ending kitchen clutter

We have all heard the kitchen referred to as the “heart of the home,” the place where everyone loves to gather to eat, drink and socialize.

If the kitchen is the heart of the home, shouldn’t we take care of it the way we would our beating heart? The parallels of having an organized kitchen and keeping heart-healthy habits are remarkably similar. I’ll put on my white medical coat and explain.

Repair blockage to keep things flowing smoothly.
In other words, what things in your kitchen don’t belong there? Old mail and newspapers? Expired foods and vitamins? What items in your kitchen do you no longer need, want, or use? Focus on one area at a time and really scrutinize each item. Ask yourself, do I need it, do I use it, do I want it? Do I have something else that does the same job? Am I keeping it out of guilt or obligation?

Let’s say you have an ice cream maker your kids gave to you for your birthday several years ago. Such a thoughtful gift because they know how much you love ice cream! However, you’ve only used it once because, honestly, it’s too much work and there are so many delicious flavors to choose from at the store. On top of that, the ice cream maker takes up a lot of your kitchen’s limited storage space. Only keep the things you love and are useful to you. Repair your kitchen’s blockage with a healthy purge and you’ll love the space it opens up!

Stay active to maximize good health.
Movement is good for us physically and mentally. So what does this have to do with kitchen organization? I’m not suggesting your pasta needs to do sit-ups. What I mean is, stay actively aware of what you’re keeping in your kitchen and keep things moving in and out equally.

For example, use up most of your cereal before you buy a new box, or resist buying six cans of kidney beans just because they’re on sale when you only make your signature chili twice a year. When a charity sends you cute return address labels, swap out the labels you don’t like and haven’t even used. An organized kitchen requires you stay active and aware of what’s taking up space on counter tops, and in drawers and cabinets.

Use mindfulness to control stress.
None of us can eliminate stress completely, but we can create simple habits to manage it. Insist everyone adopt the habit that if you use it you must put it away before you leave the kitchen. This means everything from food to dishes, and so on.

Another useful habit is have a home for everything. I am sure that in your kitchen, silverware has a home in the drawer and glasses have their place in the cabinet. But where do the extra set of car keys and your neighbor’s keys live? Or the current bridge schedule with everyone’s contact information? How about the recipes you tear out of magazines and intend on making some day? All items in your kitchen need designated homes; all items in your kitchen need to be put away after they are used and, of course, only keep what you will use and love.

Let’s keep the heart of our home as healthy as the heart in our body!

Jocelyn Kenner

Jocelyn Kenner

Jocelyn Kenner is a professional organizer and the owner of See Your Way Clear since 2007. She works with people of all ages and combines strategies, warmth, humor, and support so clients learn practical and customized methods for overcoming organizational challenges. Contact her at 914-907-6712 or jocelyn@kenner.org; www.seeyourwayclear.com
Jocelyn Kenner

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