If you find you’re searching for space to store a new pan or serving dish but find you are out of room, it’s time to declutter your kitchen cabinets. This happens to all of us at one time or another but especially as we age because we’ve inherited things from other people.
Whether your kitchen is large or small, when you can’t find enough storage space it’s time to do something about it.
Five Things You Can Clear Out to Declutter Your Kitchen Cabinets
1. Utensils and Gadgets
There are a lot of gadgets and utensils with specific uses. The question is which ones are you using and which ones never get picked up?
Here’s a test to see what you use: put 15 of your most used gadgets and utensils in your drawer or utensil holder. Take the others and put them in a bin in a different room. Throughout the month see which pieces you need to retrieve from the bin. This will give you a good idea of what you use regularly.
Some of the other utensils and gadgets may be used seasonally or you need them for specific tasks. If you find you need them, keep them. But anything you haven’t picked up, consider donating or passing to someone who can use them.
Have dozens of cookbooks from yard and library sales with recipes you swore you’d try? If you still haven’t attempted them, it’s time to do some clearing out. Even if there are one or two recipes in a cookbook that you make and like, take a photo or make a copy of them and move the book on.
You can also work this process backward by deciding what space you want the cookbooks to fit in and then begin sorting. That defined space will help you stay focused on keeping only your favorites.
Note: Don’t try to sort cookbooks when you’re hungry, it just doesn’t work.
3. Small Appliance Inventory
Take stock of what appliances you have and what you’re really using. If you have lots of appliances squirreled away for their one time per year use, consider whether or not you really need to hang on to them.
It also helps to evaluate what you use on a weekly and monthly basis. Which appliances are you pulling out to use? And whatever those are, consider rearranging them so they are easily accessible. Remember some appliances may have higher seasonal use. For example, an immersion blender may get more use in the winter for soups than it does in the summer. Try keeping those appliances together and tucked away to make room for your more frequently reached for gadgets.
4. Dishes and Glassware
When you want to declutter your kitchen cabinets, you’ll find that dish and glassware take up a considerable amount of space in your home. Here are the top items to consider thinning out.
Everyday Dishes vs. Good Dishes
There was a time when everyone had ‘everyday’ dishes and ‘good’ dishes. The good dishes are usually china and were brought out during holidays and special occasions. And as if your own set wasn’t enough, you may have inherited multiple sets from parents and grandparents.
Be honest with yourself, how often are you bringing out the good stuff? It may be only a few times a year, or maybe you haven’t used it in forever. If so you may want to consider if it’s worth the storage. Perhaps you could select your favorite set and pass the rest on.
But don’t be surprised if your children don’t want your old china and crystal. Much of it is fragile and has to be hand-washed, which doesn’t necessarily fit into the busy lives of young people.
Taking it to a consignment shop that specializes in fine china is an idea, or check with https://www.replacements.com/ to see what patterns they are purchasing.
Glassware is the same as the dishes. Think about what glasses you pull out and use every day, those are obviously the keepers. But if there are juice or beverage glasses that rarely get used consider moving them on. You’ll need to keep what you need for family gatherings, but donate or sell the rest. This goes for fine crystal as well.
Coffee cups seem to multiply in our cabinets all by themselves. Take a count of how many you have and ask yourself how many you realistically need. Keep your favorites, we all have them, but consider thinning the rest out. Especially if they are taking up an excessive amount of space, they are an easy way to declutter your kitchen cabinets.
Note: Avoid buying mugs for others as gifts. Spread the downsizing spirit and consider how difficult it will be for others to clean out their cabinets if they start accumulating them!
5. Bake and Cookware
This is another area you’ll need to evaluate objectively. Casserole dishes, how many do you need? And what size are you typically using? If you’re an empty nester you may not need three 2-quart casserole dishes. Keeping them makes sense if you regularly cook for others. Otherwise, it’s time to slim down these pieces. If you find you’re short a baking pan for a holiday meal, pick up an aluminum pan to use for the event. Or call a neighbor or friend! Chances are if they haven’t decluttered their kitchen cabinets, they’ll have one you can borrow.
In regards to cookware, three sets of pots and pans take up a lot of space when you only use one of the sets. Keep your favorite and donate the rest or pass to someone who can use it.
It’s a Process
Any downsizing and decluttering you do is a process. Tackle one area at a time and don’t try to do it all in a day or you’ll get overwhelmed and discouraged. Take it slow and remember to be honest with yourself about what you have and how you use it and you’ll have the best results.
Concord Reserve is a continuing care retirement community in Westlake, Ohio, independent lifestyle apartments, assisted living, rehab services, and more. We’re focused on supporting the vibrant and active lifestyles of our residents so they can age well. For more information, contact Concord Reserve online or at 440-871-0090.