25 Things To Declutter In The Kitchen (And 3 Unexpected Items To Keep)

In this post, we’re going to do a deep dive into 25 things to declutter in the kitchen TODAY. Say goodbye to kitchen clutter and hello to a streamlined space that will make cooking and meal prep a breeze. 

Ready to transform your kitchen? Let’s get started!

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Hate your cramped kitchen? Does it feel like you have NO ROOM to do food prep and real cooking? I’ve been there and I’m here to tell you some hard truth… you have too much stuff.

Too much stuff on the counters.

Too much stuff in the cabinets.

Too much stuff in the fridge and freezer.

You might not even realize it because it seems like you need everything you have… because you know you’re going to use all of those things ‘someday.’

Sorry to break it like this, but someday isn’t coming soon enough.

Don’t be like a hoarder kitchen PLEASE. You know the ones… the kitchen is so crowded that they only cook frozen hot pockets in the microwave for dinner every single night?

If you have problems with clutter, get your kitchen under control… and I can tell you that it’s extremely likely the rest of your house will follow.

So what can you do TODAY that’s quick and easy to fix the problem?

Read this post. And then do the things… the hard things like ACTUALLY letting stuff go. And read all the way to the end before you get to work, because there are some surprising kitchen things I think you should keep!

I promise you can do this…

25 Things to Declutter From Your Kitchen

Honestly, I know you can get rid of a lot more than this list. Once you get started, it’s hard to stop!

What to Declutter From the Countertop

Your kitchen countertops are one of the most important areas in your kitchen. They’re where you prepare and cook your meals, so keeping them clean and clutter-free is essential. Here are some tips for decluttering your countertop:

Small Appliances: Small appliances can take up a lot of space on your countertop. If you have appliances that you actually use, but only occasionally, store them in a cabinet or pantry. 

Your countertop should only hold the appliances that you use at least once a day. Everything else needs to go!

Here are a few things to consider when appraising your small appliances:

  • Air Fryer: If you find yourself using it frequently and it’s a staple in your cooking routine, then by all means, keep it. But if you don’t have space to store and use that gigantic air fryer you bought last month, it’s time to reconsider how much value it adds to your life.
  • Toaster: Toasters are a classic kitchen appliance, but how often do you actually use it? Daily? Then keep it on the counter! Weekly? Hmmm… maybe it could live in a cabinet?
  • Blender: Blenders can be incredibly useful for making smoothies, soups, and sauces, but they can also take up valuable counter space. If you find yourself using your blender frequently, it’s worth keeping. However, if it’s been sitting unused for months, it may be time to let it go. You may even be able to get similar functionality from a cordless handheld immersion blender that takes up far less space.
  • Waffle Iron: Waffles are a delicious breakfast treat, but how often do you actually make them at home after the ‘fun’ of the new gadget wears off? 
  • Rice Cooker: For those who eat rice regularly, a rice cooker can be a time-saving and convenient appliance. But if you only make rice occasionally or prefer to cook it on the stovetop, this appliance is completely unnecessary.
  • Countertop Nugget Ice Maker: I know they’re all the rage, and the ice may be amazing, but these things are huge, expensive, and a lot of work to maintain.
  • Sandwich Maker: Sandwich makers can be tempting with their promise of quick and easy grilled sandwiches. However, they often end up collecting dust or shoved into the back of a cabinet. Instead, simply make your grilled sandwiches on the stove.
  • Toaster Oven: While toaster ovens may seem like an essential kitchen appliance, they often take up valuable counter space and most of their functions can be performed with a regular toaster or by using your oven.
  • Instant Pot: Okay, maybe not this one for most people. But not EVERYONE uses this appliance often enough to justify the space it takes. If you prefer a regular crock pot and do most of your other cooking on a stovetop, it’s totally okay to let this go.
  • Food Processor: A food processor can be incredibly useful for chopping, slicing, and shredding ingredients. However, if you find yourself rarely using it and prefer to chop by hand or use other tools, it might not be necessary. Consider investing in a smaller handheld chopper as an alternative.
  • Juicer: Juicers can be a bit of a pain to clean and maintain, so if you don’t use it often, it may not be worth the effort.
  • Pasta Maker: Fresh, homemade pasta is delicious, but not everyone has the time or desire to make it from scratch. If you find yourself reaching for store-bought pasta more often than using your pasta maker, it might be time to let go of this appliance.
  • Soda Machine: I’ll be honest, I’ve never seen one of these in use. But it sounds like a ‘fun’ purchase that ends up unused after a while, just taking up space.
  • Bread Maker: If you don’t bake bread frequently, consider using alternative methods such as kneading by hand, no-knead artisan bread, and using a traditional oven.
  • Coffeemaker: *gasp* I’m not saying to get rid of this (unless you don’t actually use it), but evaluate whether or not it’s the right machine for you. And if you have one of those types that uses K-cups, how massive is your beverage collection? Is it just for looks? Are you drinking a lot of beverages that maybe you don’t even really want or need except that the K-cups are just… there? (Did you know they make reusable cups that you can use your favorite regular ground coffee with?) 

