How To Declutter Your Kitchen By Tossing These 20 Items

Decluttering your kitchen is one of the most important tasks you can do. It will improve the functionality of your kitchen. This is especially true of a small kitchen.

When your kitchen is relatively small, cabinet and drawer space become even more valuable. You have to be clever about storage solutions. But the biggest impact to making a small kitchen efficient is to only keep those items that you really need.

With a smaller kitchen, less clutter is essential to keeping it clean. Simplicity is key to keeping a small kitchen clutter free.

We spend a lot of time in our kitchens with our family, that it just makes sense to simplify the kitchen as much as possible.

assorted plasticware.

Less is more definitely applies here.

Beginning To Declutter The Kitchen

I am always in a rotation of cleaning out and reorganizing. I recently cleaned out my entry hall coat closet which seems to have been a home to everything but coats.

It’s all better now. All the junk was sorted and coats now live freely in this closet.

Once that was completed, I moved onto the kitchen.

A few nights before, I was preparing dinner and needed paprika. Opening my spice drawer, I picked up the bottle of paprika. It occurred to me that it had been awhile since I purchased that bottle. Looking at the expiration date, I was right. The paprika had expired a year ago. Oops!

That began my decluttering session in my kitchen. Oh, I didn’t complete this in one day. No, no, no. I took my time over the next several days.

I knew it was time for a good look at what items needed to go. This began my quest to declutter my kitchen.

Do Not Try To Tackle This In One Sitting

A good point is to not let yourself be overwhelmed. Tackle this list by giving yourself five minutes at a time to go through an area of your kitchen. You don’t need to accomplish the entire list in one session.

Small changes can yield big results. If you only do one of these steps, you will see a difference.

Declutter your kitchen in steps. Use the list below to help determine what items to need to leave your kitchen.

A Plan And A List To Declutter

  • First you need an action plan on what you want to accomplish. Use the following list of items to toss broken and unnecessary things.
  • One tip is to make sure that the items you are keeping are the healthiest choices for your family. Plan on what to keep as well as what to toss.
  • Create a list of what items to purchase to replenish any necessities that you toss. For example, any non stick skillets that are worn will need a replacement.
chipped mugs in a cabinet.

