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Spring Cleaning - 5 Tips to Declutter your Kitchen

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When you live in a condo or townhouse, having an organized kitchen isn’t optional - it’s essential. On the other hand, when you have a larger kitchen it’s easy to let things get out of control, leaving you feeling like your large space is much smaller than it is. Either way, it never hurts to take inventory every spring and make sure your existing configuration is working for you. Have a look at the following 5 tips for freeing up precious space in your kitchen.

1. Reconsider your kitchen UX
User Experience or UX is a popular term in the web and app design biz to encompass the strategy behind how a user will interact with a particular product. This concept of UX can be applied to almost anything in life, especially the rooms in our home. Many of us will move into a new place and just start unpacking the kitchen boxes willy-nilly, placing items into the cupboards and drawers where they seem to fit best. But how can you know what’s best until you move around the space for a few weeks first? If you’re going to gut your kitchen out for an annual cleaning, consider doing a reassessment of your UX and move some contents around. We recently reversed the direction of our dish washing area (drying rack on other side of the sinks) and it has made our tiny kitchen feel significantly larger.

2. Pitch or donate what you aren’t using
If you’re pretty sure you’re gluten intolerant, what good is that box of unopened lasagna noodles going to do you? It might make a decent month’s work for your resident silverfish, but if you haven’t opened it and you don’t think you will (and it’s not expired) - give it away. Same goes for kitchen gadgets. Do you really need an immersion blender, juicer, 2 sizes of food processor, Magic Bullet, hand mixer AND conventional blender? Also, have you recently moved in with somebody? It’s highly unlikely you’ll be in such a hurry for minced garlic that you’ll need to be using both presses at the same time; one is probably all you need. Consider thinning the herd and pass on some small wares or appliances to a family member or friend who has just moved to town, or donate them to a community kitchen in your neighbourhood.

3. ‘Counter’ the compulsion to accumulate on precious surfaces
It’s amazing how quickly counters can become cluttered with things that - lets be honest - we were just too lazy to put away. The waffle iron, for example…does it really need to be on display, or did nobody get around to putting it back after Sunday brunch? Some things like microwaves and stand mixers need to be on the counter because they’re too cumbersome to move back and forth. But if you don’t use an appliance on a daily basis, must it live on your counter and occupy precious surface real estate? Could it be moved to an easily accessible cupboard or closet instead? Freeing up some space on your counters will give your kitchen an immediate functionality boost.

4. Audit your ingredient cupboards
Here’s a good rule of thumb: if the label design is circa any decade that isn’t the one you’re currently living in, it’s time to throw your ingredient away. Imagine my shock to discover curry powder (once likely a robust orangey-yellow, now an anemic beige) from the 1970s…possibly earlier…in my parents’ spice drawer. Also, you might find doubles, triples…even quadruples of spices that you can marry to free up space. Same goes for your baking ingredients. I sometimes discover 2 or 3 bags of icing sugar in my cupboard that can be amalgamated.

5. Do a plastic container check
Have you noticed your plastic container inventory seems to grow larger and larger, while matching lids are increasingly difficult to find? This mysterious phenomenon- much like the mismatched/stray sock caper in the laundry room - will become a real annoyance if you don’t take the bull by the horns, before they find you suffocated on your kitchen floor beneath a mountain of plastic. Pull everything out and make sure each container has a lid that fits. Recycle all orphans and widows, or save lidless containers to use for drawer organizing/kids craft supplies. 

- Dee

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