How To Declutter Your Kitchen Cabinets


It is also not the kind of mission I think you could get done in 15 minutes total (at least not for all the cabinets in your whole kitchen), but instead, 15 minutes at a time. Hence, the reason we’ve been working on it for several days already, and will continue into the future as well.

Today’s mission is to declutter kitchen cabinets, but really that is a mission that we’ve been working on for quite a few days.

It is also not the kind of mission I think you could get done in 15 minutes total (at least not for all the cabinets in your whole kitchen), but instead, 15 minutes at a time. Hence, the reason we’ve been working on it for several days already, and will continue into the future as well.

Before I tell you more though, please note that this NO MESS 2016 mission is designed to be done while working on the Kitchen Organization Challenge here on the site.

I’ve designed this day’s mission to be somewhat of a catchall, because although I can say what “typically” people keep in their kitchen cabinets, I cannot say what you keep in your cabinets. So today is a day to catch up or tackle something else we haven’t addressed.

Declutterย  Missions Related To Kitchen Cabinets To Break This Task Down Further

So you don’t get overwhelmed though remember that according to the NO MESSย  calendar we have already, or will in the future (soon) tackle the following areas which may address some of your cabinet clutter.

We’re also focused in these kitchen cabinet declutter missions on non-food types of items. I understand that some people use their kitchen cabinets as a pantry, but we’ll address food types of cupboards as well as more traditional pantries in the Pantry Organization Challenge later.

Why You Must Break Down Decluttering Kitchen Cabinets Into Smaller Steps

So why have I broken down the task of decluttering kitchen cabinets into much smaller tasks? Simple, if you try to tackle all of your kitchen cabinets at once you’ll get overwhelmed quickly, burn out, and potentially leave a huger mess in your wake than if you’d just left it all the way it was.

For example, a reader, Soniaย  askedย  in this photo, saying, “Seriously? All of that was crammed into one cabinet? Feeling overwhelmed!”

Now imagine if she’d pulled out all of the stuff from all of the kitchen cabinets at once, only had a couple of hours to work on the task, and then was supposed to cook dinner. Woah, that would have been a huge mess.

That’s why I advocate 15 minutes at a time, and just one cabinet, or even one shelf of one cabinet, at a time.

Below I will tell you the step by step instructions for how to declutter your cabinets in a way that works, yet will not make a huger mess and will keep you from feeling overwhelmed.

Step By Step Instructions For Removing Kitchen Cabinet Clutter

So you’re ready to declutter your cabinets? Great! You can click the links above to get more ideas and instructions for decluttering or organizing the various specific things found in cabinets, but the instructions below will work for organizing any type of kitchen cabinets, generally.

So grab your timer, set it for 15 minutes, and let’s get started!

Step 1: Choose One Cabinet, Or One Shelf Only

I’m repeating this, because it is such a big deal — do not try to tackle all of your kitchen cabinets or shelves at once. You will regret it.

Instead, choose only one smaller area to work on. Yes, it may seem like you’ll backtrack this way, when you come across yet another pot when you thought you’d already done the pots, and I suppose you will. But that will be minor compared to the total upheaval trying to do it all at the same time will cause.

Step 2: Take Everything Out In That One Little Area

Once you’ve chosen a manageable area to declutter take everything out of that one space, and only the items in that one space.

Step 3: Quickly Clean Up Crumbs & Dust While Cabinet Empty

How often do you actually empty your cabinets? Not very often typically. So use this rare opportunity while it is emptied to do a very quick clean up of dust, crumbs, and other debris in there.ย 

You can also add shelf liners if you wish, but it is definitely not necessary, and if that is going to slow you down too much don’t do it now.

Step 4: Evaluate The Items You Removed From The Cabinet And Make Each One “Earn” Its Way Back

You don’t have to evaluate each item too long, and ideally you won’t, but when evaluating you are asking yourself questions like, how often do you use this? Is it broken or significantly damaged? Do you like it? Do you have duplicates? Do you have space for this?, etc.

The most important things to keep in your kitchen are items you actually use daily or at least quite frequently. The less often you use something the more of an indication that it needs to “earn” its spot to stay in your kitchen.

Make sure to have a trash bag ready for trash, another box or container for donations or for selling, and yet another container to place items you want to keep but do not belong in your kitchen cabinets.ย 

Step 5: Replace All Items You’ve Decided To Keep Into The Cabinet

What, you ask? Aren’t I supposed to add fancy organizational products now, and get everything I’ve kept organized?

The answer is, no, not quite yet, but eventually.ย 

It is true that the first step in every organizational project around your home is to declutter.ย 

But it is better to fully declutter first, or at least fully declutter a specific type of item, before you begin to organize too much.

For example, if you have pots and pans in 3 different cabinets, and have only tackled one of the cabinets so far, even if it is the main pots and pans cabinet, it is not time to organize them yet.

Instead, wait until you’ve dealt with all the pots and pans in the various cabinets, and then perhaps evaluate them quickly one more time once you’ve gathered them all up into one place, to make sure you still are happy with your decisions when seeing everything all together, before you begin to organize them.

But it is important not to leave things in chaos when you’re in the decluttering process, which is why you need to at the least return everything you didn’t declutter back into the cabinet once you’re done with that one section, before you work on the next section.

As you work on this project in small steps and chunks you will slowly see the project come together and in the mean time, as you need to use your kitchen for regular everyday functions, like cooking and eating, you won’t have made so much of a mess that it makes it more difficult to use the room effectively.

Step 6: Repeat All The Steps Again

I think I’ve already given away the punch line about why you need to repeat the decluttering steps again, based on our discussion of step 5. But basically, when you tackle a big decluttering project like your kitchen cabinets you’ve got to work in layers.

You’ve got to get rid of the majority of the clutter in each individual small areas first. Then you’ll have more room to group like things together and see everything you’ve got left as a whole. This often results in another smaller round or two of decluttering as you winnow it down further and further as you work on the project.

Then, once everything is grouped together and decluttered, it will be time to organize what you’ve got left.

This may sound a bit overwhelming, but trust me, 15 minutes at a time, and doing it in these small chunks, really works, and keeps you from feeling overwhelmed and discouraged!ย 

To get you inspired to tackle your own kitchen cabinet clutter check out some images sent in by participants of the Declutter 365 missions and 52 Week Organized Home Challenge showing their results, and what they achieved in their homes in just 15 minutes at a time.

20 Minutes To Remove All This Clutter From Just Two Cabinets!

Cooking TOOLS and small appliances:

Today I spent 20 minutes to declutter two of my kitchen cabinets, one that contains small kitchen appliances and the other one is full of my baking stuff .

The small appliances and kitchen tools I don’t use will go to charity.

Now Nothing Is In Danger Of Falling Out When I Open The Cabinet!

now I have cabinetsย  where I can actually reach all my pots & pans, I can close the doors, and nothing is threatening to slide out all over my kitchen floor.”

For example, I had three full boxes of disposable forks, knives, and spoons. Why? I don’t really know the answer.ย 

I have learned that I have double and triple of some things for no apparent reason. On the other hand, there were things needed that weren’t purchased.ย 

Conclusion? Getting organized and staying that way will save me money. What we need will be purchased and we won’t waste as much money, time, and space buying and storing stuff we don’t need.

When you begin to declutter the feeling you get is contagious, so if you’re loving the results you’re getting I would encourage you to keep going.ย 

Just pick and choose the ones you want to do, that will make a big impact in your home. But if you want someone else to tell you the orderย  and follow along as we all get our homes clutter free together!


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