Spice Racks: Spice racks can take up valuable countertop space. If you have a lot of spices, consider storing them in a cabinet or drawer, or even a wall-mounted rack. Keep only the spices that you use on a regular basis and organize them in a way that makes them easy to find. 

Countertop Decor: Countertops are workspace, not display space — ESPECIALLY if you have a small kitchen. While decorations can add a personal touch to your kitchen, they can also clutter up your space and make it harder to clean. If you need ‘pretty,’ hang some artwork on the wall. You are MUCH more likely to enjoy the prep and cooking process when you have SPACE to work.

Paper Goods: Paper towels and napkins can quickly clutter up your countertop. Use a wall-mounted or under-cabinet holder for the paper towels and keep paper napkins in a drawer or an upper cabinet.

Bread Box: When I was growing up, we always kept bread in an upper cabinet. I honestly didn’t even know people still USED bread boxes until I was in my 20s. Now that I have my own kitchen, I prefer storing all of the bread-type items in a drawer. If I didn’t have drawer space, I would absolutely make space in an upper cabinet. 

Knife Block: Store your knives in drawer blocks (I use 2 bamboo drawer knife blocks like this) or on a magnetic strip OFF the counter. 

Junk Mail And Papers: Instead of letting junk mail and old papers pile up on your counter, create a designated spot for them to go. This could be a vertical file holder on a nearby shelf or wall. (Here are some of my solutions for organizing papers.)

Extremely messy kitchen as a representation of many things to declutter in the kitchen.

What to Declutter From Cabinets

Kitchen cabinets are often a source of clutter and disorganization… especially those deep lower cabinets that can be difficult to access. Here are some common items that may be taking up unnecessary space in your cabinets.

Bonus: The more stuff you declutter from the cabinets, the more room you have to neatly store things that used to sit on the counters.

Mugs and Cups: It’s easy to accumulate a collection of mugs and cups over time. Take a look at your collection and get rid of any that are chipped or you never use. Keep only the ones you truly love and use on a regular basis. 

Water Bottles: You know there are a few rolling around in those cabinets. The ‘I might need this if something happens to my other water bottles’ backups that YOU WILL NEVER USE. Get rid of them. Don’t even donate them if they leak, just recycle or toss them.

Spices and Pantry Items: Check the expiration dates on your canned goods, spices, and other pantry items. If something is past its prime, toss it out. This will not only free up space in your cabinets but also ensure that you’re using fresh ingredients in your cooking. 

Dishes You Never Use: I actually almost forgot this one because I’ve never kept more than one matching set of dishes. But then I remembered I know people who have SEVERAL sets of dishes ‘because they’re pretty’ — except, the dishes are stored away in boxes or taking up space in deep lower cabinets and NEVER USED. So, either put those ‘pretty’ dishes into regular use or LET THEM GO. (I definitely vote for the latter!)

Mismatched Containers: Take a look at your food storage container collection. Are there lids without containers or containers without lids? Get rid of any mismatched items to free up space in your cabinets. Even better (if you use plasticware), buy sets that stack neatly and easily and let go of the things that don’t really work for your space. 

Expired Medicine And Supplements: Did you know the bathroom is a terrible place to keep medicine? The humidity can destroy meds. We keep medicines and supplements in clear acrylic bins (our simple bins and divided bins have been in use for over a decade and still look brand new) that are easy to pull off an upper cabinet shelf. Regularly toss any medications or supplements that are past the expiration date.

Old Lunch Boxes And Bags: If you have kids, you probably have a collection of old lunch boxes and insulated bags that have been used and abused. It’s time to let go of any that are torn, stained, or no longer being used.

Cookware And Serveware You Never Use: Haven’t used that serving tray or muffin pan in more than a year? It needs to leave your house today. Evaluate every single piece in your cabinets.

Decluttering Under the Kitchen Sink

If you’re like most people, you probably store a lot of items under your kitchen sink. This area can quickly become incredibly messy because it’s so easy to open the door, toss the thing, and close the door as quickly as possible. 

By decluttering and organizing the space under your sink, you can make it easier to keep your kitchen clean and tidy.

Cleaning Products: Take a look at what you have and get rid of anything that is expired or that you no longer use — like those 3 different varieties of dishwasher tablets that just.don’t.work. Consolidate multiple open identical cleaning products. Even better, pare down to just the minimum of essential cleaners that will still do the job. 

