What You’ll Need
- A timer (the one on your phone is perfect)
- Three or four boxes
- Insulated cooler
- Paper towels or cleaning towels
- Dish washing soap, spray cleaner
Zone 1: Cabinets
Decluttering kitchen cabinets can be daunting so start here first. Depending on the space you have in your kitchen, there may be a substantial amount of items to sort through. Divide your kitchen into 4-5 sections and take a quick break as you complete each one. The important thing to remember is not to get discouraged and that you don’t have to keep everything – this is a great time to sort through your items and get rid of unwanted junk.
As you empty each cabinet and shelf, use your favorite cleaning solution with a rag or paper towels and give them a quick cleaning.
Zone 2: Under the Sink
For this task, I recommend setting your timer for 5 minutes. When reviewing items, throw out any that haven’t been used in a while and those that are expired. Be sure to dispose of any hazardous material in an environmentally friendly way.
Zone 3: Hanging Storage Areas
If you have items such as pots, pans, or towels in hanging storage areas, these are rather easy areas to clean. Remove and set aside what you will be keeping, discard items that you no longer use and wipe down the areas when you’re done.
Zone 4: Drawers
Drawers can often times become a dumping ground for anything and everything – be particularly strict when decluttering drawers and throw away or donate anything you don’t need or use. We recommend 10-minute timed intervals for cleaning drawers to keep things moving along.
Zone 5: Work Surfaces, Countertops, Kitchen Island and Breakfast Bar
If your counters are already bare, a quick wipe down is really all you need. If your counters are cluttered, here’s what you do…
Divide all of the counterspace areas into three sections then completely clear off section 1, placing items onto the kitchen table. Thoroughly clean and wipe down the counter and backsplash or wall in section 1 and replace as few items as possible. Do the same with section 2 and section 3, clearing, cleaning and replacing. The goal here is to keep your counters clear of clutter so go through each section’s items as you are placing them back, keeping only what is necessary and try and find alternative places to store the other stuff.
As you go through the counters, take time to wipe down and declutter your stovetop too.
Zone 6: Refrigerator & Freezer
The first step in decluttering your refrigerator and freezer is to quickly go through both and throw out any old, mysterious, expired, or unwanted/unused items. Three year old maraschino cherries? Pitch’em, you’re not using them!
Place any food that you want to keep into a box or cooler beside you and keep covered. Carefully remove all drawers and soak them in warm water mixed with dish washing soap in the sink. You can also remove the shelves but if they are too big or heavy, simply place an old towel on the bottom of the fridge. Then use a mixture of warm water and dishwashing liquid, wipe down the shelves and the interior walls. For any goopy messes, soak some paper towels with warm water and place them on the goop for several minutes to loosen it up. Don’t forget to wring out the towel periodically as it soaks up the excess water.
Wipe down the interior with a dry cloth or paper towels then clean, dry and replace any shelves or drawers that you removed. This is a great time to move your shelves up or down to different levels for better storage too!
Make of habit of performing this same exercise the night before garbage day. Go shelf by shelf and as you empty each section, take a cloth with some refrigerator-safe disinfectant spray and clean up any spills or messes.
Zone 7: Pantry
Not every kitchen has a pantry but if yours does, declutter it in the same as your cabinets. Divide it into sections and wipe down shelves as you clear them. Remember: be quick and efficient. If you haven’t used something in the past year, get rid of it. It is either expired or you just don’t use it anymore.
Zone 8: Kitchen Table
There is no timer required for this zone as it should be one of the easier zones on your list. Simply wipe off your table and ensure it is free of clutter and ready to use.
Give yourself a pat on the back! A kitchen is one of the most used rooms in a house and it takes a lot of wear and tear. Keep this routine up every few weeks instead of every few months (…or years!) and it will take you no time at all!