Get Rid of These Tools in Your Kitchen Today
March 18, 2021
We use our kitchens arguably more than anywhere else in our homes so it’s easy for them to get cluttered quickly. At least twice a year I like to separate the treasures from the trash to keep things working in tiptop order. Cleaning out expired, mismatched, forgotten and unused items from your kitchen allows you to optimize storage in an organized manner. It also lets you give empty cabinet shelves and drawers a thorough cleaning before restocking the things you know you’ll use.
DECLUTTERING + PURGING Questions to ask yourself
The first step to any kitchen revamp is the (sometimes dreaded) step of decluttering and purging. As you’re working through your items, try to make decisions quickly about what you want to keep and what you will donate. With anything you get hung up on, try asking yourself these questions…
- Do I use this? You shouldn’t really have to think long about this. You either use it or you don’t. Take note that the question is NOT “Will I possibly use this one day?”.
- Is this item extra? How many wooden spoons do you really need? Do you really use all four cookie sheets? Evaluate what you need and use on a regular basis. Remember that you can always borrow items from friends or family for those “one time” events. Choose your favorite and donate the extras!
- Would I buy this today? I find that this is a really helpful questions when looking at decorative items. Ask yourself if you still love it and if it is still your style. Is it adding beauty or function to the space or is it just adding to the clutter?
- Does this help to make my life easier? There may be some items that you don’t really need, but you do use regularly and they help to simplify things. For example, we have a rice maker that we use at least a couple of times per week. Yes, I could make rice on the stove and get rid of the rice maker, but it really does help to make things run smoother. You can definitely splurge on some items – just make sure they are useful to you!
Take a look 25 things you should toss, relocate, or donate immediately. Once everything has been cleaned out make sure to check out my post on 50 Things Every Kitchen Needs.
Scratched Non-Stick Pans
The non-stick coating that keeps eggs from sticking and clean up a breeze eventually starts to break down. As soon as the glossy coating is gone, or scratches begin to appear, it’s time to toss the pan.
To extend the longevity of your non-stick pans, avoid using metal tools on them. Opt for silicone or wooden kitchen tools.
Missing Food Storage Container Lids
Food storage containers without lids are basically useless. If a storage container can no longer store anything effectively, toss it out or donate it rather than letting it clutter your cupboards. I like using one type of food storage container to cut down on searching for the perfect fit when it came to containers and lids. It’s helped so much. I love my Rubbermaid Brilliance containers most!
Anything that is Broken
Admit it, we’ve all got at least a few things in our kitchen that are broken that we’re still hanging on to. For me, it’s this waffle iron! It’s time to get rid of all those small appliances that have outlived their usefulness. If you haven’t fixed them by now, chances are it’s not going to happen.
Pans you don’t Use
SO many of us have invested in big cookware set only to discover we use two, maybe three, of the pans on an everyday basis. If you don’t use them everyday, or ever, consider donating them or storing them somewhere where they aren’t taking up precious kitchen storage space. I regularly use only 3 pans…and that’s all I store in my kitchen.
Small Appliances you don’t Use
This one can be tough because there are certain small appliances we receive as a gift or for a special occasion, but if it hasn’t been used in a year (or two) it might be time to consider donating it. It will be such a luxury to free up storage space in your kitchen so that you have room for those items you use on a regular basis.
Knives you don’t Use
You really only need 3 knives. A chef’s knife, a serrated knife, and a paring knife. Beyond that it might just start to become sharp clutter in your kitchen drawers. Ask yourself what knives you really use, commit to taking care of them and donate the rest. There will be rare foodie exceptions, but most people have an unnecessary collection of knives they never use.
Duplicate Kitchen Tools
Whether it’s a surplus of spatulas, wooden spoons, or sheet trays. If you have more than you need of something, let the excess go. No one needs 10 sheet pans. (the amount I just counted in my cabinet), Realistically asses how many you need of something and let go of the rest.
Lids without a Pot
Ugh…lids. Lids rattling around in a kitchen cabinet are a pet peeve of mine! If there is a rogue lid that doesn’t fit a pot you use regularly, it’s time to get rid of it. No questions asked on this. My guess is that we ALL have way too many lids taking up valuable storage space in our kitchen. I’m a huge fan of these silicone options.
Chipped + Stained Dishes
With a young family, I find that we can be hard on dishes. If you’re developing quite the collection of chipped plates and bowls, it might be time to swap those out. For something that you use everyday, it’s worthy of replacing, espcially if it could continue chipping off or scratch or cut someone.
Gadgets that only do One Thing
So many slicers on the market…avocado slicer, apple slicer, hot dog slicer, strawberry slicer, egg slicer … so many one-note slicers. If you’ve been enticed by these drawer-cluttering unitaskers in the past, ask yourself, “Do I really need this?” Is an avocado knife better than a chef’s knife and spoon combo?
Take Out Menus + Old Fast Food Condiments
Yes, we used to have a drawer full of takeout menus, but now, with online delivery services and menus, this paper trail is all but gone.
The drive-thru sauces packets — it always feels wrong to throw them out, doesn’t it? That is, until you have a drawer full of mystery sauces. Declutter. Dump anything that looks off and limit yourself to just one small jar of sauce packets for on-the-go meals
Stained Oven Mitts + Dish Towels
It’s time to take stock of that dish towel collection. Consider the danger of grabbing a hot pan only to find your oven mitt has a gaping hole in the thumb. Stained, ripped or torn towels and oven mitts should be tossed.
Plastic Bag Stash
The stash of plastic bags is a well-intended effort to not just toss another plastic shopping bag into the landfill. But those intentions have turned into an unmanageable collection of bags. Instead, invest in some reusable shopping bags and keep them in the trunk of your car, so you are never caught shopping without them. Look for recycling centers and grocery stores that accept plastic bag recycling, as the bags usually don’t go in with the regular plastics.
Baby/Toddler Dishes you no Longer Need or Use
If your kids are out of their booster chairs and strolling into middle school, you can probably toss the Toy Story plates and Barbie sippy cups.
Rusted Out Bakeware
Any cook would agree: Good tools makes for easier work. And while we wouldn’t suggest you haphazardly start throwing out bakeware, anything that’s starting to rust is better not cooked in.
Cookbooks you no Longer Use
There are cookbooks with cracked spines and sticky pages that are a testament to just how beloved they are, and then there are pristine, barely read cookbooks in every kitchen. Once a year, take stock of the books you use and the books you don’t. Give away or move out of the kitchen any cookbooks you don’t cook from to make way for more-useful items.
It’s time to tackle the infamous “junk drawer” that lives in your kitchen. Just like any organizing project, take it all out, toss or donate anything that is broken or you don’t need or use, and add some labeled drawer organizers to give everything a place to live.