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6 High-Impact Ways to Start Simplifying your Kitchen

6 High-Impact Ways to Start Simplifying your Kitchen

Simplifying your kitchen can have a very positive impact on your home and your life.

Not only is the kitchen a well-used, hard-working space, but the kitchen is usually the heart of the home. It’s where we eat, cook, hang out and often gather with friends and family.

Our kitchens work hard for us and most of us use the kitchen many times a day. Simplifying your kitchen can help make cooking, cleaning, eating, connecting and life in general easier!

Today, I’m sharing 6 high-impact ways you can simplify your kitchen to start experiencing the positive benefits of a simplified space right away!

Simplifying your kitchen simplifies your life

One of the most important spaces we’ve simplified in our home is the kitchen. Simplifying the kitchen affects so many parts of our life.

When the kitchen is tidy and clutter-free we cook more, eat at home more, share meals as a family, have more fun in the kitchen and connect more with each other.

The kitchen isn’t a room I dread to be in that’s filled with dirty dishes, cluttered counters, overflowing cabinets and a table too covered to eat at.

Instead, it’s simplified and clutter-free. A space we can easily cook in, eat in and enjoy spending time in.

Benefits of simplifying your kitchen

There are many benefits of a simplified, clutter-free kitchen. A functional, efficient, organized and clutter-free kitchen saves you time, energy, money and stress.

For example, you spend less time cleaning up and it’s easier to keep the kitchen clean when you have less stuff.

Cooking is easier and more enjoyable in a clutter-free kitchen with space to work and where it’s easy to find what you need.

When cooking and cleaning up after a meal is easier and more enjoyable, you’re more likely to eat at home. Which is usually healthier for you and saves you money!

Simplifying your kitchen can also save you money because you know what you have and where to find it. Not to mention less wasted food getting lost and forgotten about in an overflowing pantry, fridge or freezer.

A clutter-free kitchen gives you space to eat meals together as a family or invite family and friends to join you. Eating together is fun when you aren’t overwhelmed by mess or embarrassed by a messy kitchen.

Where do you begin simplifying your kitchen?

The benefits of simplifying your kitchen sound pretty good. But sometimes going from a cluttered, overwhelming kitchen to a simplified, clutter-free one feels like an impossible task.

That’s why I’ve put together a whole series of posts to help you simplify your kitchen and create an organized, functional, clutter-free and most of all stress-free kitchen!

Today we’ll start with 6 high-impact ways to begin the process of decluttering and simplifying your kitchen.

Be sure to check out the other posts in the ‘simplify your kitchen’ series here:

How to Declutter your Kitchen + 20 things to declutter right now!

13 Habits to Keep your Kitchen Organized and Clutter-Free

Minimalist Kitchen Tour: Keeping it Simple in the Kitchen

The suggestions in today’s post are all actions you can take to make big progress towards simplifying your kitchen.

Some of these action items are quick and easy. Others take a little more time and effort. But beginning to put them into practice in your kitchen will help you start simplifying your kitchen and start seeing significant results and benefits.

Your kitchen should work for you

When you’re simplifying your kitchen it’s important to consider what you need and use for your preferences and lifestyle. For example, if you rarely bake you’ll likely need different things in your kitchen compared to someone who bakes often.

The first step in simplifying your kitchen is getting clear about how you use your kitchen and what you need for your lifestyle.

Don’t let yourself get caught up in “shoulds”. Thinking there are the things you feel like you should have because they (whoever they are!) tell you you need.

Focus on only keeping what you actually use, need and love in your kitchen. This will look different for everyone because we all have different lifestyles and needs in our kitchen.

Don’t keep things out of a sense of guilt, obligation or because you feel like it’s something you should have. Get clear, honest and realistic about what you use, need or love in your kitchen, so you can get rid of anything you don’t!

6 high-impact ways to start simplifying your kitchen today!

1. Get rid of duplicate items

One of the easiest ways to begin simplifying your kitchen is getting rid of duplicate items.

