8 Things That Absolutely Do Not Belong in the Kitchen (but Often End Up There Anyway)

updated Jun 1, 2021
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Ask anyone what they’d most like to change about their kitchen, and chances are they’d say they want more storage. It’s a universal problem. And yet there’s one oh-so-simple solution that will help make more storage space: Get rid of stuff. More specifically, the stuff that doesn’t belong in the kitchen in the first place! (Yes, while we’re definitely proponents of reducing the overall number of kitchen tools and dishes, we’re here now to talk about the other stuff.)

There’s an entire category of things taking up room unnecessarily in your kitchen, and dealing with it doesn’t require any decisions about what to keep and what to get rid of. Simply going through your kitchen to remove items that really should be living somewhere else opens up all kinds of possibilities in your kitchen organization life.

Here are some things you might have in your kitchen that really belong somewhere else.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

1. Vases

Vases are hard to find homes for, but try putting them in the basement, garage, or pantry. Too often, these end up under the kitchen sink and that area has enough problems without adding a bunch of non-uniform glass to the mix. 

2. Papers

Whether it’s junk mail, mail that’s not junk, permission slips, receipts, or treasured love notes from the kids, get it off your kitchen counters. Try not to ever set paper stacks down in the kitchen. Deal with papers while they’re in your hand or set them down in a letter tray on your desk. 

3. Backstock

The problem with storing your backstock of paper towels or canned beans in the kitchen is that it makes it hard to get what you need to get when you need it and that is the opposite of a functional kitchen. If you can store your extras or overflow in a more out-of-the way cabinet or on a top shelf somewhere unseen, you’ll free up usable space in the kitchen and make it a more convenient place to cook. 

4. Sunglasses

We know how it goes. Your sunglasses were pushed onto your forehead when you walked in the door, and now that you’ve gotten the groceries all put away you finally take them off. But they don’t belong in the kitchen (for space reasons and because they likely need to be cleaned). Put them back in your purse or on the tray in the entryway and keep those counters free and clear. 

Credit: Joe Lingeman

5. Keys

Same scenario as how the sunglasses end up in the kitchen. And again, your keys are probably really dirty. Leave them at the door or put them back in your purse. 

6. Tools and hardware

These sorts of things often end up in the junk drawer, but unless you’ve designated a spot in there specifically for, say, that screwdriver, take it back to the hardware zone. Same goes for all your loose screws. (Hahaha.) 

7. Small toys and toy pieces

Why these end up in the kitchen, no one knows. Maybe it’s because it feels like they should go in the junk drawer and the junk drawer is in the kitchen? However it happens, no. You’ll end up with a jumble of LEGO bricks, random puzzle pieces, and game-board bits and we promise you will never need these items while in the kitchen. Make it a habit to put them where they go each time someone encounters one of these little items. 

Credit: surowa

8. Toiletries and cosmetics

You think you don’t have these in your kitchen, but here’s the thing. Maybe you have a nail file in there? And some cotton balls? And some clear polish? These things belong in the bathroom.

How many of these are in your kitchen right now?