Monday, March 9, 2020

Keeping Our Kitchen Clutter-Free

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Keeping my kitchen clean is important to me.  It's one of the most used rooms in our house, but it's also the most passed-through by our guests.  I think most kitchens are a gathering space in this way.    A cluttered kitchen can look really messy, even if it's not dirty and even if the rest of the house is otherwise clean.  Here are a few ways we keep our kitchen clutter-free:

Always Clear the Sink.  No matter what else you do in the kitchen, if you have a clean sink, the whole room will look clean.  I make this a point to get done every day, at least twice a day - morning and before bed.  I make sure there are no dishes in there.  I also only leave hand soap on the counter.  Everything else goes under the sink.

Regularly Load and Unload the Dishwasher.  The best way to keep the sink clear is to have the dishwasher open and ready for use, if you have one.  Put a system in place so that you're regularly loading and unloading it.

Keep Nothing on the Counters Unless It's Used Daily.  Clutter attracts clutter so if you want to keep a surface clean, the less you store on it the better.  We keep the coffee maker out because it's used daily.  We also keep the knife set out and the cooking utensils next to the stove.  During certain times of year, John will also keep the base of the blender out since he makes a protein smoothie every day.  Otherwise we move everything we can into the cabinets.

Clean the Fridge and Freezer Weekly.  I make sure we always do this before we go grocery shopping.  It saves money and reduces waste because I know exactly what we have to use before it goes bad.

Keep Stock of Pantry Items.  Pantry items last awhile, but not forever.  It's really easy for these items to get overrun, since you don't need to clean them out weekly like the fridge.  I don't keep a lot of pantry items, I just buy things we use for recipes and use them up regularly.  If you do like to keep a stocked pantry through, make an index with expiration dates so you know what's in there.

Keep Foods in Their Original Packaging.  I know, all matching glass containers stacked in the cabinet is super appealing, I get it.  But it only works if you can be super committed to maintaining that system.  You know what you lose when you take food out of it's packaging?  Expiration dates.  Cooking instructions.  Serving sizes, nutritional info, allergy warnings, I mean, the list goes on.  It may not matter for things like sugar and flour, but it matters for cereal and pasta.  Think about how much time you want to spend maintaining this system before you commit to it.  Personally, I vote to leave things in their packaging - it's behind a cabinet door anyway.

Reduce Dishes and Utensils.  You probably just don't need as many as you think you do.  It's much easier to store everything if you have less of it and it's easier to keep things organized.

Don't Stack Regularly Used Items.  Like any other organizational system in your house, if you want to maintain it, you have to think about how easy it will be to put things away properly and get them out again.  Plates are one thing, but stacking bakeware is a pain in the ass because you always end up needing the pan on the bottom.

Is your kitchen a clutter hotspot or do you keep it minimal?  How do you maintain it?

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