Is your kitchen a sacred place for cooking and eating, or is it a space in which clutter magically appears? If clutter is taking over your countertops and bursting from your cabinets, then it is time to let go of all that you do not need. Spring cleaning is upon us, so why not start uncluttering the room you use the most!
Our kitchen space is different than the modern version which most of you are likely to inhabit, as we have switched countries of residence and now live in rural Romania, in our little wooden home. Our kitchen is also our living room, where guests join us for coffee and herbal tea, it is the same room where we sleep at night, it is the heart of our home where the fireplace provides warmth and where we cook meal after meal on the wood-fired stove.
We have one cabinet where we keep dry goods, and our refrigerator is the other room of our two-room house – in winter it is our freezer when temperatures dip below freezing. Fruits and vegetables are stored in handmade baskets and cooked food is stored in enamel pots.
Our collection of silverware is minimal, a couple of sets per person, and only just yesterday did we buy matching coffee cups, so that we have enough when visitors come over for a hot drink. It is a rented space, so we cannot change much, but there is never a feeling that we should/could/would add more than what we need.
Life hasn’t always been this way, and though we have lived for nearly thirty years across the westernized world, we have also lived quite simply for the past ten, and can appreciate the best of both places.
How do you know when it is time to unclutter your kitchen?
When you have to make counter space and search for clean utensils to cook meals at home.
I have been many things in my life, besides being an organic gardener, a homesteader and a freelance writer, some of my work revolved around cleaning homes and kitchens. In Seattle I was a self-employed housecleaner, using only eco-friendly, DIY cleaners with essential oils, with each client’s preference in mind. I have also worked for a year in a very busy restaurant kitchen… Ultimate lesson learned there? Orderliness, clean counters and dedicated spaces for everything is paramount.
So when you enter your own kitchen, what do you see?
Space and order is prevalent in an uncluttered kitchen. If you don’t have it, make it a priority and then your kitchen will become welcoming once again, ready to have guests over with a knock on the door.
First things first, if there is anything that obviously does not belong in the kitchen, take it to where it should be – if you fold your laundry on the table, take it immediately to the bedroom closet; if (junk) mail collects on the counter, then it is time to get in the habit to toss it immediately in the recycle bin or file it in the right place.
Next, throw away whatever is broken, what is cracked, chipped or too old to be safely used.
Clear off your countertops (they should be used for preparing wholesome food, not for storing and collecting!), by putting everything on your nearest table. Be critical and add back whatever you need on the counter, the rest should be stored out of sight.
And if you peek in your cabinets and find that they are full, then start asking questions:
- What do I use?
- What do I need?
- What can I donate or sell?
- What can I throw away?
- How much do I need to keep?
Some of these are deeper questions, so take your time to answer them honestly for each item that you own. Keeping things is about more than just finding joy in them. Rather discover whether they fulfill a purpose or need. Could you live without something? If so, eliminate it from your life.
Consider both space and quality of items in your kitchen:
Redundant gadgets that take up precious space.
Spices you no longer use.
Outdated foods, frozen or dry, that you will never eat.
Space-wasting plastic containers in the hundreds…
Now that we are on the subject of plastic, what can you minimize in that area? How can you get rid of everyday disposables? Can you go plastic-free?
Next week, we will be talking about how to unclutter your living room to create an enjoyable, quiet space to relax in.
Don’t let clutter take over your kitchen, get rid of it once and for all!