Day 3: Declutter Appliances, Gadgets and Tools

The Kitchn Cure Fall 2013

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Day 3: Wednesday, October 2
Assignment: Declutter appliances, gadgets and tools

I've had days in the kitchen where I open my drawer, my one and only drawer in my kitchen, and I find things so caddywhompus that I feel like shutting the drawer, turning around, and ordering take-out. Does this sound familiar? The corkscrew is twisted onto a whisk, there are wooden skewers poking into the sides of the drawer, and the ubiquitous drawer full of leftover containers with mis-matched tops. Up on the countertop there can be a different kind of chaos: appliances you don't use, tangled cords, perhaps a utensil jar with a melted rubber spatula, five of the same size wooden spoon, but not a single slotted spoon in sight.

It's time to tackle your stuff.

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Today's Assignment (estimated time: 1-2 hours)

1. Take before photos of your kitchen tools: We want to see the scene before you weed things out. Show us your countertops, cupboards and other places you keep your kitchen tools and equipment. In the "before" shot, DO NOT clean things up for the camera. Post them to social media using the #kitchncure hashtag.

2. Declutter and purge: Make three categories: stuff you use regularly, stuff you use occasionally, and stuff you never use. It could be as small as a stray corn cob holder or as large as a KitchenAid mixer you got as a wedding gift and just don't use. Think about plastic food storage containers that don't have matching lids. Get into the flatware and plates if you want. There must be things in there you don't need.

  • For stuff you use regularly: set it aside. It will be going back in the cupboards, but not before you wipe down all the surfaces.
  • For stuff you use occasionally: consider using spaces in the back of a cabinet. For me this is my ice cream maker, a grain grinder, knife sharpening stones, and muffin tins. We often are asked how to maximize deep cupboards, so here's your chance. Also consider boxing up some of these items, like special occasion dinnerware, seasonal things (margarita glasses? BBQ tools?), all labeled neatly and placed in the rear of deep cabinet or in a high place in the kitchen like above the refrigerator.
  • For stuff you never use: consider giving it away or selling it. I meet so many people who keep things in their kitchen that were given as gifts. This is your chance to take a leap, be bold, and get rid of those unused wedding gifts or things your bought because you thought you'd use them but you just don't. List them on on our classifieds, eBay or Craigslist. Believe me, someone wants your yogurt-maker. You don't need three grill pans. Be brave!
As you go through your collection of kitchen tools, pull out duplicates. I find most people keep way too many pieces of plastic leftovers containers. Often tops and bottoms don't match. We know tongs are everyone's favorite tool, but you really only need one pair. Mixing bowls are another common offender. Small, medium and large is all you really need, right?

3. Wipe down all the surfaces. The inside of drawers, especially, get grimier by the day. So do appliances and the insides of utensil crocks. Anything you dealt with today, wipe it clean. The same goes for appliances you keep on your countertop. I've seen stand mixers caked with dried cookie dough from a year prior.

4. Put everything back in a logical manner. This might mean moving things around a bit. It might also mean adding to your shopping list things like a pot rack or some drawer dividers. Of course you don't have to spend a cent on this Cure but if you do have a budget, there are a few organizing products we can recommend for days 5 and 6. Be smart: nest bowls, consolidate leftovers containers, utilize counter space if your drawer space is lacking, think about a knife magnet for your knives.

5. Document the results and post them to the interwebs: we take Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. Use #kitchncure so we can find you. We want to cheer you on!

6. Rest up for tomorrow. Your kitchen is really taking shape. You've culled through all your stuff and now you're ready to make it sparkle. Put your feet up and feel the lightness in the room. You're well on your way to complete kitchen health.

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(Image: Previous Kitchn Cure participant and Flickr member JEAW licensed for use under Creative Commons and Emma Christensen)

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