This post is about my experience with decluttering my own kitchen space. Background: I have moved into my flat three years ago and have not really reviewed my choices after having made my first decisions what should go where. The starting point for my decluttering sessions was simple: I wanted to take stuff out, nothing else.
I got off to a quick start with taking things out of each of the separate compartments (drawers and different cupboards) simply because I wanted to make use of the opportunity and clean everything properly at the same time. Of course, different kinds of stuff came out: cutlery, condiments, food staples (canned or dried foods), glasses, plastic containers, plates, cups, etc. and at first I worked on the assumption that after taking out the useless I’d just put everything back where it came from. I thought I had it all figured out from the start, as one does.
Here’s the good news first: I managed to take out a lot of stuff that I had been moving around for many years and that I have donated to my local charity shop (and as a result have received a couple of surprised whoops and bright eyes).
Can you see the pattern here? Lots of sentimental things that look useful but are never used because I had other stuff I preferred using.
Obviously, there was a lot of stuff to chuck out as well: I found lots of takeaway plastic food containers that I probably thought would come in useful if I want to store stuff in my fridge. It turns out that I don’t like using these very much, and so they went into the bin. A lot of condiments and open food packages followed suit, too.
Imagine my surprise when I suddenly started wondering if there was a better way, and there was: I did end up changing the location of a number of things because I realised that there were a couple of cupboard spaces that never quite worked well for me. I reassessed the placement of items based on the number of times I want to access them.
For one thing I realised that my tea and coffee tins where nearly out of reach and I had to use a stepladder to even get to the replacements behind them, so they had to move down. At the same time I found that I had my stock of canned and dried foods in a place that is easily accessible rather than somewhere out of the way. So I simply moved the tea/coffee and other breakfast items into the drawer, while the stores went all the way up in the top cupboard.
Admittedly, kitchen utensils and crockery stayed where they were, except a little swap of the cups and plates into more sensible locations, after some of them had been put onto the charity pile. All in all, things are looking lot more clean and organised. It will take me a couple of days to get used to the new arrangement of the foodstuffs, but I suppose that is a normal reaction to the small changes.
The main advantage for me was a sentimental one: I finally had the sense to let go of all those gifts and reminders of people I had lost long ago. I remember them fondly, without those items. I know that for a fact because they come into my mind without me seeing or remembering these items. Clearly, I don’t need the physical objects to remind me of them. I had long ago realised that for most other items, but for some reason the kitchen was a bit of a weak spot in that respect. I guess that the practical aspect of these items adds another level of complexity.
My advice: when decluttering your kitchen, make sure that you don’t keep something just for the idea that ‘it might be useful someday’. I have done that for a long time and never really used those things.
This blog is part of the ‘declutter week’ series, running from 22 to 26 January 2018. The series has three videos and two blog entries; direct links will be added as they are uploaded. Subjects include:
My hope is that this more series offers some more personal insight you can transpose into your own efforts to declutter your life.
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Hi, my name is Tilo Flache. My current mission: help my clients declutter mind and space.
This blog contains pointers for your journey towards a happier living experience.