Decluttering your kitchen makes a big difference, because it’s one of the most task-orientated spaces in our homes. I enjoy cooking, but wasting time digging around for a missing lasagne dish in a cupboard of overflowing bakeware is most definitely not a part of that. Tidy cupboards, with lots of empty space, make it all quicker and easier, and somehow more pleasurable.
Compared to 2 years ago we probably have around half of kitchenware we previously owned. We cook from scratch pretty much every night; I bake a lot, and we often have friends and guests to stay, yet we never struggle, or miss the things we parted with. It really was just clutter.
Here is my checklist for paring down the kitchen clutter.
- Throw away any dedicated gadgets. For the most part these are total nonense, dreamed up by marketers looking for new crap to sell. If it takes you longer to dig out your egg slicer that it does to actually slice an egg, it’s definitely redundant.
Exceptions: a spaghetti spoon, a garlic press (chopped is not the same as minced).
- Pare down the duplicates. How many can you use at once? There is no reason to have more than one grater, colander, paring knife, whisk, ladle, etc. It can be useful to have a couple of some things, like chopping boards & wooden spoons, but most of us have far too many of these too; plus an assortment of wooden utensils that came in the spoon set, and never get used. Lose them! (sidetone: the wooden-spoon-set marketers know you don’t use them – they just throw them in their to make the bundle bigger and fancier so they can charge you more. Buy one or two good quality ones instead).
Exceptions: Rory & I each have our own potato peeler, as we can’t get the hang of each other’s at all. Also, if you’re on Instagram, you may also need a small selection of what my friend Emma terms unusual spoons…
- Think flexibly. What’s the main difference between a frying pan and a heavy baking sheet? The handle, mainly, I have decided, so now I just keep one really great copper frying pan, and on those rare occasions when I need more frying space, I use a baking sheet too.
- Buy less, but better quality. It’s a slightly tired blogger/minimalist adage, but it makes more sense in the kitchen than anywhere else; a great cast iron stockpot lasts a lifetime, and cooks better than the cheaper alternatives (& also great for baking bread in, as it turns out!) We’re saving to buy two really awesome handmade knives, and throwing all of our cheap plastic-handled rubbish ones away.
- You don’t need all of the mugs. No really though. It’s somehow become normal to have an entire cupboard dedicated to mugs and cups: twenty or so seems to be perfectly normal. I don’t know about you, but I have never, ever had 20 people over for coffee at one time, and if that did happen, I hope I’d have enough prior warning to allow me to buy a packet of polystyrene cups. Mugs are the home of sentimental clutter in the kitchen – funny mugs, novelty mugs, mugs you got as a gift or souvenir or with a company logo on. In a somewhat radical move, we cut down to six favourite mugs – now eight, since TOAST gifted me a couple of irresistible ones. Eight people for coffee is just about conceivable, and the great thing about a limited supply is, people reuse their original cups rather than reaching for a clean one. Less mess, less washing up. More free cupboard space.
- Different drinks to not require special different glasses. It is a lie! Since visiting Venice, we drink everything out of Duralex tumblers anyway – infinitely more practical and like, totes continental. I’m donating our cheap wine glasses and pointless champagne flutes to charity, and R’s discarded his strange little whisky glasses (saving me the job of accidentally breaking them all 😉 ).
Exception: if you’re one of those people who can taste the difference. We are not; probably because we drink it too fast…
- Really big storage jars. Never buy a storage canister that cannot hold at least one-and-a-half packets of the intended food contents. (e.g, these). Anything smaller, and you end up having a full jar and a half-open packet in the cupboard, defeating the entire purpose.
- My patented spice drawers. A set of Ikea mini-drawers and some blackboard labels, & cluttered, messy spice racks of doom are a thing of the past. Whatever style of food you’re cooking, just pull out the drawer and have it beside you.
- Simple maths. No more cutlery than you have plates; no more plates than you have friends, or space at the table. If I suddenly become a social butterfly and invite the entire village over, I’ll buy some paper plates.
- Bleach + kitchen spray + washing up liquid. The rest is all superfluous. Use the space in your under-sink cupboard to hide the bin.
- (The kitchen drawer of random shite. Burn it. Just burn it all)