Decluttering the kitchen
is one of those projects that's always on the 'some day' list. So do it
today. Take an hour, get rid of the biggest offenders and learn what
you can do to keep things from ever getting out of hand again.

Strange kitchen magnets

yourself: Does that freebie magnet you got from the local taxi firm
bring me joy? If not, why are you letting it clutter up your fridge? If
you need a magnet, consider printing out a family photo on sticker paper
and covering the magnet with it.

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Unused, weirdly sentimental mugs

are the cucumber-melon body lotion of the cooking world: they're the
go-to gift when you have no idea what to get someone, and they naturally
start to pile up.
Harden your heart and assume that horrible mug your friend's
mother-in-law gave you was a regift—and toss it. Most people don't need
more than six, Driskill says.

Reusable shopping bags

We know this sounds
daft, getting rid of something that's designed to be eco-friendly, but
most people own way more bags than they need. Hold on to a maximum of 10
and donate the rest. Then move the ones you keep to the boot of your
car, where you're more likely to use them, Driskill says. We can't be
the only ones who get to the supermarket and realise our canvas bags are
tucked away in a cupboard at home.

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Anything that came for free with your dinner

chopsticks, soy sauce packets, kids meal toys—you're always going to
get more the next time you order, so there's no point stockpiling them,
Driskill says.

Your insane plastic container collection

may just be the single biggest cause of cabinet avalanches. Limit
yourself to just two sizes of reusable containers, says Nonnahs
Driskill, the declutter guru behind Get Organized Already. Instead, try to stick to five to six pieces in each size. That way you're not fighting to find the right lid for each tub.

While the USDA's research group found that microwaving a damp sponge eliminates 99.9998 percent of germs, if your sponge smells, you should throw it out.

Spare Kitchen Knives

professional chefs get by with just three to five knives, Driskill
says, and she recommends that people stick to the same number. Chances
are, you rarely use more than a paring knife, serrated knife, and chef's

The tea towels and cloths you use for everything

Hand towels are most commonly contaminated surface in the kitchen, according to a March 2015 study from Kansas State University. What's worse, salmonella can continue to grow
on cloths overnight, even after they were washed and rinsed in the
sink. Researchers recommend designating one cloth for washing, one tea
towel for drying, and sending both through the washing machine daily
(especially if you've been cooking meat). If you've been using one towel
to do everything, throw it out and grab a new one.

One-off appliances you swore you'd use

makers, milk frothers, bread machines  – cookery shops are loaded with
drool-worthy gadgets that only serve one purpose. If it's taking up
precious counterspace and you use it less than four times a year, it's
probably worth binning or taking to the charity shop  –  especially if
there's an everyday object that can get the job done just as well. You
might be surprised what your gadgets are worth on eBay.

Tinned food that looks not quite right

goes without saying that anything that's expired should be binned,
but you should also throw out any tinned foods that are rusted or have
dents big enough that you could stick your finger in them.

Barely-used cookbooks

you've owned it for over a year and haven't made a single thing, it's
probably time to consider selling  – unless it's a family heirloom or
other treasured item, in which case, move it to your living room
bookshelves or repurpose as a coffee table book.

Front of fridge door clutter

Treat the front
of your fridge like a command centre, Driskill recommends. Place
anything you need a daily reminder of there, like to-do lists, torn-out
recipes and forms that need to be signed or addressed, and as you cross
each one off your to-do list, remove it from the fridge. Better yet,
take everything off the fridge and move your command centre to the
inside of a kitchen cupboard door. When the cabinets are closed, those
papers are out of view.

Recipes you're saving for 'some day'

you tore it out of a magazine more than a month ago and you haven't
made it yet, you're not going to make it. And that's okay.

Water bottles

only need one per person, and maybe one to two extra, Driskill says.
For the rest: clean them out and donate or recycle them.


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