10 Things Decluttering Experts Won't Keep In Kitchen Cupboards

2022-10-26 13:57:05 By : Mr. Jimmy Deng

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Keeping control of clutter in the kitchen, the busiest room in the home, is a constant challenge, especially when storage space is limited. However, these expert declutterers – all members of the Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers (APDO) – have a hit-list of things they ban from kitchen cupboards and drawers. Follow their hands-on advice and kitchen clutter traumas will become a thing of the past.

Oversized tableware you don't use very often can be stored elsewhere. 'Big casserole dishes, Christmas crockery and large serving or entertaining platters should all be moved out,' says Sue Spencer, Master KonMari consultant and founder of A Life More Organised, 'I like to keep kitchen cupboards organised so you can see, reach and easily use everything you need. Filling them with things you don't use very often makes everyday life more difficult.'

Probably one of your frequently-used kitchen things, 'but it’s unlikely that you need a whole cupboard full of unused Tupperware "just in case".' says Sue. 'Plus, this makes it difficult to find matching bits. Cut down the number of items and discard any that become misshapen or lose their lids.'

And recycle those plastic takeaway containers, because they aren't sturdy and warp in the dishwasher. Recycle carefully instead.

'A big priority is getting rid of any open packets of foods,' says Elizabeth Wickes, of The Life Organiser. 'Store foods in the right container, at the right temperature and for the right length of time in your kitchen cupboards. Proper food storage will reduce risk of waste and stretch your wallet.'

Ruta Khan Afridi of Beauty of Decluttering never puts foods with a short shelf life, such as fruit or fresh bakery, in kitchen cupboards: 'It is easy to forget it once the cupboard door is closed and it can go off or get mouldy very quickly.'

Modular food cupboard storage will maximise every centimetre. Measure carefully before buying; or you'll end up leaving the containers out on work surfaces, causing more clutter.

It's not technically a cupboard, but, 'you know that drawer in the kitchen filled with everything under the sun, such as batteries, random screwdriver, safety pins, Blu Tack, receipts, coins, rubber bands, kids' drawings… everything? It should not exist,' says Craig Hoareau of A Tidy Mind. 'By using a drawer as this catch-all for everything you don't want to put away, you're taking away prime real estate in your kitchen.'

The best way to tackle the dreaded junk is to empty the drawer's contents out onto a clear surface, categorise and declutter, then decide where the remaining items will live: 'Preferably out of the kitchen and with similar items elsewhere, unless they are used in the kitchen of course.'

Vickie Farrell of Declutteright, adds that such bits and pieces pose a hygiene hazard: 'Bacteria can build up quickly when so many random items are thrown in together. Surely this is the last thing you want in your kitchen where you prepare your food.'

Tip: If you really need to keep some essentials in a drawer, use dividers to organise each item.

All the professional declutterers agree that unused gadgets – ice cream/doughnut/slushie/popcorn makers, fondue sets, a blowtorch – shouldn't be given house room if you don't use them regularly.

'The one thing I would never have in my kitchen is a chef's blowtorch!' says Gill Gudgeon of Restore the Calm. 'I've worked with several clients where one has been unearthed in the decluttering process only for the client to look at me, shrug their shoulders and exclaim “I've never used it!”. They sit unused and unloved with romantic notions of turning crème brulees, baked alaskas and pork crackling into bronzed masterpieces. The same goes for a pasta maker. Unless you're using it regularly it's a space-hog and it's easier to buy pasta.'

Vickie admits that five years after being gifted a paella maker, she had never even used it, and has a multi-purpose wok instead. Anita Fortes, of A Neater Life Professional Organising, has counted 11 fondue sets taking up space in clients' kitchen cupboards: 'When they are discovered again, unused, years later, they invariably invoke feelings of guilt and shame in the client. Life is too short for both.'

Claire Moore of Your Space Moore Organised has a useful tip: 'If you aren't sure if you're ready to get rid of a certain gadget, store elsewhere for six months and see how often you use it.'

And if you don't, Jane Lee, of Jane Lee Interiors advises 'keeping old favourites that come out now and again in the cupboard under the stairs, in the garage, or in a spare bedroom wardrobe, ideally in boxes so they're easier to stack. Some charity shops take unwanted electrical items but check. A useful recycling resource is Recycle Your Electricals.'

'Would 16 people all be likely to be in your home and all be drinking white wine at the same time?' asks Kate Galbally of Better Organised. 'If not, it's worth considering letting some glasses go.'

Kate finds clients often have 'far more glassware than they can ever possibly use. It takes up a significant amount of space, most of it can't be stacked and there are usually glasses for all types of drinks and occasions – from tumblers and highballs to whiskey glasses, wine glasses and champagne flutes.'

Find a storage spot, sell privately, or donate to a charity shop.

It's always handy to have a home toolkit, but stash it away.

'I would not keep tools and screwdrivers in the kitchen cupboards and often see them sticking out of cups or popped in the cutlery drawer,' says APDO Volunteers Director, Marie Bateson of Cut the Clutter. 'These items are not always hygienic. Show me a person that washes a screwdriver after every use? Preferably store them in a box in the garage, shed or under the stairs.'

Mail propped up in a kitchen cupboard can easily be forgotten about, taking up precious space and possibly costing money too – especially if you forget to pay your credit card bill. 'Never do this as it becomes "out of sight out of mind",' says Claire Moore. 'Instead, set up trays and files to store letters, check post as it comes in, and recycle or shred anything not needed straight away. And do you really need all of the paper takeaway menus in the cupboard? Lots can be found online now.'

You should embrace storage containers, but only ones that fit, says Rebecca Roberts, of Curate My Space. 'Round storage containers, for example. These look great, especially glass jars with wooden lids, but they are not very practical, especially in small kitchen cupboards as they don't make maximum use of space. Choose rectangular or square, stackable containers instead.”

She also ditches wicker baskets: 'They are not easy to keep clean and there are always leaks and spills in kitchen cupboards.'

Be honest about how often you use those huge cookery books, says Jane Lee. 'Jamie, Nigella, Rick and Gordon are often crammed into the back of kitchen cupboards and unlikely to ever see the light of day.'

Instead, keep a selection close to hand, stacked on a kitchen shelf or worktop, so they're more likely to be flicked through. 'These days it's easy to turn to Google but there's something special about a well-thumbed, food-splattered favourite,' she admits. 'Get it down to around a dozen you can use and enjoy.'

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