If you have multiples of the same or similar items, first, be honest and realistic about how many you actually need. Then keep your favourite and get rid of the rest. This is an easy way to start clearing the clutter and simplifying your kitchen!

It’s easy to keep extras and duplicates in the kitchen “just in case”. For example, you might keep 3 sets of measuring spoons just in case you need to measure more than one teaspoon when you’re cooking or baking.

But remember, it’s easy to quickly wash or rinse a kitchen tool and use it again, without needing to fill your kitchen with duplicate items.

You may decide you need more than one of some things. For example, you may use more than one mixing spoon on a regular basis.

It’s ok to keep multiples of some items if you honestly use them regularly. But getting rid of the unnecessary duplicates is a great way to start simplifying your kitchen.

Make every day special

Another way to remove duplicate items is using your favourite or special items every day. Don’t have duplicates of items, one for every day and one for special occasions, but then rarely get to use or appreciate your special items.

Keep your favourites, then use and appreciate them every day, whether they are your everyday items or special items. If your special items get broken from using them daily, at least you know you were able to use and appreciate them!

Find your version of enough

Remember the point of decluttering and simplifying isn’t to make your life more difficult. The point is to make your life easier by removing the clutter and the excess so you can save time, space and stress in your kitchen.

What you decide is “enough” in your kitchen may be different from someone else – and that’s ok! Decide what adds value to your life, then get rid of anything that doesn’t. How that looks will be unique to your needs and lifestyle.

2. Get rid of anything you don’t use regularly or love

Now that you’ve removed the duplicate items, next, get rid of anything you don’t use regularly or love.

A big hurdle can often be getting rid of gifts or sentimental items. We often end up keeping these items out of a sense of guilt or obligation.

But remember, this is your home and your time and space these items are taking up. Keep your focus on your goals and the benefits of simplifying your kitchen when you’re faced with these items.

Letting go of gifts and sentimental items (and the guilt!)

Remember, gifts are given so someone could show their love for you. You accepted and appreciated the gift and the intention behind it. Now, what you choose to do with the gift is up to you. You are free to let go of gifts you no longer use or love (and any guilt you’re feeling) knowing that the gift has already served its purpose.

You can read more about how to handle gifts here.

There are many approaches to take when dealing with sentimental items. Check out this great list of strategies to make letting go of sentimental items easier.

Only keep what adds value, not clutter, when simplifying your kitchen

Aside from gifts and sentimental items, sort through the items in your kitchen and honestly decide if each item is something you either use or love.

If you don’t use an item regularly, or can’t remember the last time you used it, be honest with yourself if it really deserves a spot in your kitchen.

Remember, each item you choose to keep takes up little pieces of your time and your space. If it’s not something that adds value to your life by being useful, are you willing to let it continue taking up your time and space?

Keep only what you really love so you can appreciate it more

Although we keep many kitchen items because they’re useful, there are some we keep just because we love them.

It’s absolutely ok to keep items simply because you love them. But again, be very honest with yourself about how much you love an item.

Aim to only keep the things you truly love. The more items you keep, the less you can enjoy and appreciate each one. By choosing to keep fewer items you love the most, you will be able to value, enjoy and appreciate them more.

3. Reduce the number of dishes and glasses you have

Reducing the number of dishes and glasses you have is an easy, high-impact way to simplify your kitchen.

Figure out what is a realistic number of everyday dishes for you and your family. Then either get rid of the extras or keep them in a less convenient spot if you’ll need them when entertaining guests.

Reducing the number of dishes means fewer dishes to store in your kitchen. But also means fewer dirty dishes piling up to deal with every day, simply because you start with less, to begin with!

When there is a cupboard full of clean dishes and cups, it’s easy to grab another one each time you or your family needs one. The trouble is, this results in a lot of dirty dishes by the end of the day.

Having fewer dishes means you and your family are more likely to reuse or wash your current dish or glass instead of getting a clean one.

