Declutter the House
Cleaning

Challenge Accepted: Declutter the House in a Month (Week Two)

Do you ever feel completely overwhelmed by your stuff?  Like everywhere you look there are uncontrollable piles of crap, crammed drawers of junk, and too-big things shoved in teeny tiny spaces? 

You, my friend, need a good old-fashioned house declutter.  

If you haven’t read Week One, start here:  Declutter the House in a Month (Week One).  To catch you up, I had a mini mental breakdown after a few minor disturbances hit our household and decided I needed a full-blown house declutter. No regrets!

Last week I focused on the main living area and bathroom.  This helped me see and feel immediate results and be motivated to continue.  This week I’m hitting the kitchen, freezer, pantry, and hall closet.  

Declutter the Kitchen

Goal:  Mostly clear countertops and visibility in cabinets. 

Plan:  

  1. Work top to bottom removing excess from upper cabinets, drawers, and then lower cabinets.  Keep what we use daily and store or donate the rest.
  2. Clear off counters and find a space for things that linger.
  3. Clean out the fridge and freezer of expired food.

Time it took: 1 hour, over several days

Kitchen Declutter Step 1

I have been meaning to clean out our cabinets and drawers for quite awhile now (isn’t that always the case) so I was eager to start!  I had a good idea of what I wanted to get rid of but here are some examples:  the broken French press that had no glass container, a handful of stainless steel straws that neither me nor my kids like to use, and the 50 promotional cups and thermoses my husband has been given throughout the past year (thanks, T-Mobile). 

Declutter the House

Spice cabinet

The spice cabinet was a little harrowing but all it took was combining a few duplicate spice containers and removing the infrequently used ones to the top shelf to make it look and feel more organized.  

Junk drawer

I put off the junk drawer to the very end, thinking it would be annoying to deal with.  I was wrong.  Turns out I just had to tackle it while I was arguing with my husband about dinner plans and it went by extremely quickly!  

Our junk drawer isn’t that junky…it’s more of just an everything drawer.  I cleared out a few old takeout menus, a broken candle lighter, and some spare parts that were thrown in there from an appliance.  I made a little room for a stack of cloth napkins and I was good to go!

Declutter the House

Baking cabinet

My baking cabinet was next.  I struggle with this area because I am in and out of it very frequently, constantly moving things around to reach what I need.  I had a couple spare turntables in storage so I grabbed one to see if it would fit.  It did and it made it a million times easier! I moved some servingware into another cabinet so I would have room to add another turntable because I liked it so much!

The bottom drawer of the baking cabinet is a different story.  It houses my baking sheets and muffin tins, extra flour, sugar, etc in storage bins, and then another  storage bin full of smaller, loose part baking items.  I would like to move that or be able to organize it better one day.  But the truth is…this is functional.  It works for me how it is now.  It’s not aesthetically pleasing and that’s the only reason I want to change it.  So it’s staying!

Declutter the House

Reflections on the kitchen declutter 

The first time I fully decluttered I used the Marie Kondo method in the kitchen:  pulling everything out of all the cabinets and drawers.  I mean EVERYTHING.  It was awful.  I do not recommend doing that.  If you’re looking for a project that you’re going to cry about finishing, then sure…go for it.  Or if you have an entire 8 hour day to put everything back again, use this method.  

I prefer 15-20 minute bursts of effort that I can move on quickly from.  I kept an empty laundry basket in the kitchen.  I pulled things out from one cabinet or drawer at a time, and anything that was being removed I just put in the laundry basket.  Simple!  I’ll have to transfer to a donation box at some point, but I’m okay with that extra step. 

Kitchen Declutter Step 2

Clearing off the kitchen counters took almost no time.  I hate when things pile up so I actively try to stay on top of it.  

The two problem areas are dirty cups and chargers.  With dirty glasses, the solution is to wash them (duh!).  For cables and chargers, I try to keep a little basket where we plug in regularly to keep things neat.  It may not be super pretty or completely hidden, but at least it’s contained.

