Minimalist Monday Mission: Declutter 365 – The Kitchen – Part 1

Minimalist Monday Mission

This week for Minimalist Monday Mission: Declutter 365 I was working on the kitchen.

Originally, I had planned to separate the kitchen into 1) counter tops, 2) upper cabinets, 3) lower cabinets, and 4) counters by the fridge.  But, when I started working this week, I found that you couldn’t clear off the counter tops until the cabinets were clear.  So, I decided to switch my plan of attack and start with the cabinets instead.

I already had a jump start in the kitchen, because I went through the space once in the 75 in 75 Challenge very briefly.  I wanted to come back to the kitchen and finish what I started, which is why it was high on my list for Minimalist Monday Mission.

The idea was to finish both of the rooms that I had impacted significantly in the 75 in 75 Challenge…the master bedroom and bathroom, and the kitchen.

So, I got to work this week, and just aimed to get as far as I could.  I knew that I had allotted four weeks for the kitchen, but as I started working, I found that I definitely did not need as long.  This was because I had already visited the space in the 75 in 75 Challenge.

In fact, I want to take a moment and encourage you. The two spaces I have done so far were spaces that I worked on throughout the fall.  So, I definitely had a jump start.  Although it looks like those spaces were finished in a week or two, it is really only because I had already cleared out most of the clutter from those spaces when deciding what to eliminate this past fall to meet my challenge goals.

In the kitchen, there were several cabinets that had already been decluttered:

upper corner cabinet


mitts and trivets

cutting boards and cooling racks


food storage

canning supplies, mixer blades, food storage

waffle maker, tortilla maker, hot chocolate machine, apple peeler, canning jars

pots and pans

pots and pans

pots and pans, strainers


And several more that I had started on in the fall, but never finished:

measuring tools

recipes, towels

foil, baggies, etc.

kitchen tools

children’s dishes

kitchen tools, spices

And there were a few that never got touched at all in the fall and really needed some help (can anyone say…JUNK DRAWER!!):

corner cabinet before

junk drawer before

dishes before

Here’s my recommendation for your decluttering of the kitchen.

First, start with the upper cabinets.  Empty everything out, and decide what you want to keep.  Put those items back and organize the space.  Make sure to have a box ready for donations, and another for items to sell or give away.  And of course, have your trash can nearby.

Next, move on to the lower cabinets, following the same procedure as the upper cabinets.

Then, do the counters.  I found that I did not have enough room in my cabinets to store the items that I had sitting on the counters until I decluttered the cabinets first.  Then, I did have enough space to put away items that had ended up on the counter top, but really were not used daily and should have been placed elsewhere.

In each case, I looked at the item and really asked myself how often I used the item, and whether it was worth space in my kitchen at all.  If I had not used something in the past 6 months, it got donated, given away, or listed for sale.  The exception to this was items that I used yearly, and that perhaps were seasonal (such as my corn kernel cutter, which is a lifesaver when canning corn in the summer, but not used for the rest of the year).

Then, with what is left, place the items that you use most frequently near the center of your cooking area.  Picture your kitchen as a target, with the center (the red zone) where you stand to do most of your cooking.  All of the items within your red zone should be things used daily.  Moving out, you enter the yellow zone, where you might have to move a few steps to reach something.  The items in the yellow zone are used weekly or at minimum several times a month.  Lastly, there is the outermost green zone, where you store everything else – these are items used only a few times a year.  The zone concept is something I teach in my book Organization for Home-Based Business Professionals, but it applies to many areas in our homes.

The Results

First, here are the cabinets that were decluttered (those that had not been finished or touched in the fall):

recipes, towels – after

measuring tools – after

corner cabinet – after

foil, baggies, etc. – after

kitchen tools – after

children’s dishes – after

junk drawer – after

(I am going to be using the large space on the left to file children’s papers.)

kitchen tools, spices – after

(I will be going through the spices when I do my pantry, so I just labeled them for now.)

dishes – after

And, although I do not have an accurate “before” picture of all my counter space (because, as mentioned before, some items were cleared out this fall – although it had 3 crocks full of kitchen tools, a KitchenAid mixer, a toaster oven, a water purifier, a basket, a large fruit bowl, and a dehydrator…), here’s a quick snapshot of my island before:

island before

And the entire kitchen space after:

island – after

kitchen – after

Let’s all take a collective breath…ahhhhhhhh…isn’t it peaceful!!!  I even made my husband come take a look before it got messed up again. And, now it’s easier than ever to try to have all of the sink emptied and dishes done each night, because you can really tell when they are not and a messy sink just sticks out like a sore thumb!

