Declutter the Kitchen in 5 Days

declutter the kitchen

This post forms part of my Decluttering 101: The Ultimate Guide series.

I want to share with you Day 1 of “The Clutter Free Kitchen” mini course where we learn how to declutter the kitchen in 5 simple steps.

Today is the day we get stuck in to creating a tidy and welcoming kitchen for you and your family to enjoy.

  • We find out where the most obvious clutter is and start to get rid of it.
  • We make your kitchen look tidy even if there are a multitude of sins hiding behind the closed cupboard doors.
  • We tackle this first for a quick win to give us motivation and energy for the week ahead.
  • Who likes to get a big result for a small investment of time and energy? I certainly do.

This is what we will achieve today.

The first step to declutter the kitchen begins with the 5 second scan test.

The first thing I want you to do is to stand in the corner of your kitchen and have a good look around. Go ahead, pull out your phone and snap a couple of quick photographs. This way, when we get to the end of the week, you will be able to look back at where you started and see how far you have come.

When we see something every day, it’s so easy to become blind to what is really there. Because it’s been that way for so long it simply no longer registers with us. This is why I want you to try to view your kitchen through the eyes of a stranger. Look around and really observe what is in front of you. What do you see?

Is it difficult to find the counter tops because of the clutter of papers, appliances and other random odds and ends? Do you see a sink overflowing with dishes? Is the fridge door so covered in papers and magnets that it almost yells at you to look at it? Is it difficult to close the door to the plastics cupboard because it is so crammed full of stuff?

What you have just observed is the first impression your kitchen makes on all of your visitors. I imagine that that this impression is probably not the impression you really want to be making.

When you choose to join me in this course, by the time you have finished, as long as you take action on all of the day’s tasks, you will be able to look around your kitchen and find no clutter in sight. All items will be put away and nothing will be cluttering up the space.

Declutter the kitchen Day One Action Task:

Let’s dive straight into action task number one: The countertops

I have chosen this as the first task because when it is finished, you will see an immediate difference in kitchen clutter.

My benches used to be covered in stuff. The countertops were like a magnet for all of the things we just never got around to putting away. We could put something down and struggle to find it again just minutes later.

It all came to a head for me one day when I suddenly noticed a plastic bag sitting on the bench. When I opened it I realised that it was the chicken drumsticks I had bought earlier that week. I had absolutely no idea how long they had been out there on the bench. I was devastated. I couldn’t believe I had left them out of the fridge.

The problem was that there was so much other stuff on the counter, it was easy to overlook one extra item. Now, if my counter tops had been uncluttered and tidy, that bag of chicken would have stuck out like a sore thumb and we, not the dog, would have been enjoying it for dinner.

Do your kitchen counters act as magnets for objects that belong in other parts of the house? Is it a spot where you put those things that you just aren’t sure what else to do with? No longer.

Step 1: Remove non kitchen items.

Your first task is to grab up all of the items that do not belong in the kitchen and take them to another room. If they belong to other members of the house, just pop them in a box, put them in another room and let the owners deal with them. Whatever it takes, just get them out. Yes, you will need to sort through the stuff later, but not now. Right now we are focusing on getting them out of the kitchen space.

Step 2: Put away all appliances not used on a daily basis.

Now I want you to have a look at how many appliances are on your counter tops. Do you use all of them every day or are some simply there because you are not really sure where else to put them?

Your new rule is: ‘If it is used every day, it can stay.’

You don’t need to put away the kettle or the toaster but anything else that is not in regular use must go. Find a spot in the back of the pantry, in the cupboard under the sink, it doesn’t matter at the moment. Just get it off the top and out of sight.

Step 3: Remove all paper clutter from the counter tops.

Paper either needs to go into the bin or be filed.

Bonus tip: If you don’t have the time or energy to sort through the paper clutter right now, the simplest and quickest way is to grab a document wallet, large envelope or even a large bulldog clip and pop it all in there. At least now the papers will all be together and you will know exactly where to look when you need one of them.

Step 4: Remove all unnecessary items.

Dirty dishes go into the sink, rubbish into the bin, pens and pencils into a drawer, odds and ends into another room. Your countertops should now only have the essential items on them, this means the appliances you use every day and not much else.

You may notice how much cleaner everything looks now that there is not so much clutter on display. What a bonus!

Your homework:

So today your task is to make your kitchen counters pass the 5 second scan test.

1) Take a photograph of your kitchen from a couple of angles.

2) Get rid of all non-kitchen items from the counter tops and send everyone else’s things back where they belong.

3) Remove any unused appliances and put them in a cupboard.

4) Get rid of paper and other items that should not be in the kitchen.

5) Repeat the 5 second scan test.

How much better does that look already?

  • Take a minute to enjoy your decluttered view and notice how good it feels.
  • Enjoy the calm feeling of having no clutter weighing you and your countertops down.
  • Feel the pleasure in having an empty surface ready to serve the dinner or cook those cakes.
  • Think about what company will see now when they walk in.
  • Notice how the weight lifts off your shoulders in that moment.

Daily habit:

Complete the 5 second scan each night before you go to bed. Commit to spending a couple of minutes setting the surfaces right before leaving the kitchen and enjoy a lovely tidy, welcoming space when you get up in the morning.

I hope you enjoyed the first day of the Clutter-Free Kitchen mini course in which we declutter the kitchen from top to bottom. To access the remainder of the course, enter your email in the form below. Let’s declutter the kitchen once and for all!

Declutter the Kitchen in 5 Days 2

The ULTIMATE GUIDE to creating

A Clutter Free and Welcoming Kitchen in 5 days.

(In only 15 minutes per day)


Learn the simple, stress free, effective way to declutter your kitchen and keep it that way.

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