The biggest clutter in my kitchen comes from my new kitchen shelf/herb rack.  I just got it last week and have not gotten around to hanging it yet.  But at least it’s pretty!

Declutter the House

Kitchen Declutter Step 3

I love a good refrigerator clean up!  I usually sort through the fridge once or twice a week to make sure nothing is lurking back there.  This week was no exception.  In fact, it was probably more cleared out because our fridge broke last week and we have only purchased the essentials since then. 

During the refrigerator clean up phase, I went shelf by shelf and tossed a container of leftovers, and a few moldy strawberries.  I condensed our fruit drawer which is usually overflowing, but by the end of the week had some more room. 

Side note.  It’s an unspoken rule of mine that when I take out the garbage, I clean out the refrigerator first.  It doesn’t have to be a deep clean, but just a quick scan of anything that should no longer be in there.  It helps stay on top of it and ensures nothing stays longer than it should. 

The freezer is another story. Things definitely go in there to die a slow death.   We’ve had even more freezer usage lately because I store some of my garden harvests in the freezer.  2 gallons of jalapeños, anyone?  Thankfully, my husband has a beer fridge in the basement with a freezer!  It’s not huge, but it’s enough to store some of my jars and bulk garden produce bags so we can clear out room in our freezer. 

You know what else helps? Giving your sister back all of her frozen breastmilk you had stored in your freezer from when you were babysitting your niece!  

Freezer clean out complete!

Declutter the Pantry

I looked at my pantry last weekend and said to my husband, “We have so much food in here.  I bet we could eat out of our pantry this week without buying anything else.”  And he said let’s do it!  So when I meal planned last week I went through the pantry and wrote down all the things we had that I normally buy.  Pasta, rice, beans, soups, snacks, and more.  

My grocery bill was under $40 last week!!! Hallelujah!  And after looking at it now, I could probably do it again.  

Goal:  A pantry that doesn’t look like it exploded on every shelf and in every basket. 

Plan:  

  1. Use the week to “eat through the pantry” and see what’s left.
  2. Sort through and remove expired food
  3. Remove excess boxes and condense duplicates
  4. Utilize an overflow basket or section
  5. Organize bags and aprons

Time it took: 15 minutes

Declutter the House

Let me say this again, my pantry clean out only took 15 minutes!!!!  I need to remind myself of this every time I grumble and complain about my disorganized mess of a pantry. 

Eating through my pantry last week helped enormously with this project. And after going through it at the end of the week, I’m going to try it again.  I’m going for another bare-bones shopping list to help clear out some of these half-full snacks, duplicate peanut butters, and several cans of beans and spaghettios.  

I’ve been canning some tomatoes and garden goodies so hopefully I can clear off half a shelf for my jars!

Declutter the Hall Closet

This was my last project of the week, but life happened and I did not get to it.  I’m not sure yet if I will put it at the top of my priority next week, or just skip it for now and come back to it later.  I’ll see how I feel. 

Declutter the House in a Month (Week Two)

I have learned through the last two weeks that it takes way less time than I think to declutter and edit my spaces.  Maybe if I did 5 minutes of cleaning out a space every time I complained about it, I would never have to dedicate a month to decluttering again!

If you’re liking where this is going, stick around for week 3.  I’ll be tackling the playroom, our “library” room which is basically just storage and plants, and that hall closet if I can come back around to it. 

PS it feels really weird to post pictures of all these random places in my house so I hope they are serving as inspiration for you!  Let me know in the comments!

Declutter the House

For more content like this, check out these posts:

Declutter the House in a Month (Week One)
How to Keep Your House Clean with Kids
Save Money & Time with an Eco-Friendly Cleaning Routine
How to Start Spring Cleaning (The Easy Way)
The Best Organization and Routines for Back to School
A Break from Laundry: Why You Need to Stop Doing Laundry 
How to Manage Kids’ Artwork

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