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In week 2, my goal was to declutter the kitchen.

Decluttering our entire home is one of my new year’s resolutions (again).

It has been a worthy yet elusive goal for me. Despite the need to make this one of my goals over and over, I make more progress and see more benefits in my life every year.

Seriously, there are so many benefits to decluttering, besides just the obvious one. (You know, less clutter!)

You’ll feel more relaxed and calm. And you’ll have a clearer mind to match your clearer and more organized space. Plus, you will spend less money while you’re decluttering because you’ll be home and getting more familiar with what you already have instead.

And I personally feel all of these benefits already after 2 weeks into my one-month decluttering spree!

Overall, decluttering is totally worth the time and effort you’ll put into it!

I’ve noticed that those times when my home is tidier, that’s when I’m happier, less stressed, and get more done.

I want more days- and more weeks and months!– like that.

To help me reach my decluttering goal, I’m reading “31 days to a clutter-free life.” This book is written to help you make that major progress that you want by focusing on a single area in your home each day for 31 days.

Sometimes it just really helps to have a to do list made for you that you can follow along, and that’s where this book is really helping me out. If you look around your house and just don’t know where to start, “31 days” will give you that jump start with an easy-to-follow daily decluttering to do list.

And I don’t know about you, but I’d love to declutter much of my home in just 31 days.

I’m well on my way, now that I’m two weeks into it.

This post is about what I did to declutter the kitchen during week 2 of reading “31 days to a clutter-free life.”

After an ambitious week 1 (mainly decluttering our entryways, living room, and dining area), I made it to Day 10 for the start of week 2!

If you’d like to see how my decluttering spree started off, here’s the post about my week 1: What happened when I decluttered for a month – week 1

Week 2: Declutter the kitchen.

It was time to make some decluttering progress in the kitchen.

In fact, days 10-12 and 16 were all kitchen-oriented cleaning and organizing, so I focused on those chapters in the book this week.

I’m a bit ashamed to admit that it took me all of week 2 to do 4 chapters/days’ worth of decluttering. BUT my kitchen is done! And it’s the most organized it’s been- ever!

Progress is progress! No matter how slow.

So I will proudly share the progress I made during my decluttering week 2, in the kitchen.

Day 10 kitchen counters.

This chapter came at just the right time.

I had fallen behind on the dishes so it gave me the opportunity to catch up.

I loaded the dishwasher with dirty dishes on the counters and in the sink. Then I used the quick 1-hour cleaning cycle on my dishwasher.

Frugal Thumb Tip and Note to Self: Use the 1-hour dishwasher cycle more often! It seems to wash the dishes just as well as the default 2.5 hour wash cycle. That means it’s ready to wash another load quickly AND uses less water and electricity. So, it’s not only a time-saver, but a money and environment-saver too!

Getting the dirty dishes off the counters and into the dishwasher was a quick decluttering win.

After that, I reviewed the appliances that live on our kitchen counters.

In our kitchen, counter space is limited so we need to use it wisely and not have all things out at all times.

For each item, I asked myself the following questions:

  • Did the item need to be there?
  • Did we use it every day or most days?
  • Could it be just as easy to get the item out of a cupboard when needed?

By taking the time to ask these questions, I was able to pare down the items that were always on our counters and found new locations for a couple large appliances- our mixer and our crockpot.

Then I emptied the recycling and trash cans.

We keep both of these in the kitchen and somehow, we end up with more recycling than trash every week. Which is great! Don’t get me wrong. But it also means that our recycle bin fills up faster and usually is overflowing by the time trash day comes around.

For now, I made a note to self that an additional recycle bin or a larger one could be a future improvement to help keep the kitchen organized and free from clutter/mess throughout the week.

I also took out the 4 bowls of compost materials and emptied them into our compost bin outside. Then I reminded myself that I should only have one compost bowl out on the counter at any given time. When that one bowl gets full, it’s time to take it outside– rather than filling more bowls! (I struggle with this during the winter because I hate being cold/ going outside when it’s below 70 degrees.)

