I have an project for you. It’s called small steps to a clutter free kitchen. I know you’re busy and don’t have a lot of time to organize your kitchen, so I will make it simple for you. All you have to is to get rid of 5 things today. That’s right, I want you to get rid of 5 items from your kitchen in the following category-
- 5 Spare items (too many of the same/similar item)
- 5 Expired items ( that is not useful anymore after some/no use)
- 5 What if items ( items that are there with no clear purpose)
I reuse glass jars in all shapes and sizes and if I’m not careful I could easily accumulate tons of glass jars that would clutter my shelves. Glass jars are useful, clutter is not. So I allow myself to have only so many spares of a certain item- glass jars, tupper ware, take out containers, knives, spatulas, kitchen towels etc. I now only keep the glass jars that I have found useful over time, the size/shape works for me and the lids close well.
You can find these kinds of spares in your kitchen that are not useful when you’ve too many of them, creates visual clutter and drains mental energy. Get rid of at least 5 of them. It’s an arbitrary number though, so if you find yourself with 19 tupperwares and 13 take out boxes- feel free to toss them. Oh, and don’t forget the spatulas, you really don’t need 7 of them.
Only keep so many numbers of the same item that you think is enough and have a purpose. Stack them neatly for easy access and visual pleasure.
Now let’s tackle the expired items from your kitchen. Go to your pantry and find the food and medicine that expired a while ago. Get rid of jars that hold questionable looking contents. That bottle of mysterious looking pickles that your mom’s neighbor gave you when you visited India needs to go now.
Expired items also include things that don’t serve you well anymore- worn out spatulas, chipped dishes, boxes without lids, worn out dish rags/napkins/towels, baby spoons, baby dishes etc.
Yes, it can be difficult to part with expired items. You know you have spent good money on them but you’re also aware that you’ve no use for them anymore. Keeping them on the shelf seem to reduce the guilt that comes with spending money which is nothing but a trick from shaitan. The guilt will weigh you down , a miserable feeling that comes from accumulating unwanted stuff. Get rid of the clutter, remove the guilt. Move on with a clearer mind insha Allah.
What if items-
I used to have more things than I do now. I had a food vacuum sealer ( what if I need to seal my own food for some reason), egg separator (looks handy), honey dipper (looks cute) – that I never used. I learned that a food container is good enough, the egg shells cracked in half can separate the yolk from white and a spoon does a fine job of taking out the honey from a jar. Although these items didn’t cost me much (the sealer was from Freecycle), it did create a lot of clutter. My kitchen now holds items that are multipurpose and we use them regularly alhamdulillah.
“What ifs” are from shaitan to keep you occupied with a cluttered and disorganized life. What ifs usually stem from fear. What if I need that mortar and pestle someday (which is too heavy for me to use) or what if need that Quesadilla maker ( I always use a pan) etc.
If shaitan can’t get you to do a bad thing, it will lure you into doing a lesser good thing. Fear driven clutter is just that.
But don’t toss out occasionally used or seasonal items though, like the beautiful cake stand that gets used to celebrate special days or the rolling pin that you use to make pastry or rugelach etc.
Like me, you know by now how you cook, what items you reach out for again and again and which pots and pans are your favorite.. You also know the cookbooks you will never use, the ramekins that won’t see the daylight and the juicer that’s hiding way back in your kitchen cabinet (or the garage). If you want to retrieve some of you money back that you’d spent on them, you can sell them on Ebay, Craigslist or have a garage sale. You can also donate them to a local donation center.
To make decluttering easier, I keep a perpetual donation box/bag in my home. All the items that don’t get used go there. After a few weeks the bag leaves for a donation center. Keeping a box might make it easy for you before you can part with the items that’s creating clutter in your life. You will realize that you can live without the spare, expired and what items after all.