Declutter Your Kitchen
You love your kitchen -- but you hate your kitchen's clutter. Try these 16 stress-free ideas for maximizing storage, improving organization, and decluttering the hub of your home.
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Ditch Extra Dishes
They might be pretty, but unless you use them regularly, a second (or third) set of dishes can be a big source of kitchen clutter. Instead, figure out what you really use, keep enough for when you host gatherings, and donate the rest. Also, declutter regularly by getting rid of chipped or broken pieces.
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Make Room for Narrow Storage
Nooks and crannies are kitchen-decluttering assets: They're perfect for a single depth of containers or dishware, which makes it less of a chore to find and organize items. Look for spots where you can easily carve out 6 or so inches -- by a mudroom door, for example. To give the space a design boost, paint the back wall a complementary color, and skip doors in favor of well-chosen items and pretty containers.
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Clear Off Countertops
Lots of stuff on your kitchen countertops equals lots of kitchen clutter. Make it a habit to clear and organize those surfaces at least once a day. Stash unnecessary pieces in cabinets, and corral loose bits and pieces in pretty bowls or trays.
Declutter One Drawer at a Time
The old saying that Rome wasn't built in a day certainly applies to kitchen decluttering: You don't have to tackle the whole room at once. One drawer, one cabinet, one shelf can make a big difference. A good place to start is the junk drawer: It's a source of daily necessities and never-ending frustration. To declutter it once and for all, outfit the space with a variety of clear organizing bins, and add a label to the bottom of each so household members know what goes where.
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Create a Communications Center
Lots of the clutter that accumulates in a kitchen happens because of daily life: keys, schedules, paperwork, and more typically land somewhere inside the home's most-used door, which is often in the kitchen. To store and organize those items, create a family communications center. It may be as simple as a reminder of what's for dinner this week, or as complex as a weekly schedule with key rings, smartphone plugs, and more. Keep it in a central spot so decluttering the kitchen becomes part of the daily routine.
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Hang Pots and Pans
Many big cooking pieces, such as pots and pans, aren't used with daily frequency. But still, they're good to have when the need arises. A good storage solution that can help declutter a drawer is to install a hanging rod -- here, a simple length of pipe. If you don't have room to suspend it over an island or sink, consider a near-the-ceiling spot in an open kitchen eating space -- here, in a seating nook adjacent to the kitchen.
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Evaluate Your Appliances
Be honest: When's the last time you used that fancy mixer, or food processor, or juicer? Those pieces can quickly gobble precious counter and cabinet space, even as they gather dust. It's time to declutter: If you haven't used an appliance in a year, find it a new home. If you use it several times a year, find a spot other than the countertop to store it.
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Toss Container Odds and Ends
A cracked lid, a chipped container: The wear and tear on kitchen storage equals lots of unmatched pieces. At least twice a year, pull them all out of your cabinets, pairing lids with containers and throwing away anything that doesn't have a match or has seen better days. Replace, if necessary, with clear containers that have useable lids (think flip, snap, and pourable).
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Add a Moveable Island
Sometimes the decluttering solution simply is more storage, especially if cabinets and counters are limited. In that case, think about options for a more flexible island -- one that you can scoot to different spots in the kitchen, or move to the dining room for an on-the-spot buffet station. Look for a piece that has a work surface and storage, and be thoughtful about how you organize it. Keep kitchen tools at the ready, for example, or pretty linens in baskets.
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Move Your Electronics
Tech in the kitchen is great: It offers ways to store favorite recipes, access tips, even watch cooking shows. But tech on the counters is another story. Spills, drips, and splatters can mess up or even ruin your tablet or smartphone. To declutter the counter and protect those spendy pieces, look for mounting hooks or hangers that get electronics up and at eye level for better viewing.
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Grab Storage Near Ceilings and Windows
A few inches here and there can quickly add up to loads of organization-ready square feet, especially around windows and near ceilings. That, in turn, can offer space to open up cabinets and drawers by displaying pretty collections or oft-used pieces in convenient spots. Here, narrow shelves stretch around a low window and up to the ceiling; the pared-down display of wood, ceramic, and glass pieces helps the space feel open and airy.
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Clear Out Under the Sink
A few clever, practical storage pieces can help you declutter your under-sink spot in the kitchen. Remove everything first, and add an elevated shelf to take advantage of the space's height. Put cleaning-solution bottles in a caddy (to better cart them from room to room) or on a lazy Susan. Hooks and additional trays keep other cleaning necessities in easy view.
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Tackle the Fridge
Think about how many times you open the fridge on a daily basis. Now name the last time you decluttered this valuable appliance. Probably rarely, right? And yet a fridge can be a huge source of kitchen clutter, with expired food, old bottles, and more gobbling up valuable inches. Try to declutter yours once a month: Take everything out, give inside surfaces a wipe-down, and toss that bottle you've never opened, the forgotten leftovers, or the past-its-date products.
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Make Food Accessible
All those snacks, packages, boxes, and bottles can quickly clutter up a pantry. To boost your organization, put those things eaten frequently, especially by kids, in their own containers and on easily accessible shelves.
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Toss Anything Old or Broken
Dingy kitchen towels, a pan with a broken handle, a cracked cutting board: Sentiment or habit might have prevented you from tossing or replacing these pieces, but anything old or broken simply adds to your kitchen's clutter problems. Take an hour or two to review your cabinets and drawers, and get rid of anything that is in disrepair or has outlived its usefulness.
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Learn to Love Labels
Part of any good kitchen-decluttering is creating routines and uniformity -- and sticking to them. That means repackaging food into more storage-friendly containers if you can (think baking supplies in clear jars) and making your organizing system user-friendly for you and your family. To do that in a pantry or food cabinet, add labels to baskets, jars, and shelves so everyone knows where to find things (and where to put them away, too).