Tips for de-junking and organizing your kitchen this summer

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Adriana Urbina is an In The Know cooking contributor. Follow her on Instagram and visit her website for more.

Although the rest of our house stays relatively uncluttered day to day, our kitchen requires constant cleaning and upkeep. Every time I finish cleaning and organizing my kitchen, I feel so much better, as a tidy kitchen certainly makes eating at home more enjoyable and meal prep easier. 

Here are some key organizing tips to help you get a simplified and more organized kitchen:

Basic Tips to Always Remember 

Make Use of Your Cabinets

Your kitchen cabinets can help you declutter your valuable counter space. When possible, move items that are not used daily off of your countertops and into whatever cabinet space you have available. Clear, organized countertops will transform the way your kitchen looks and feels. 

Downsize Your Cleaning Products

You probably have more cleaners than you need. Sort through them all and only keep the ones that you use most. This really should only be two or three products. The rest should be discarded or brought to your community’s hazardous waste drop-off site. 

Hang Items Under the Sink

Use a spring-loaded curtain rod to hang up spray bottles under your kitchen sink. The handles should fit perfectly over the rod. This will free up space under your sink for other items you want to keep on hand. You can also hang a large coffee cup from the rod to store your extra sponges.

Hang Up Cooking Utensils

Use 3M adhesive hooks to hang up cooking utensils on the insides of cabinets. For example, measuring spoons and cups can be hung up by tying a piece of string to their handles; this frees up drawer space and makes it easier to find what you need. 

Other Tips to Keep in Mind

  • Clean as you go.
  • Always strive for an empty sink.
  • Be extremely selective about what stays out on your countertops.
  • Clean up after every meal. 
  • Rethink what’s in your cabinet.

How to Contain Your Food

Airtight Glass Containers

Why glass? Glass doesn’t absorb the color, odor or flavor of food the way plastic does. Glass storage options are also far sturdier and survive the dishwasher and microwave without any adverse effects over time. 

Silicone Bags

Silicone is more durable (though tears and punctures can still happen!) and lasts longer than plastic, which explains the higher price tags.

Glass Mason Jars

These are great for storing dried goods to help you organize your pantry! 


Make sure to label your containers, especially in your pantry. This will help you keep count of what you have and find ingredients more easily. I bought a labeling machine, and it makes my life so much easier.

Questions to Ask Yourself 

As you go through the items in your kitchen and pantry, ask yourself the following questions: 

Do I use this?

Not “Will I use this someday?” but “Do I use this now?” We all have appliances we’d like to use, but oftentimes, our real life doesn’t match our dream life. Those tools and appliances you’re holding on to for “someday” are likely just taking up space and adding clutter to your kitchen. Let them go to someone who will actually use them, and make more room for the life you’re living right now. 

How many do I have?

We often accumulate “extras” of certain things, especially wooden spoons, mixing bowls, coffee cups, plastic food containers and baking sheets. How many of these do you use on a regular basis? Keep your favorites and donate the rest. 

Would I buy this today?

Our decorating styles and cooking styles change over time. Look at each item and ask yourself, “Would I buy this today?” If the answer is no, sell or donate it. 

Remove Items That Don’t Belong 

There are probably plenty of things in your kitchen that don’t belong there to begin with. Clutter attracts clutter, and kitchen countertops are infamous for being the primary dumping ground for everyone in the house. 

Put everything that doesn’t belong in the kitchen into a box to relocate to other rooms after you’re done decluttering your kitchen. Don’t waste time right now on relocation; that’s a task that’s easier done once the decluttering is finished. Better yet, delegate the relocation task to a spouse, partner, child or organizing buddy. 

The most important thing is to not get overwhelmed. Start by doing one thing at a time!

If you enjoyed this story, check out Adriana Urbina’s tips for organizing your pantry!

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