Do you have too much stuff? You must, or else you wouldn’t have clicked on this story. No judgments, though! We reached out to some experts to create the list below to help you. Whether you’re extremely low on cabinet real estate or you just want to get things tidier than they have been, here are 11 things you should get rid of right now — according to professional organizers.
1. Excess serving dishes
If you have more than a few platters and bowls that rarely get used, consider getting rid of the ones you’re least attached to. “These take up cabinet space that can often be put to better use to prevent cluttered counters,” says Sarah Grant, founder and lead organizer for Be.Neat Studio in Toronto. “Edit your collection of serving dishes, keeping a realistic perspective of your space, usage, and taste.”
2. Extra vases
A vase collection can build up faster than you realize and can often take up an entire cabinet, which is both impractical and wasteful. “Identify your go-to vases for displaying flowers, others you can re-gift with flowers, and more to donate,” Grant says. “Keeping these items in circulation means they can actually be enjoyed and limits the need to produce new ones.”
3. Old spices
As a rule, only keep the spices you actually use in your cabinet. (Chances are, you don’t need three types of mustard seeds occupying valuable real estate in your pantry.) According to Ally Milligan, a kitchen organizer and founder of Loveleaf, it’s a good idea to replace whole spices every four years, ground spices every two to three years, and dried herbs every one to three years. Anything longer than that and the spices will start to lose their potency.
4. Mismatched food storage containers
Say goodbye to food storage containers that have seen better days (anything that’s warped, stained, missing a lid, and so on). “Recycle them, if possible, and upgrade to a uniform set of glass food storage containers,” Milligan says. “I promise, leftovers taste better when stored in them!”
5. Gimmicky gadgets
Ever buy something that seemed like it would be a timesaver, only to discover it was awkward to wash, store, and use? If you find yourself moving something out of the way more than you actually use it, Grant recommends ditching the extra gadget — and think twice about your next investment.
6. Specialty food ingredients
We’re all guilty of buying a special ingredient for one recipe. If you’ve got a few of these sorts of things on hand, don’t wait for them to expire to get rid of it. Instead, Grant suggests offering it up to a friend who can use it while it’s still fresh.
7. Cardboard packaging
“Excess cardboard packaging eats up space, making it harder to take stock of groceries,” says Grant. So transfer your snack bars, crackers, and cereals into labeled containers where the foods will be more visible (and aesthetically pleasing).
8. That knife block
Contrary to popular belief, you might not actually need an entire knife block. Milligan says she uses one knife on the regular — an all-purpose chef’s knife — and only keeps that plus a serrated knife, cheese knife, and paring knife on hand in a small drawer. “No need for a huge knife block means even more counter space,” she says.
9. Extra mugs
Professional organizer Felice Cohen says mugs are common offenders when it comes to disorganized kitchens. Be honest: How many mugs do you use a day? Two at the most, if you’re a heavy caffeine drinker? If mugs are unnecessarily piling up in your dishwasher and cabinet, she suggests you choose three or four favorites and get rid of any you don’t absolutely need (especially those that are cracked or chipped — safety first).
10. Restaurant condiments and disposable cutlery
You already have flatware, napkins, and ketchup of your own. So why are you hanging on to the condiment packets and plastic forks that came with your last takeout order? Rather than accumulating a pile in your drawer, professional organizer Nonnahs Driskill recommends asking restaurants to leave them out each time you order.
11. Reusable water bottles
Reusable water bottles are a great way to help the environment. But these bottles aren’t doing your kitchen storage space any favors if you have too many that you aren’t actually using. “Chances are the straws are missing, lids are missing, they don’t fit in your cabinet properly or the car cup holder, or they don’t keep your drinks cold,” says professional organizer Sara Bereika. “Have one for each family member. That’s all you need.” Donate the rest.
Read more of this article online at TheKitchn.com