Eight Ways to Declutter the Kitchen

As I am up to my eyeballs in boxes (for packing and moving) these days, I am constantly reminding myself how I need to eliminate the clutter for my next house. The amount of stuff that keeps pouring out of my closets and cabinets, chests and shelves is embarrassing! From now on, no more piles stashed away or hidden in drawers. Mess, be gone!! Today, I am delighted to have Jennifer Riner of Zillow as a guest writer for Interior Canvas. Her topic couldn't be more pertinent as she shares fabulous tips on ways to declutter the most lived in room in the house…THE KITCHEN! IS-15ew2yo4d0cpp The kitchen is one of the most frequented rooms of a house, and it’s no surprise that designers and agents often refer to the kitchen as, “the heart of the home.” Kitchens have many functions and typically end up messy and disorganized amidst the chaos of day-to-day life. However, it’s important to keep them clean and orderly to best serve their foremost culinary purposes. Consider the following eight strategies to create more functional, less-cluttered kitchens. 1. Purge Old Items Food trends are tempting to follow, especially when ingredients like chia seeds and kale reap outstanding health benefits. However, sometimes these goods, albeit healthy, aren’t the most practical for average meals and end up going stale. Some fresh fruits and vegetables turn quickly as well, even if homeowners eat them often. Make sure to regularly purge perishable foods to avoid consuming bacteria, parasites or viruses from spoiled food that can cause Salmonella or food poisoning. 2. Donate Canned Goods It’s tempting to purchase canned soups and sides in bulk, for cheaper and seemingly better values. However, canned goods are sometimes pushed to the back of pantries, sitting idle and unnoticed for years. Their extended expiration dates occasionally encourage homeowners to keep them around a little while longer. Contrary to popular belief, canned goods do go bad after specific dates and it’s better to donate these items for immediate consumption than continue to let them take up space in pantries and cabinets. Spend an afternoon sifting through less-frequented jars of beans and broths. Then, donate canned food to drives and local schools or libraries for good use. Contributing unused items helps those who can’t afford their own ingredients and saves space in homeowners’ cabinets for the foods they actually eat. 3. Clear off the Countertops Even spotless kitchens display small countertop appliances like toasters and stand mixers. On the other hand, allowing small things like letters and bills to pile up and create disarray is not an effective use of food prep space. Use drawers for keys and mail, or consider wall-mounted letter holders to keep files organized. Put away small appliances so they don’t overtake counter space. Last, use bowls and vases to display fruits and flowers so kitchens appear homey but organized. 4. Label Dried Goods Avoid stacking up old, clashing cardboard boxes in kitchen cabinets. Pour cereals, crackers and other grains into reusable, sealable plastic containers. Print labels to create seamless accessibility and orderly appearances. These containers tend to keep foods fresh longer than manufactures’ boxes, allowing more time for consumption before going stale. 5. Organize the Fridge Store refrigerated foods according to classification, such as meat, vegetables or dairy, or organize by most applicable meal time. By designating spaces for specific foods, homeowners know where to locate their ingredients when they are pressed for time. Even better, creating grocery lists is easier when there are clear, empty spaces where staple items normally sit. 6. Creatively Hang Spices Come up with stylish ways to hang spice racks, such as recycling tic-tac containers or hanging magnetic boards for easy organization. Spinning spice racks are common in traditional kitchens where homeowners don’t mind displaying their ingredients for guests to see. For those who prefer to keep goods hidden, use fabric over-the-door organizers with plastic pockets so labels are easy to recognize. 7. Opt for Neutral Tones Bright and clean kitchens appear less cluttered than their richly-colored counterparts because they allow more sunlight and give the illusion of open space. Therefore, using whites and light greys in culinary spaces is better for those who prefer clean, streamlined appearances. Keep in mind that lightly-colored surfaces and walls require more upkeep, especially for households with kids. Individuals searching for new homes should keep kitchen color schemes in mind before deciding on properties. Marble countertops are beautiful, for instance, but not the most appropriate options for families with small children as the stone is porous and stains more easily than light-colored alternatives. 8. Delineate Spaces Many families use their kitchens for more than just cooking. Kitchens transform into dining spaces, study spots, game areas and hangout rooms – depending on the time of day. Homes with large kitchens might allow owners to create multi-functional spaces within one large open layout. In this case, consider installing built-in desks along empty walls or pull-out televisions from kitchen cabinets. These techniques require upkeep and maintenance to maintain healthy and clean kitchens. Don’t expect organization to occur in one weekend. For best results, develop good habits, promote them to housemates, significant others and/or children and adopt these practices as long-standing solutions to messy and inefficient kitchens.

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Thank you, Jennifer and Zillow! I'll be pasting these tips on my fridge as reminders in my next house! Mess, be gone!!

Happy Friday everyone!

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(Photo courtesy of Zillow)