Worn-Out Scrubbers And Sponges: They’re not going to regenerate or anything if you just keep them all.

To keep your cleaning products organized, use a caddy or basket to corral them. You can also use a tension rod to hang spray bottles or pull-out shelves to make accessing everything really easy.

Plastic Bags: Under the sink may SEEM like a convenient place to throw extra bags, but it usually becomes a dumping ground for all the random bags. To keep your plastic bags organized, use a bag holder that attaches to the inside of your cabinet door… and don’t keep more than will fit into this container. 

Kitchen Drawer Declutter

Most people complain that they don’t have enough kitchen drawer space. It’s essential to declutter this space regularly to keep it organized and functional. When you keep just the right things, it feels like you have more space!

Measuring Instruments: Measuring cups and spoons are an essential item in any kitchen. However, it’s easy to accumulate multiple sets that end up scattered throughout the drawers. I have a small designated space in a drawer where measuring cups don’t compete with anything else for space and a small bin in the silverware drawer for my loose measuring spoons. Another really great idea is to mount small hooks inside an upper cabinet door for hanging measuring spoons and cups (be sure to check how they will fit when the door is closed). 

The Massive Drawer Of Towels And Dishcloths: How many do you need compared to how often you do laundry? I usually use 2 dish towels per day and 1 washcloth. I also wash loads of laundry that would include those items about every 2-3 days. I don’t need 2 dozen of each.

Purge the Pantry

You may or may not have a dedicated pantry. But even if your pantry is really just one kitchen cabinet, you’ll want to keep it tidy and clutter-free to make cooking easier! Here are some things to look at as you clear out the excess and make room for the essentials.

  • Canned Goods: Take a look at your canned goods and toss anything that’s expired or that you know you won’t use. Organize the remaining cans by type.
  • Unused tea or coffee varieties: You probably tried them and didn’t care for them. That’s unlikely to change just because they’re sitting in the pantry. Let them go.
  • Wraps, foils, storage bags: If this area of your pantry looks like a disaster, then it’s pretty likely that you just need a good storage solution for these. You can hang vertical organizers for the longer items on a wall or inside a cabinet door. If you have drawer space, they also make organizers that will work — especially for baggies.
  • Snack Stashes: Snacks can quickly accumulate and take up valuable pantry space. Sort through your snack stash and get rid of anything stale or expired. Consider consolidating open bags of chips or crackers into airtight containers to save space and keep them fresh. And maybe… buy fewer pre-packaged snacks? They take up a LOT of space.
  • Bulk Items: Bulk items can be a good way to save money, but they’re also, well… bulky. Take inventory of your bulk items and get rid of anything that you haven’t used in a while. Transfer items like flour, sugar, and rice to airtight containers to save space and keep them fresh. While you’re doing this, really think about whether or not you’re actually using all of those bulk supplies effectively. Do you REALLY need those massive bags or boxes of ‘whatever?’
  • Sauces and Condiments: These can quickly accumulate. Check expiration dates and toss anything expired or that you know you won’t use. 
  • Herbs and Spices: These can lose their potency over time, so it’s important to regularly check and replace them. 
  • Baking Supplies: If you’re not an avid baker, you may have accumulated baking supplies that are taking up unnecessary space in your cabinets. Consider getting rid of any specialty tools or ingredients that you don’t use on a regular basis. Stick to the basics and keep only what you need for your favorite recipes.
Clutter-free kitchen in neutral tones with clear countertops and minimal decor.

Refresh the Refrigerator and Freezer

When it comes to decluttering your kitchen, don’t forget about your refrigerator. It’s easy for this appliance to become a catch-all. Here are a few areas in your fridge to focus on:

Loose Papers And Random Stuff On Your Fridge Door: Take a look at your fridge door. Do you have lots of papers, notes, and magnets covering it? It’s time to clear it off and find a new spot for those important items. Keeping the front of your fridge clear not only looks neater but also allows for better organization when it comes to important documents or appointments.

Related: The Simple Refrigerator Command Center You’ll Actually Use

Once the outside of the fridge is tidy, take care of the inside:

  • Leftovers: Check for these regularly. To avoid waste in the future, always label your leftovers with the date they were made and plan to eat them within a few days.
  • Expired Foods: Expired… ‘Nuf said.
  • Condiment Collection: It’s common to accumulate multiple half-empty bottles of the same or similar condiments. Consolidate them into one bottle and recycle the empty ones. Also, toss any that are past their prime or that nobody really likes.
  • Mystery or Old Frozen Foods: Get rid of any unlabeled foods that you can’t identify. Do the same with outdated or freezer-burned items.