I’ve also been enjoying the peacefulness using a tip I got from Alex this week – I am leaving the oven light on for a little bit after we are done in the kitchen to enjoy the peaceful scene when I am walking through the kitchen throughout the evening.

I’m not completely done with the kitchen, in fact, I still have one of the hardest areas left: the counter space by the fridge.  This is currently our “command center” and therefore attracts loads of junk.  It’s like a junk drawer on steroids. So, that’s up next week, along with the large built in cabinet in our dining area.  Once those two areas are complete, then I’ll be done with the kitchen.

I should also mention that I absolutely LOVED this whole week in my master bathroom.  Every time I go in, it is wonderful, because we have managed to completely keep the counters clear of clutter, and I just smile every time I see my empty counters.  In fact, we have managed to keep our entire master bedroom and bathroom clean and clutter free.  That’s the idea, of course…to keep the areas clutter free that you have already done.

Total of items eliminated this week?

  • Threw out/Recycled: 47 items (that would be the junk drawer)
  • Donated/Given: 49 items (also the junk drawer)
  • Sold: 4 items from my Becoming Minimalist Sale

Overall Totals:

  • Threw out 87 items
  • Donated 69 items
  • Sold 64 items from my Becoming Minimalist Sale (I’ll be updating this weekly as I move through each area in my home!)

TOTAL ITEMS: 220 items

Here’s where we are headed for the Minimalist Monday Mission: Declutter 365 in the next few weeks:

  1. Clothes (closet and dresser) – DONE!
  2. Master Bath Vanity/Cabinet – DONE!
  3. Nightstand and Top of Dresser in Master Bedroom – DONE!
  4. Kitchen Counters (main and island)
  5. Kitchen Cabinets (upper)
  6. Kitchen Cabinets (lower)
  7. Kitchen Counters (by fridge)
  8. Pantry
  9. Fridge/Freezer
  10. Kitchen Built In Cabinet
  11. Digitizing Files
  12. Computer Files
  13. Office Desk
  14. Office Baskets (in, out, to do, vertical file)
  15. Office Filing Cabinet
  16. Office Hutch
  17. Office Bookshelves
  18. Office Work Desk Area
  19. Office Built In Storage Area
  20. Laundry Room Shelves
  21. Laundry Room Corner Cabinet
  22. Laundry Room Table Area
  23. Guest Bedroom Closet (toy closet)
  24. Child’s Bedroom Closet
  25. Child’s Bedroom Closet
  26. Child’s Desk
  27. Children’s Clothes (upstairs)
  28. Guest Bedroom Dresser
  29. Guest Bathroom Vanity
  30. Linen Closet (lower shelves)
  31. Linen Closet (upper shelves)
  32. Play Room
  33. Living Room DVD Cabinet/Mantle/Entertainment Center
  34. Large Storage Closet
  35. Small Storage Closet Shelves
  36. Small Storage Closet Banker’s Boxes
  37. Downstairs Bathroom Closet
  38. Downstairs Play Room
  39. Screened In Porch Area
  40. Downstairs TV Area
  41. Downstairs Bathroom
  42. Mud Room
  43. Garage Left Side Shelves
  44. Garage Middle Shelves
  45. Garage Right Side Shelves
  46. Garage Tool Storage Cabinet
  47. Garage Floor Space
  48. Walls/Pictures
  49. Scrapbooking Supplies/Area

See you next week!

To your success,

Dr. Laura

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This post is being shared at:

Anti-Procrastination Tuesday
Simple Lives Thursday
Fresh, Clean and Pure Fridays
I’m Lovin’ It Friday
52 Weeks of Organizing

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