Declutter Your Kitchen: What to Toss, What to Keep and How to Organize It

Learn how to declutter a kitchen with a few simple pieces of advice. Less is more, especially when it comes to an overcrowded kitchen.

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front view banner of a kitchen table in a fancy bright kitchenShutterstock / Anna Andersson Fotografi

The recent trend toward minimalism never really went away after the Marie Kondo method took over the world for a minute. The concept is simple and can be applied to the way we clean, organize, interact with others and live our lives: You can do a lot more with a lot less.

When it comes to minimalistic cleaning and organizing, forward thinkers who shared their methods for decluttering their home, office and even their personal lives became role models for so many desiring a much tidier space. To learn how to declutter your kitchen, follow these tips and tricks. You can thank us later when you’re cooking in a pristine, mess-free space.

Know When to Throw Things Away

“When in doubt, throw it out” is the motto I live by while cleaning out my kitchen. It’s left me with a lot less junk, and a lot more room for the appliances I actually use. Here are the items to get rid of in your kitchen right now:

  • Old, expired spices, or spices that are rarely used;
  • Duplicate pots and pans;
  • Plastic storage containers with no lids;
  • Takeout menus;
  • Used plastic grocery store bags (recycle if possible);
  • Plastic cutlery;
  • Condiment packages — ketchup, soy sauce, etc.;
  • Kitchen gadgets you’ve only used once

Plus: These are the kitchen safety items every home cook should own.

Items You Shouldn’t Part with Just Yet

It’s important for everyone to learn how to let things go while decluttering their kitchen — even the funnel cake machine you bought on a whim and never looked at again. Still, it’s equally crucial to not go overboard and throw everything away at once. You still have to live and cook in your kitchen, after all. The basics you should always keep handy in your kitchen include:

  • Canned goods;
  • Frozen fruits and vegetables;
  • Eggs, milk and cheese;
  • Countertop appliances like coffeemakers, microwaves and slow cookers;
  • Functional pots, pans and trays;
  • Frequently used kitchen tools for cooking and baking, like a spatula, measuring spoons and cups, and a whisk;
  • Matching cutlery sets.

Clever Storage Solutions You’ll Wish You’d Known Sooner

Reducing your inventory to the kitchen appliances, food and general items you absolutely need is half the battle. Now you need to determine how to store and organize it all so your kitchen remains clutter-free. Here are a few clever storage solutions I’ve learned along the way:

Use the sides of your kitchen cabinets

The side of your lower kitchen cabinet is ideal for hanging large pans, colanders and cutting boards. All you have to do is install a few hooks to hang them.

Take advantage of wall space

If you’re out of room, think about organizing vertically. Install floating shelves for extra spots to place spices, mugs or other small-scale items.

Make doors work a little harder

Cabinet doors, pantry doors and the doors under your kitchen sink are all fair game. Install a few appropriate-sized shelves on the back of each to contain frequently used objects, like spray bottles and rubber gloves or your collection of favorite spices.

Install a pegboard

Pegboards are a perfect way to unconventionally, yet conveniently, organize your odds and ends. A small one mounted on your backsplash can organize your most used cooking tools, like spatulas and wooden spoons. A large one in a pantry can be installed and can even include shelves for more organizing.

Taste of Home
Originally Published on Taste of Home

Taylor Murphy
A freelance writer well-versed in a variety of topics, with six years of experience writing print and digital content for newspaper outlets, online publications and magazines. My bylines have appeared on,,,,,, in Dr. Oz The Good Life and other best-selling national women's lifestyle magazine publications. I'm currently a freelance copywriter at Today's Business, a digital advertising and marketing agency.