Declutter Your Kitchen

Is the goal to declutter your kitchen high on your list of household organization tasks?

If so, you’re not alone. Given the amount of traffic that passes through the kitchen, and the amount of time most people spend there, it’s no wonder it’s a priority for many of us.

Despite the plethora of spacious, orderly (not to mention beautiful) kitchen designs available for viewing on the internet, in magazines, and on television, most of us only dream of having the desired amount of storage and work space in our kitchens.

Due to the demands of my husband’s job, our family has moved frequently – 15 times to be exact (with move #16 on the horizon). That’s a lot of different kitchens, and I can honestly say not one of them was everything I would wish a kitchen to be.

Granted, some were better than others; some were even quite nice, but none of them had sufficient cabinet or counter space to comfortably meet our needs. As a result, I've had a lot of practice organizing kitchens and devising strategies to get the most out of the space available.

If your dream kitchen is still just a dream (and likely to remain so for some time to come), do not despair. You can have an orderly, functional, efficient kitchen!

Understanding some basic principles of kitchen design will help you in achieving your goal to declutter your kitchen.

Kitchen Work Triangle

Most kitchens are designed with the concept of a work triangle in mind. The three main appliances or fixtures in the kitchen make up the points of the triangle: the refrigerator, the oven/range, and the sink.

Ideally, the total walking distance between the three points of the triangle should be between 12 and 26 feet. Less than 12 feet can lead to frustration. More than 26 feet can be exhausting for the cook.

I doubt that there are many of us who are forced to live with the daily frustration of a kitchen that is too big to be comfortable. If that is the case for you, you have my sincere sympathy. I’m afraid I can only image what that must be like. You see, I just paced off the distance of the work triangle in my current kitchen. It’s 12 feet – barely. That explains a lot.

Sample Kitchen Work Triangles

You may be wondering how understanding the concept of a work triangle will assist you in your quest to declutter your kitchen . Simple. The whole point of decluttering any space is to improve functionality in addition to aesthetics.

When it comes to kitchens, functionality hinges on the three points of the triangle. These three appliances/fixtures represent the three main functions or activities associated with this space - the storing, cooking, and cleaning of food and the tools used to prepare and serve it.

There is a logical process involved in the preparation of food.

  • You purchase the food.
  • You bring the food home and put it away – either in cupboards, on shelves, or in the refrigerator/freezer.
  • When you are ready to eat, you get the food out.
  • You wash the food (as needed).
  • You slice, chop, peel, mix, and so forth depending on what you are preparing.
  • You cook the food.
  • You serve the food.
  • You store the leftover food (if there is any).
  • Lastly, you clean any dishes, utensils, pans, or mixing bowls used in the preparation and serving of the food.

Organizing your kitchen with this process in mind will allow you to improve the functionality of the space and limit the amount of wasted effort you expend retracing your steps.

Declutter Your Kitchen with Work Zones

Directly related to the three points of the kitchen work triangle is the concept of kitchen work zones (sometimes referred to as centers). The three main work zones are:

  • Refrigeration Zone
  • Clean-up Zone
  • Cooking Zone

Kitchen work zones should be created with the concept of point-of-use storage in mind. Point-of-use storage refers to storing items where you use them. It is somewhat intuitive but frequently violated.

Often, when it comes to kitchens, the concept of storing like items together interferes with the concept of storing items where you use them. I’m going to ask you, in this specific instance, to assume that point-of-use storage takes precedence over storing like items together.

A classic example of this conflict is utensils. Our gut tells us they all belong in the same drawer, but typically the utensil drawer is bursting at the seams making it difficult to locate the specific tool you need at a given time.

Instead, consider separating tools according to function. Keep the tools you use at the stove top (whisks, stirring spoons, turners, etc.) in a crock or other decorative container on the countertop near the stove for easy access. Store the mixing spoons and spatulas in your Mixing Zone. Store the knives, peelers, and graters together in the Preparation Zone, and so forth. More about these last two zones on the kitchen work zones page.

The main thing to keep in mind as you set out to declutter your kitchen is work flow. The goal should be for the kitchen to function smoothly and efficiently. For that to be the case, you must be able to move with ease from one activity (or zone) to the next in a logical sequence.

A working knowledge of the kitchen work triangle and kitchen work zones will help tremendously in your efforts to declutter your kitchen.

Click here for more information on how to establish and maintain these and other kitchen work zones.

Declutter Your Kitchen One Component at a Time

Kitchens are complex spaces with numerous components which work together (ideally) to fulfill the room’s function. Each aspect of this essential space deserves some individual attention. When it comes to decluttering the kitchen, each component plays a role in contributing to, or detracting from, the functionality and aesthetics of this important room.

Check out the links below for more information on decluttering your kitchen.

Declutter Your Kitchen Cabinets

Organize Your Kitchen Cabinets

Declutter Your Refrigerator

Organize Your Refrigerator

Movable Kitchen Storage

Organize Recipes

Meal Planning

If you'd like help tackling your kitchen organization project click the link below to contact me.

Follow my Kitchen Organization Board on Pinterest.

Follow Step-by-Step Design's board Kitchen Organization on Pinterest.

Click here to return to Step-by-Step Declutter.

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