*Note: If you keep saving leftovers in the fridge or freezer because you think you’re being thrifty — except they NEVER get eaten, then just stop. Learn to cook a little less food or be okay with throwing away bits of leftovers from dinners that weren’t a hit. You can experiment with refashioning leftovers into the base of a new meal, but if you’ve tried that without success, then it’s okay to realize that THAT particular thing doesn’t work for you.

Miscellaneous Kitchen Clutter Must-Gos

The ‘Pretty’ But Unused Cookbooks: Cookbooks can be a great source of inspiration for your culinary adventures, but they can also take up valuable space in your kitchen. If you have cookbooks that you haven’t used in a while, consider donating them to a local library or charity. This way, someone else can benefit from them and you can clear up some space on your shelves.

‘Storage Solution’ Products: You know the ones that are more hassle than they’re worth? (Thinking of you, adjustable shelf that’s supposed to sit just behind the sink and give me ‘extra space’ but everything falls through and is a pain to try to clean. And you, hanging produce basket that was a magnet for dust and cobwebs and turned out to be something I mostly just bumped my head on.) Yeah… it’s okay to admit that ‘solution’ didn’t work for you and donate it or toss it. 

3 Things You SHOULDN’T Toss From Your Kitchen

Okay, you might be feeling a little called out over all of the things on this list… even though you thought it was all stuff that MIGHT be useful (‘someday’) in your kitchen.

Well, here’s a little good news… I actually believe you SHOULD keep some things that most decluttering experts say you should eliminate.

Like what? Well… 

The Junk Drawer: Hear me out now… I don’t mean you should stuff this thing full of actual junk and trash like dead batteries. I mean that you do need a place to keep miscellaneous items that you regularly use in the kitchen but don’t ‘go’ with anything else. Like pens, scrap paper, tape, a small screwdriver (I use one nearly every day to tighten handles on pans), etc. This drawer should be kept organized with dividers or small containers to prevent items from getting lost or mixed together.

Ice Cube Trays: Okay, this one might sound a little silly. But since most people now have ice makers in their freezer, you might think these relics would not be missed. But I suggest you keep at least one or two. They’re not just for ice; use them for freezing herbs, sauces, lemon juice, or leftover stock or wine for cooking. In a pinch, they also work as sorting trays for small objects.

Duplicate Utensils: I know, I know… this totally flies in the face of standard decluttering advice. Even though I have a minimalist attitude about most things, I get so very tired of the advice to get rid of ALL duplicates from the kitchen.

Do you really need 5 wooden spoons? If you often cook ‘big’ and use those spoons during a day of cooking, then YES — keep what you need. 

I have a mostly clutter-free kitchen, but I do keep 6 silicone scrapers in 4 sizes, plus a bunch of mini scrapers. I also have multiples of the same size frying pans, tongs, knives, deviled egg containers, and mixing bowls. I use them ALL very regularly. 

Could I get rid of some and wash them multiple times during my cooking sessions? Yes, but that’s adding unnecessary work which would make me dread cooking. I don’t do dishes by hand unless it’s something that can’t go in the dishwasher.

My list may be different from yours, but the goal is always to make things simple and easy. Less stuff usually does that, but we also need to make sure there’s enough of the right stuff.

Need more ideas for decluttering and organizing the rest of the house?

More Decluttering and Organizing Help

Declutter Tips for When You’re Overwhelmed With Too Much Stuff

5 Wardrobe Management Tips To Always Have An Organized Closet

Your Successful Decluttering Field Guide

9 Kitchen Command Center Ideas For Smart And Simple Organizing

Quick Organizing Tips for Every Room in the House

There you have it – a comprehensive guide on how to minimize kitchen clutter so that you can work in a place of simplicity and efficiency. 

Remember that the key to a functional and inviting kitchen lies not just in what you remove, but also in what you choose to keep… and no matter what you read on the internet, YOU always get to make the final decision. 

Now, it’s your turn to take action. Start small if you need to, tackle one drawer or one shelf at a time. You’ll be amazed at how liberating it feels to let go of the unnecessary and embrace a more organized, clutter-free kitchen. A clear kitchen not only enhances your home’s appeal but also improves functionality, making cooking and entertaining a pleasure.

Happy decluttering!


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1 thought on “25 Things To Declutter In The Kitchen (And 3 Unexpected Items To Keep)”

  1. This is a great overview of what to keep, what to release and where to put it! Overall, I think I have my kitchen pretty well put-together, EXCEPT for my pantry. It’s got lots of space that we are not utilizing, and I spend hours staring at it, trying to figure out now to maximize the space. So, far, it’s not going well, but this post is certainly inspiring!!

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