Declutter and Freshen Up Your Kitchen
It’s time for a kitchen refresh! I love sharing tips around organizing a space because I am perpetually revising mine in the van, tiny house and even when I go camping. But a kitchen (along with your bedroom) is a sacred space. This is where you nourish yourself from the inside out, connect with loved ones and be social, plus practice a little creativity whipping up simple yet beautiful meals. It really is true when they say the kitchen is the heart of the home.
Depending on how large, full or disorganized your kitchen currently is (it's all good!), this post may be overwhelming. So I've split it into two sections. First pairing down your dry and perishable food items then decluttering your kitchen items. Feel free to address both or one at a time. I recommend beginning with food because that's what most directly effects your health.
Here we go!
Remove Expired Foods and Display YES Foods
Dry foods - anything that has a shelf life and doesn’t require refrigeration (including spices, grains, cereals, canned goods, baking ingredients, drink mixes, snacks, etc)
- Throw out or compost any expired food. Locate the label and identify the expiration date. If you can’t locate the date or it doesn’t have one and you know you're not going to use it any time soon, it goes. Don’t get side tracked! Stay focused on one task at a time. First is operation remove old food.
- Pull remaining food items out and onto the kitchen counter or a table. Become familiar with what foods you have left and want to keep. Ask yourself: "Do I feel good when I eat this? Do I have to practice self-control around this being in my home? Would I buy it again?" Make your home a safe haven for yummy AND nutritious foods.
- If there are food items that aren’t expired but have been hanging out for more than 1 or 2 years and you know you aren’t going to touch any time soon, start a giveaway pile.
- Now that your storage space is clear, give it a wipe down with a vinegar and essential oil spray with a clean cloth or paper towel. Let it dry. To make the vinegar cleaning spray, combine 3 parts water, 1 part white vinegar and 10 drops of your favorite essential oil in a spray bottle and shake. Ideal kitchen essential oil smells may be lemon, orange or juniper.
- Begin to place food items back in cabinets and the pantry in similar groups, with labels facing out so you can easily find things in the future.
Refrigerated/freezer foods - anything in the fridge and freezer (just to be clear ;) Repeat steps 1-5 above.
*Important note: The most common fridge clutter I see are an abundance of condiments. Make sure to clear out which are expired, almost empty and crusty, or know you'll never eat again. You will have so much more room in your fridge to see your food and be inspired by fresh items. Be super selective when you buy new ones to keep your fridge from overfilling.
Tips to Declutter Other Kitchen Items and Space
- Get rid multiple spares of anything - food storage containers, cooking and eating utensils, mugs, dishware, cook books, oven mitts/hot pads, pots and pans, medicines, vitamins/supplements, dish towels, kitchen gadgets, small appliances, etc
- Ask yourself: "Do I use this? Would I buy this today? Does it make my life easier? Does it contribute to easily making healthy food choices?"
- Keep your counters and sink clean and clear. This will reflect in your mind. Visual clutter and mess = mental clutter. This will also inspire you to use your kitchen and cook because it's a blank canvas and ready for a meal to be prepared. It you always have dirty dishes laying around, commit to doing the dishes every night before you go to bed. There's nothing like waking up to a clean kitchen.
- Whatever you use most often, keep it front and center. That way you don't have to remember to take your vitamins, eat fruit, drink water, use spices and herbs, etc.
- Buy less - our culture is very “shop happy.” Purchase what you need for the next week or two and remind yourself there is food available for future purchases. We are an abundant society and that’s something to be extremely grateful for. By having fewer items in your kitchen you can actually see what you have, it allows you to make smarter food choices and it provides an inner calm because your physical space is organized and paired down. Plus, you'll waste less food because fewer things will go bad.
Bonus: My Favorite Thing to Leave on the Counter
A water glass! I invite you to create a water station - pick a spot on your kitchen counter for your water glass to have a home base. That way it’s out and visible to remind you to take a sip when you walk past to stay hydrated. Choose a favorite glass cup (ditch the plastic) with a fun coster and add a reusable straw for flare. Have a family? Allow everyone to have a designated cup too and display them out together. Remember to wash your cup every other day.
Cheers to a wonderfully clean, organized and healthy kitchen!