4. Honestly evaluate small appliances

Small kitchen appliances take up a lot of space. Some are used every day and add value to your life. Others are rarely used and just end up taking up a massive amount of counter or cupboard space.

First, look for small appliances that have duplicate functions. For example, if you have a hand mixer and a stand mixer, you might not need both.

Next, be honest with yourself if you actually use the appliance enough to warrant all the space it takes up. If it’s an appliance you rarely use, decide if it’s worth all the space its taking.

Also, look at why you own it and if it serves that purpose well. Many small appliances promise to save you time and energy, but then are so difficult and time-consuming to clean, they negate any time saved initially!

Small appliances are often expensive and can be hard to let go of – even if you know you don’t use them. But remember, you’re not wasting money getting rid of something you don’t use or love. The money is already gone and keeping an unused item won’t recoup your money. Get rid of unused small appliances and reclaim the time and space they’ve been taking from you!

5. Clear off your countertops

One of the best high-impact ways of simplifying your kitchen is clearing off your countertops and keeping them clear.

Clear counters make cooking and cleaning easier because you don’t have so much stuff to work around.

And clear counters also reduce visual clutter in your kitchen as well. Instantly making your kitchen look cleaner, tidier, more open and less busy.

And remember, clutter has a way of attracting more clutter – especially on flat surfaces. The more you keep on your counters, the easier it is for more stuff to pile up.

Decluttering your cupboards and drawers makes it easier to find spaces in your cupboards and drawers for items you used to keep on the counters.

Many people worry about the hassle of having to take things, previously kept on the counter, in and out of a cupboard or drawer each time you need them. But by simplifying your kitchen cupboards and drawers, it’s easy to access and put things away.

It will only take you a second or two to take items out and put them away. And the benefits of having a less visual clutter, more space to work and easier clean up are well worth it!

6. Clear off the front of your fridge

A fridge covered in magnets, pictures, reminders, etc. can quickly make a kitchen feel cluttered and busy.

Not only that, but a study by UCLA found the more items on the refrigerator, the more cluttered the home and the more tolerant of clutter the family was. Who knew what’s on your fridge could be a big indicator of how much clutter you allow in the rest of your home?!

Two ways to approach clearing off your fridge

My favourite way is removing everything from the front of your fridge and keeping it clear for a week.

This is a great way to see the impact a clear fridge can have on the look and feel of your kitchen. Along with challenging the idea that you “need” certain things on your fridge.

If there are things like your calendar or a special photo you miss after the week, you can put them back. But the key is to be very selective about what you put back. Only put the essentials back on your fridge to keep it as clutter-free as possible.

The second approach is to declutter the front of your fridge and only keep the essentials up.

Again, be very selective about what earns a place on your fridge. Then declutter it regularly to keep clutter and non-essentials from building up.

This approach isn’t as dramatic as the first but can be a good way to ease into having less on your fridge.

Make high-impact changes to start simplifying your kitchen and see big results!

These are 6 great, high-impact ways to begin simplifying your kitchen. They deal with some of the biggest sources of clutter in the kitchen, making a big impact on your kitchen and your life.

Do what you can, when you can

And remember it’s ok to take baby steps in this process. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or are short on time, it doesn’t have to happen overnight. If you’re able to spend a full day decluttering your kitchen, that’s great! But you don’t have to do all the decluttering at once to see results.

The great thing about the kitchen is it’s already compartmentalized into cupboards and drawers. If the thought of decluttering the whole kitchen feels overwhelming, plan to declutter one cupboard or drawer a day until you’re done.

Be sure to check out the next posts in the ‘simplifying the kitchen’ series.

First, dive deeper into the decluttering process, learning how to declutter your kitchen, and get a great list of 20 things to get rid of to jumpstart your kitchen decluttering today! Then check out specific habits you can use to help maintain your organized and clutter-free kitchen. And finally, take a tour through my own simplified kitchen to see what my version of a clutter-free kitchen looks like!