20 Items To Declutter In Your Small Kitchen

  1. Broken small appliances
    • It is tempting to hold onto a broken small appliance. Maybe it can be fixed, you say to yourself. But in reality, it is probably less expensive to just replace it. More than likely, the replacement will perform better anyway.
  2. Plasticware
    • Plasticware is every kitchen cabinet’s nightmare. Somehow, lids seem to get lost. You need a good system to keep all like items together. Toss any containers that are useless without the lid. You may want to consider replacing the plastic storage containers with glass ones.
  3. Condiment packets
    • I think packets of ketchup and mustard multiply while I am asleep. Don’t let this happen to you. Either find them a good home or toss them.
  4. Sponges and scrub brushes
    • Sponges do have a short life span. Examine yours and see if you can remember the last time, they were replaced. Can’t remember? Toss them and start fresh. The same goes with scrub brushes. Once the bristles are curling back on themselves, it’s time to start with new ones. The dollar store has the best price on scrub brushes.
  5. Expired spices
    • It is a good idea to go through your spices on a regular basis. Check the expiration dates. The older spices get, the less flavorful they become. If you decant spices into different jars, have a system where you can identify the date. The easiest way would be to use a marker to write on the bottom of the jar.
  6. Plastic bags
    • This is another item that seems to multiply on its own. Those grocery store plastic bags are perfect for small trash cans but how many do you really need? Gather all the extras and put them in the recycling bin the next time you go grocery shopping. Better yet, begin bringing your own reusable bags to the grocery stores. Many chain grocery stores are beginning to have a time frame when they will no longer offer plastic bags. This is a good habit to begin now.
  7. Warped and stained cutting boards
    • It gets to a point where cutting boards just can’t be thoroughly cleaned any more. Plus if you run them through the dishwasher, they do warp after awhile. Go ahead and replace them. It will make cutting those fruits and veggies much easier.
  8. Cracked dishes
    • It isn’t safe to continue to use cracked dishes. They will eventually break. And at the most inopportune time to. I once used a serving dish that had a hairline crack going through the middle of it. Just as someone was getting some food off of it, the dish split in half. Talk about embarrassing! Toss those cracked dishes.
  9. Chipped glasses and mugs
    • It is tempting to keep a chipped mug. Especially if it a souvenir mug. Again safety is a concern. Relinquish the souvenir mug to a decor piece or toss it. The same goes with any glasses.
  10. Potholders that are burned and stained
    • I love potholders. I use them as decorations in my kitchen. My family has instructions to only use the old potholders. But really the enjoyment in having pretty potholders is to use them. So, get rid of the icky potholders. They aren’t that expensive to replace. Or if you sew, I have a tutorial on sewing potholders. They are an easy project.
  11. Rusty bakeware
    • Baking is a big part of our family meals. Having good bakeware is important. Unfortunately, baking sheets get rusty and grungy fairly quickly. Give your bakeware a good scrubbing. If you can’t get them clean, it’s time to replace them.
  12. Kitchen gadgets that are not used
    • You bought that kitchen gadget that promised it would do everything but wash the dishes. You used it once and put it away, never giving it a second thought. It is simply taking up valuable cabinet space if you aren’t using it. Donate it. Make room for something that is useful for you.
  13. Mixing bowls
    • Having too many spare bowls is one of my problems. I love bowls. But do I really need more than one set of mixing bowls? Be realistic of what you need and give away the rest.
  14. Melted or broken cooking utensils
    • With non stick cookware, it best to use nylon, silicone or wooden cooking utensils. However, over time the nylon does melt. The wooden utensils do break. Examine yours and determine what needs to be replaced.
  15. Extra pots, pans, casserole dishes etc.
    • Go through your cabinets and decide if you need as many pots, pans and casseroles dishes as you own. Chances are you could free up some cabinet space by donating the unused items.
  16. Expired food in the fridge
    • Have you ever come across a container in your fridge that you didn’t know what was in it? Go through your fridge weekly to keep this from happening. I talk about this in my meal planning post.
  17. Expired food in the freezer
    • Ideally, you should keep an inventory list of what your freezer contains. This makes it much easier to plan your meals.
    • If you have packages in your freezer that you can no longer identify, it’s time for those to be tossed.
    • Look for any freezer burned foods. Decide if they should be purged.
  18. Expired food in the pantry
    • Examine any oils to make sure they haven’t turned rancid.
    • Check dates of all canned goods.
    • Be sure to look in the back of shelves for expired packages.
    • Toss any opened bags of chips or crackers that may have gone stale.
    • Read this post on organizing your pantry. These tips will help to get your pantry in order.
  19. Multiple cleaning supplies
    • Look under your kitchen sink. Are there lots of cleaning supplies hanging out in the back of the cabinet? Go through them and toss any cleaning items you no longer use or need. Keep the ones you do use in a basket in the front of the cabinet so they don’t get lost.
  20. Pans with non stick coating that is chipping off
    • Non stick coatings on pans don’t last indefinitely. Inspect yours and toss the offending pans.

Now that you have decluttered your small kitchen, it is time to clear off those countertops. I explain all about that in this post to declutter your kitchen countertops.

pans hanging on wall.

Be Brave And Just Toss It

I think one of the hardest parts of organizing is letting stuff go. You need to stop thinking that “I might need this one day” or “I can get this fixed”.

If you haven’t used the item since your last organization or when you moved in, then it is taking up valuable space. Space that could be better used for stuff you really use.

If the broken item didn’t get fixed immediately, then it probably won’t get fixed.

Do yourself a favor and just toss the stuff.

A Job Well Done Takes Effort

It feels so much better to be able to walk in to your kitchen and know exactly where everything is. Without having to dig through unnecessary stuff.

Decluttering a kitchen is a chore that is well worth the effort. Good job!

More Kitchen Organizing Tips

frying pans hanging on a rack.


  1. Thank you for that check list. Fortunately I am one step ahead, but wanted to be confirmed that I was on track to cleaning up my little tiny kitchen. I’m in the almost 24-7. I’m a mother ,grandma,and great grandma. And I use to use lots of plastic storage containers all over the place. So I started using freezer Ziploc bags in place. By storing leftovers in single serving portions pressing the air out as I roll the bag then zip closed then store the packs into food storage bin in refrigerator. Makes it easy to use for quick lunch prep just heat & eat. the Ziploc bags save me lot of time and less expensive than storage containers. I’m renting the house and asked the landlord if I could add some additional storage to the cabinets. Such as a drop-down spice rack under the cabinet. Thank you so much.

  2. This is the most comprehensive.
    Easy to understand.
    Easy to do,
    list of tools to help declutter and the encouraging words about questionable baked baked tins, golden!
    I feel that I know in my heart of hearts,
    What certain items need to go and your explanations on why were extremely thought out and encouraging.

    Yes, I would like a stylish kitchen that I would be proud of and Not one that is the final resting place of the out-of-date, worn out, useless, chipped, cracked and broken kitchenware!
    Most definitely, there’s no point in just about having two of everything, if you’re still hanging onto the worn out one.

    Thank you

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