And lastly, I reviewed/ organized the papers on the fridge.

At our house, that’s where papers go to collect. And they never seem to get removed in a timely manner. Including my child’s artwork! So, after a quick review of those papers, most went into the recycle bin.

My daughter’s art went into another pile that I have in my bedroom with her school work and artwork. I know, I know, don’t judge me! I’m a work in progress when it comes to decluttering. I’ll get to that pile eventually. 😉

Here’s the kitchen counter results:

Then it was on to the kitchen cabinets and drawers!

Day 11 and 16 Kitchen cupboards and drawers, plus the medicine cabinet

Uh oh… I may have cleared my counters yesterday by shoving some items into cabinets and drawers, and also into the pantry…

I guess those delayed decisions can only be put off so long…

This was an opportunity to actually pare things down like we so desperately needed to do in the kitchen.

I was unable to do this in one day. In fact, my kitchen cupboards and drawers took most of week 2. Why? You’ll see…

I started off with our cupboards that are kind of an extension of our pantry.

We have a small pantry and not all of our food will fit in there. Instead, we keep the spices, sugar, flour, medicine, etc in these two cupboards as well.

I emptied everything out, placed them on a clean towel on the floor, and went through each item to decide its fate.

Let me just say, the before and after photos just do not do these cupboards justice.

Everything is so much easier to find and to reach. It makes sense now!

Here are some of the things that I did to improve the organization of these shelves:

  • Medicine up high: The medicine shelf was moved from the bottom to the top. Impossible for little hands to reach without a stool. And since I had recently gone through our medicine to dispose of anything that was expired, it was a pretty simple change. Note: If you need to dispose of medicine, be environmentally-safe about it and do it properly.
  • Categories for Baking/Cooking supplies: All of the other baking and cooking supplies were organized into four main groups- spices, flours, sweets/sugars, and liquids/other. Then they were placed on the shelves accordingly.
  • Shakeology shelf: I left one shelf for all of my magic bullet cups, shakeology, and add-in ingredients. I drink shakeology to help with my thyroid issues, and because it’s healthy and I like it. Since I use these items to make shakes daily, it made sense to keep them together.
  • Easier access to “heavy-use” spices: Our spice shelf was packed before! You couldn’t see what was in there and when you wanted to find something, other bottles would fall out. We accidentally bought multiples of the same spice because it was so difficult to determine what was in there.

The spices took the longest to reorganize because I had to go through the ones in our cabinet and on our counter spice rack to consolidate.

I first went through all of the bottles in the cabinet, getting rid of the super old spices. Then, I sorted them based on which spices we used a lot. Any spices deemed a “heavy-use” spice were set aside to go into our spice rack on the kitchen counter next to the stove. The rest were organized on the bottom left cabinet shelf, making them easier to see and reach for cooking near the stove.

Then I had to reorganize the spice rack on our counter before I could move on!

At this time, I emptied all spices that were still in our kitchen counter top spice rack. This spice rack was given to us as a wedding gift and I still love how it looks! But in 12 years, we still had a lot of the original spices in it. We hadn’t used half of the original spices. And they were still there on display, ready to use, in our spice rack on the counter. Ew.

So, that’s why I emptied them ALL, washed the nice glass bottles in the dishwasher, and then refilled them with all the spices that we DO use a lot. I added new labels to many of the bottles that were filled with our newly designated “heavy-use” spices.

Our spice rack is now beautiful and useful and we can display it proudly on our counter.

Then I moved on to our Plastic Tupperware cupboards.

We had organized our plastics not too long ago, but we still had a lot of unnecessary stuff on the bottom shelf. Out they went, to be donated or recycled.

There is now plenty of space on the bottom shelf!

Frugal Thumb Tip: I use the extra space to allow any plastic/tupperware items to finish drying if they come out of the dishwasher still wet. By morning, they’re ready to be reorganized and stacked in the proper place on the top shelf.

