I recently read an article by one of my fellow organizers, Bev Hitchins, from ALIGN, A Unique & Integrative Approach to Clutter and Balance. Her article reminded me that organizing is something that you do for yourself, but the benefits can carry over to other people.
The holidays are fast approaching. If you plan to do any entertaining or hosting of gatherings as the year draws to a close, now is the time to clear your kitchen clutter. “Too soon,” you say? Not really!
The kitchen is a complex space. You store food in the refrigerator, freezer and pantry. You keep pots and pans in one place, storage containers in another, and plates and glasses in still another. Cleaning supplies might go under the sink and cleaning tools like mops and brooms might have their own cupboard. Each area takes time to assess and address.
Recently I started working on my own kitchen clutter. Here are a few tips I picked up to get you started:
- Parcel your approach. Give yourself small projects like cleaning the refrigerator or just going through your can goods. Let go of the notion that you can do your entire kitchen in one day. This can be exhausting work.
- Toss anything that has expired. This includes all can goods as well as pasta and other dry goods like cereal, rice and flour. I shocked myself when I saw an expiration date of 2006 on at least one can.
- Review your pots and pans. Get rid of worn-out, especially aluminum, cookware. It has been documented that victims of Alzheimer’s disease have four times the normal amount of aluminum in their brain nerve cells. Replace them with glass, iron or stainless steel cookware.
- Assess your cleaning supplies. Perhaps it’s time to go green. Throw out your chemical-laden cleaning products. Start investigating natural antiseptic ones, perhaps containing pure essential oils. Take a look at your rags, mops and brooms. Are they in good shape? If not, treat yourself to new ones.
- Check out your dishes and flatware. You might have just the right amount of both, but take a look anyway. Are you using those odd plates and bowls? Is your flatware clean and organized? How many serving utensils do you have? Not enough or too many?
- Empty out your junk drawer. This task may take all afternoon, but it’s well worth it. Ask yourself the tough question, “Why am I holding onto this?” and then promptly kiss it goodbye.
I am still working my way through my kitchen, but now when I open my refrigerator or cabinets, I feel relief instead of frustration. I can see easily what I have and what I need. Having a friend come for dinner is fun and not so labor-intensive.
I urge you–do yourself a favor. Start clearing the clutter in your kitchen now before you discover Thanksgiving is just a week away. You’ll find cooking a more enjoyable experience, and your turkey may taste better than you ever remembered!
Bev Hitchins is President of ALIGN, A Unique and Integrative Approach to Clutter and Balance. When her mother died in 1990, she drove a huge truck with contents from her mother’s home in Florida to Virginia where she promptly put it in storage for 9 years. Only in 1999 did she begin the de-cluttering process, which led to starting a thriving de-cluttering/organizing business in 2005. You can get a flavor for her approach and philosophy from her website: http://www.alignyourlife.net/ and her blog http://alignyourlife.wordpress.com/.