up is that once you have created a system for organizing and storing things in your kitchen and your whole home, the decluttering process becomes so much easier, and your home starts to tell you when it’s time to declutter your kitchen.  I just went through my bathroom and it was easy to see where I needed to declutter because the bins I had created for all of my cosmetics were overflowing.

So rather than get more bins, I knew that I had enough storage space in the bins and spaces I had so I started looking for makeup colors I rarely wore or mascara bottles that were basically empty, or makeup brushes that I had 3 different versions of.  Within 10 minutes I had solved the bathroom clutter problem because the system was already created.

So depending on where you are, a little kitchen declutter might be a big project (where you create the system) or a small one where you manage the system, but if you are at the point of needing a system consider all the benefits to having one to get you through the big project.  If you do it right, you will only need to do a BIG kitchen declutter once.

Let me know if you’d like more to dig more into systems for organizing and decluttering in a future episode.

Alright friends, I think we are ready to dive into the signs that your kitchen needs a declutter.

10 signs that you need to declutter your kitchen 

  1. You have enough kitchen tools that you still have enough items to cook even when your sink and dishwasher are full.

    1. You might think this is a good thing, and that you are always prepared, but really this just allows you to let things get messy because you have no reason to clean them. It reminds me of when I lived in a college dorm and we all had our own sets of dishes.  None of us had any reason to do the dishes, and because of that there was constantly a huge pile of dishes in the sink.
  2. You rarely have space on your countertops to cook

    1. No one wants to cook if when it’s time to cook there are dirty dishes, kid’s crafts, mail, school work, the whole shebang! The kitchen tends to be a landing place for all of these things, but if your counter is constantly cluttered by things that don’t belong there, it may be time to analyze what’s causing the clutter and see if you can come up with a solution to keep it contained so your counters stay relatively clear
  3. You feel overwhelmed when it’s time to clean the kitchen because your cupboards and drawers are too full

    1. Cleaning is overwhelming and takes a long time when things don’t have a permanent and proper home in your house. This makes cleaning take way too much brain power.  You’ll find yourself having to think about each and every item before finding a spot for it, or you’ll  make piles of things to put away later.  If things don’t have a proper home, it’s a sign you have too much stuff for the amount of space that you have. Give things a proper home and you’ll be able to clean up so much more quickly because putting things away will be automatic and not require a lot of thought.
  4. You can’t find items that you use frequently

    1. You may think that you don’t have a clutter problem because you have space for it all in your cupboards (this happens to me because I have a fairly large kitchen with lots of cabinet space) but just because you have room for things, doesn’t mean that you need to have them. A drawer full of things that you don’t use just creates an opportunity to camoflauge and bury the things that you actually do use. If things you use are constantly being hidden, you probably have too many things
  5. You feel like you can’t tell someone where something is, you have to go find it for them

    1. This happens to me a lot. If when I have a guest, I can’t easily tell them where the napkins or spoons or glasses are, or if I am embarrassed thinking about them opening my cupboards it’s probably a sign that the cupboards could use a little TLC. 
  6. You have to over-stack items to make space for them

    1. This is another one that you might be familiar with. It’s time to clean the kitchen, but you don’t want to put the dishes away because the only way all the pots and pans fit is if they are precariously stacked in exactly the right order.   Ask yourself if it’s really worth all of that work to put things away, or if you could do just fine with fewer pots/pans/tupperwares/whatever the giant pile is made of
  7. You have a pantry and freezer full of food, but you draw a blank when you’re trying to think of what to cook or eat

    1. I can always tell things in my freezer are too cluttered when I can’t think of anything useful to make, or worse, I don’t know what’s buried in there. When your freezer is organized it’s actually a meal planning help because you can open it up and easily see several items you could add to your meal plan.  This is basically impossible when your pantry and freezer are bursting at the seams and you are much more likely to waste, or worse purchase things you already have further adding to the clutter when it gets to be this way.  When I feel this I know it’s time to declutter the kitchen. 
  8. You have to store things on your counter

    1. …okay, this is an area where I’m not a perfectionist. My blender lives on my counter, I’m not going to make smoothies if I have to get the blender out everytime.  I have flour and sugar jars aon the counter so baking is convenient, and I keep a fruit bowl out to make eating fruit convenient.  So I have no problem with using your counters as storage when it serves a purpose…but when you are storing cereal boxes on the fridge, bags of chips and bread on the counter just because there’s nowhere else to put these items, that’s a sign that you might need to clear up space.
  9. You have a lot of items that you can’t remember when you last used them

    1. I am finally getting rid of my pasta maker this year. I’m a little sad about it, but after using it maybe 4 times in the past 5 years that I’ve owned it I’ve decided that the cost of storing it isn’t worth the “joy” I get in using it once a year.  If you have a large stash of items you use once a year or less, you may want to consider whether owning and storing that item is worth it, and if you decide it is worth it you may want to find a place to store it outside of your kitchen where it’s taking up less valuable space and you can get it out when you need it
  10. Your kitchen often feels too messy to be functional

    1. This is the most important question to consider. If you frequently feel like you would cook if your kitchen was clean, this is a sure sign that you could declutter.  Why own 20 things you never use because you r kitchen is too messy when you could own 5 things you use all the time? 

Alright friends, thanks so much for tuning in, hopefully this has given you an idea of one thing that may be keeping you out of the kitchen and let you know that you need to get things under control if you want to enjoy cooking more.

This is another topic that I felt like would be better split into two, so next month we will go over what items a minimalist kitchen needs.

…next week though we’ll be welcoming a special guest, chef dennis who will be telling us all about insider chef’s secrets to managing your kitchen.  This is my favorite interview I’ve done in awhile and I’m so excited to share it with you !

Like this?  Here’s more signs you need to declutter your whole home! 

You might also like : 

Simple habits for becoming a cleaner cook

How to stop wasting food with meal planning

Thanks for listening, until next week, happy planning! 

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