Last but not least, I decluttered and reorganized our pots and pans in the cupboards.

Instead of piling everything willy-nilly like we used to do, now everything has a place. On the top shelf, larger pots are nested on the left, medium/small pots are in the middle, and pans are stacked on the right. On the bottom shelf, all the casserole dishes are on the left and the cupcake and cookie baking sheets are on the right. All of the pot lids are in the middle.

I’m constantly amazed what a little reorganizing can do.

With the cupboards done, it was on to the kitchen drawers.

These first two drawers were overfilled and a serious mess. We pared down the massive piles and now we have measuring cups and spatulas in one drawer, with sharp things in the other.

The next drawer contained all of our outdoor grilling stuff plus an old broken hand mixer. It was easy to pare down and keep only the things that we would use with our outdoor grill.

And the last drawer that I organized was next to the sink and held all of our hand towels. It was quite a messy pile of towels before.

Whenever I had freshly washed hand towels, I’d end up throwing them on top and smashing them in there to get the drawer to shut.

Just a few minutes of refolding was all that was needed and then, voila! The drawer closes easily now. AND amazingly, there’s a lot of extra space even though there are the same amount of towels in there.

I must admit that I got this folding idea from watching the show “Tidying Up” on Netflix. Thank you, Marie Kondo for your folding techniques.

After all that, there’s still a couple more cupboards that I need to go through. Cups and plates, silverware… but they can wait until the next round.

My goal is progress, not perfection.

All of the cabinets and drawers that are now organized in the kitchen make me happy!

Whenever anything gets used for cooking and then needs to be put away, we know exactly where to put it now.

Day 12 Pantry.

There was only one major space left to organize in the kitchen.

It was time to declutter our pantry.

I actually organized the pantry not too long ago, so it’s not as bad as some of the kitchen cabinets and drawers that I had to go through. I hadn’t really spent any time trying to reorganize those in the last four years.

Alas, we’d been grocery shopping many times since I last organized the pantry and somehow that means it was still in need of attention. Groceries tend to get thrown in wherever there’s room when we’re in a hurry…

This is another situation where the before and after pictures just can’t do it justice. But reorganizing really made things easier to find, I promise!

Every shelf is now categorized so a certain type of food is allowed to be on it.

To keep like items together in our pantry, we are now organizing our shelves by:

  • chips
  • pasta, breads, crackers
  • drink mixes, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, lemonade
  • breakfast food
  • cans
  • other staples (like extra bottles of ketchup, bags of onions or potatoes, and large containers of white vinegar)

Frugal Thumb Tip: Pay attention to the height of your pantry shelves and the height of your foods. Make sure you’re using the space to its full potential.

I switched the “breakfast” shelf with the “cans” shelf when I realized that the cereal boxes would still fit on the slightly shorter shelf and the cans could be stacked three high (instead of just 2) on the slightly taller shelf.

After I finished reorganizing the pantry, I looked around and realized my kitchen decluttering spree was successful.

A more organized kitchen

Now that our kitchen is organized, we can find everything easily and know where to put things away.

Both food and cooking utensils are more conveniently located.

Best of all, so far, we’ve been able to maintain this new organized kitchen! Like, for more than a week! That’s some exciting progress for me. 🙂

And the kitchen is now one of my favorite places to just be in our home. That in and of itself is a miracle, since I’ve never been much of a cook.

(Though, some recent changes to our meal planning has also helped with that. I’ve become a huge fan of and successful at freezer/crockpot meals.)

But anyway, if you’re messy like me, and you want to change the whole atmosphere of your kitchen, try this.

Give yourself a few hours over the course of a week and do these decluttering exercises.

Truly, taking the time to declutter is good for you, your wallet, and the environment.

It gives you plenty to do (instead of shopping) and allows you to live more intentionally with the things you do have.

And now, it’s time for me to start week 3 of decluttering- the master bedroom edition! Coming soon…