How to declutter your kitchen (by getting real!)

Spiralizer. Smoothie maker. Pasta maker. Bread maker. Rice cooker. Slow cooker. Fruit dehydrator. Water filter. Meat smoker. Granny’s rusting egg slicer. Multiple wooden carved salad servers gathered from long forgotten travels. Do you have any of these? How about your grandmother’s soup tureen sitting pretty atop a cupboard or four differently sized gravy boats? Do you use them regularly and swear by them? If so, well done. But I imagine there are a lot of us who have at least one of the above which never gets used. Ever. Maybe it sits on a high up shelf gathering dust. Perhaps it’s been taking up valuable counter space for the past decade. You might even keep it in a totally unrelated place like the garage. These are the things you need to focus on when you do your kitchen clear out.

This isn’t something to dread, far from it. After all there are the big clear out jobs which we can put off forever, like tackling the bulging attic or making order out of the chaos of paperwork we never got round to filing. But there are smaller jobs which are so easy to tackle even in a five-minute blitz and leave you feeling oh-so-virtuous at the end, because not only do you have a lot more space in your kitchen but you get the warm glow of knowing you can donate your things to charity or make a few bob by selling them on eBay or through auction houses if you believe you have particularly high value items (real silver fish knives and forks spring to mind as do leather, velvet lined boxes with dated contents such as silver grapefruit spoons…)

The key to this being successful is to start off with a dose of good old fashioned realism. Ditch your fantasy life. Forget who you aspire to be. Even if you long to be an all-glowing, all-‘clean eating’, all-yoga-practising vegan goddess, if you’re a crisps-and-ready-meal kind of gal/guy, a spiralizer and a cauliflower ricer probably aren’t going to change that. And if you do absolutely zilch cooking pretty much all of the time you can probably ditch the Nigella-style fantasy about whipping up a meal for 20 close friends and neighbours. You need to kit your kitchen out for the life you lead not the life you want to have nor the person you wish you were.

Same goes for sentimental stuff. Do you really need to keep your grandmother’s old black-stained, crusted muffin tins when you use the new shiny ones every time? Sure her old wooden butter pats look quite heritagey sitting there by the stove but are they worth the space, it’s not like you’ll ever use them? Though they do come in handy when the Play Doh comes out…

Thing is, you’ll find it’s such a relief to have drawers you can see the bottom of and shelves which aren’t groaning under towers of precariously placed clutter, you won’t want to stop at the initial 5 mins or 5 things you promised yourself. And next time you’re browsing the latest Lakeland catalogue or tempted by something in your High Street sales, think about whether you’re really going to use it or whether you’re buying for your fantasy self. Invaluable kitchen time saver or next years’ clutter clear out?  The realists will just unsubscribe from all this fantasy – but don’t get me started on digital decluttering just yet!

©2019 Rightsize Ltd.   No part of Rightsize content or images, whole or partial, may be used without Sarah Macnaught’s written consent.  Email her at  Sarah Macnaught is a leading declutterer and rightsizing specialist in the UK and internationally.  She is UK ambassador for the Institute of Professional Organisers and an international member of the National Assn of Senior Move Managers