I’d love to hear from you. What is the biggest source of clutter or stress in your kitchen? Which step do you think will make the biggest difference towards simplifying your kitchen? Let me know in the comments below!

6 high-impact ways to start simplifying your kitchen
Photo by Aaron Huber on Unsplash

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Sunday 7th of October 2018

Number 5 is the bane of my existence! My kitchen counters are where everyone puts stuff. I struggle to keep up and it’s always a mess.

Simple Lionheart Life

Sunday 7th of October 2018

Yes, I find kitchen counters are like magnets for "stuff" and clutter. It definitely takes daily maintenance (sometimes clearing them off a few times a day!!) to keep the counters uncluttered, but it does get easier the more I stay on top of it. It often takes a few reminders, but the kids are getting better at picking up their stuff off the counters too.


Monday 1st of October 2018

This is such a great post! One of my goals is to practice more minimalism in my house and one of the places I want to start is the kitchen. Our kitchen is small-ish and we have so much stuff that we have a cabinet that doesn't even close all the way.

Simple Lionheart Life

Tuesday 2nd of October 2018

Thank you so much, I'm glad you enjoyed it and found it helpful. The kitchen is a great place to focus your decluttering efforts. A simplified kitchen makes life so much easier, especially if your kitchen is on the smaller side, to begin with. Thanks for reading and happy decluttering :)


Monday 1st of October 2018

One debate I always have over this topic is small appliances. I like to have them out, on the counter, ready for quick use. Other people think they should be stored in the cabinet and only taken out when needed. I still like having them within quick reach, especially ones like the toaster and blender, which we use regularly.

Simple Lionheart Life

Tuesday 2nd of October 2018

I think this is when it's important to remember that figuring out what works for you, your home and your preferences is so important. If you prefer to keep some appliances on your countertop, then go for it!

Instead of completely clear countertops, you might want to assess which appliances are important for you to keep out. For myself, I keep all small appliances in cupboards. My thinking is that I use the toaster for example, for 3-4 minutes a day, 2 or 3 days a week. For our family, based on that minimal usage, the toaster doesn't need to be kept on the counter. But again, this is about figuring out what will work best for you and your family. Clear counters simplify my life. Having your toaster and blender on your counter may simplify yours. There's no one size fits all. Simply being intentional and giving it some thought is the key. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts!


Monday 1st of October 2018

A lot of great tips - all starting with decluttering, it sounds like.

Simple Lionheart Life

Monday 1st of October 2018

Thanks, Andrea! Yes, decluttering is where it all begins. It's hard to have an organized, simplified, functional kitchen if you simply have too much stuff, to begin with. Getting rid of the excess and only keeping what you truly use and love is the foundation to a simplified, organized kitchen. Thanks for reading :)

Lisa Beuchler

Sunday 30th of September 2018

This de-cluttering and simplifying of my kitchen could not have come at a better time! My kitchen is driving me crazy--mostly the cluttered counter tops. I have lots of fresh fruit and things like onions and garlic that I have sitting on the counters. I wish I knew what else to do with them. Any suggestions?

Simple Lionheart Life

Monday 1st of October 2018

I'm glad this post came at such a good time for you Lisa! Cluttered counters drive me crazy too. I feel like the whole kitchen looks, feels and functions better when my countertops are cleared off.

As far as the fruit and vegetables on your counters - my first suggestion for the onions and garlic is to find a place in a cupboard or pantry to keep them. They will keep longer if kept in a cool, dark place. This may require decluttering somewhere in your pantry or a cupboard to find a spot for them.

For the fruit, I like to keep a fruit bowl on my kitchen table. It keeps all the fruit corralled in one place and the bowl can be easily moved for meal times. I've also seen some great tiered fruit stands that sit on your counter to give you more space for fruit storage. And there are even hanging baskets that hang from the ceiling or on the wall to help keep fruit off the counters. Those are some ideas to think about, I hope they help. Thanks for reading!

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