Moving — for real or pretend — as a way to reduce kitchen clutter

As I announced yesterday on Unclutterer, my family is moving. The kitchen in our new house isn’t much larger than our current one, but it does have the benefit of an attached walk-in pantry. I literally gasped when I saw the floor-to-ceiling shelving — it’s the equivalent of a walk-in closet, but for food and small appliances.

I know there are some people who love moving, but I am not one of them. I dislike packing, moving, and unpacking. I especially loathe moving kitchens. Everything in my current kitchen is where I can find it, where I want it, and is very comfortable for me. In the new place, it will take a couple weeks to get all of the stuff settled and I’m going to fumble for awhile as I become accustom to the new layout. As I have been packing up my current kitchen, I keep repeating to myself, “walk-in pantry, walk-in pantry, walk-in pantry.” It’s a weird mantra, but so far it has been a decent motivation technique.

Even though the new kitchen has the extra pantry, I’m still getting rid of any clutter I encounter as I pack. I found three pizza cutters, eight flower vases, some packaged food items containing nuts we should have purged when we found out my son was allergic, two lone placemats, and one stray bowl from our old dishes pattern. As I continue to pack, I’m sure I’ll find even more clutter that doesn’t need to be moved to the new place. I’m of the opinion that you never bring something along because you can, only move it because you use it.

If you’re not on the verge of moving, now is still a great time to pretend you are and get rid of the clutter from your kitchen. Clear off your dining table and put everything from your kitchen except for the large appliances and perishable foods on it. Give your kitchen a good cleaning, repair anything that needs repairing, and replace anything that needs replacing. Then, begin sorting through the items on the dining table.

Ask yourself:

  • Is this item expired? If it is, throw it away.
  • Is this item damaged? If it is, ask yourself if you’re willing to put forth the time, energy, and money to get it fixed or replaced. If you are, do it in the next three days. If you aren’t, put it in the trash or recycling (if appropriate).
  • Would I pay professional movers to move this item? If not, recycle it or donate it to charity.
  • Do I want this item in my kitchen? If not, recycle it or donate it to charity.
  • Have I used this item in the last year? If the answer is no, seriously consider getting rid of it.

When returning items to the kitchen, remember:

  • Store items where you use them. (Oven mitts should be stored next to the stove.)
  • Put the items you use most often in the most accessible spaces.
  • Group like items with like items. (Silverware should be stored with silverware, mugs should be stored near the coffee pot, bowls with bowls.)

Good luck purging the clutter in your kitchen.

5 comments posted

  1. Posted by Julia - 03/01/2011

    4 months ago I moved into a fully furnished apartment – fully furnished including the kitchen.
    Initially it was only supposed to be for a month so I left most of my stuff in my truck and used what was supplied by my landlord. I was incredibly greatful for everything that I didn’t have to unpack.

    When I decided to stay indefinitely, I started moving my stuff in. Now all my landlord’s stuff is just clutter.
    I have to reorganize everything and move the stuff I don’t use to the top shelves because I can’t get rid of it. :(

  2. Posted by Merikay - 03/01/2011

    As I start the long process of downsizing in order to someday full time RV, I have been looking very carefully at my kitchen tools and evaluating if I need or use them. I find I presently need multiple bowls, flippers, etc because I use a dishwasher. Things are put in and remain until I run it. (not every day) When we RV everything will be washed and put away after a meal. Thus I will need fewer things.

  3. Posted by Gillian - 03/01/2011

    Ah! A walk-in pantry. I grew up with that and it’s a godsend (at least 4-5 ft wide, and 8 -10 ft long). Enjoy!

  4. Posted by Living the Balanced Life - 03/02/2011

    I love the idea that if you are NOT moving, to put everything on your kitchen table, and then sort through it before putting it back in the most logical places. This also gives you a chance to clean the shelves!

  5. Posted by Teri - 03/28/2011

    Don’t forget to put the baking soda and frying pan lids within easy reach of the stove top! Unfortunately, I had a kitchen fire once. This event burned it into my memory to keep these very close by!

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