A tidy house for a fun and relaxing summer!

Ricarda Nieswandt

German

10 tips to clean up your kitchen getting rid of unnecessary things

Summer means barbecues with friends, great weather, and holidays.
When we are at home, there are often plenty of things that we have to do in the kitchen that are not exactly our idea of fun. But as soon as we are on vacation, we can simply relax. This is especially true when we stay in a hotel or when we rent a vacation home, where you will usually find only the bare necessities: the furniture and the kitchen are usually equipped only with the basics. Often, we’ll only find four plates, four glasses, and a limited amount of silverware. But it’s not a problem: we somehow still feel unstressed and carefree. We can have the same feeling in our day-to-day lives by simply getting rid of things that we don’t need.

The average person owns 10,000 things. Some people love to collect books. Others love clothes. The kitchen is the one of the most important rooms in a house, since everybody somehow has to cook. Those who are passionate about cooking, definitely tend to own more things than people who merely cook because they have no other choice.

But, of all the things we have in the kitchen, what do we really need? When did we buy them and why did we buy them? Being a minimalist is now the craze and it really does not mean that you cannot own anything anymore. If you love to cook, you cook a lot and you like to entertain, then of course you need a big table, a lot of chairs and enough dishes and silverware. But most of the time, less is more or as Jim Henson so eloquently put it, “Simple is good.”

In the last few weeks, I did serious spring cleaning in my kitchen, and now I somehow feel happier and free. So, here are my 10 tips for straightening up your kitchen. We can call them “tips for a clean summer”!

Tip 1

I set aside time each day and I actually pick up each and every item I have in my kitchen. And then I ask myself a series of questions: When did I last use it? Do I still need it? Does it make me happy? What I find is that really don’t need five ladles. Getting rid of things in a deliberate manner is the first step to declutter your home.

 

Tip 2

My pantry is always well-stocked. In reality, I only rarely need some of the foods that I store there. So, I came up with a cooking schedule, in order to use up those things that were simply taking up too much space. Now I have space for those foods that I always need when I cook, like pasta or tomato sauce. If I really want to cook something special, I can always go out and buy it on the spur of the moment.

 

Tip 3

Minimalists believe in the 20/20 rule: Anything that can be replaced in 20 minutes with less than 20 Euro has to go. I actually put some things in a box and put the box in my basement. I gave myself a decluttering deadline. I haven’t missed those things yet.

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Tip 4

In order to have the best overview of your food, it helps to store things by category. Things that you need for baking go into the baking section. Pasta, rice and canned tomatoes are a separate category. Coffee and tea are another. This way, you can find things more quickly and easily.

 

Tip 5

When you go shopping for kitchen utensils, think of the design. You can store utensils that are eye catchers on your counters or on a shelf. Anything that makes your kitchen just look cluttered, should be put in a cabinet. If you are in doubt, you probably don’t use it every day and the utensil in question should probably be considered a dust collector.

 

Tip 6

A typical bread roll bag has a life expectancy of 25 minutes. That is the time it takes to buy it from the baker and to get it on to your breakfast plate. That is why it makes sense to get a cloth bag. Not only it looks nicer, it is also more environmentally friendly. And, by the way, other kinds of bags may also be able to take a permanent vacation from your kitchen. Of all the cloth bags we own, how many of them do we really use on a regular basis?

Tip 7

What’s important is that every single thing has its own place in the kitchen. It is also important that once things are used they are immediately returned to where they belong, or that you put them directly in the dishwasher after you have used them for cooking.

 

Tip 8

When you go shopping, try to buy things that have no packaging—every day, endless amounts of packaging end up in the recycle bin. You can also reduce the garbage at a grocery store by simply reusing the containers from the store or by putting your fruit and vegetables in paper bags.

 

Tip 9

Cookbooks are wonderful, but let’s be honest: which cookbooks do we really use regularly? Maybe friends could get a kick out of some new cooking ideas from those books? The same principle applies here: if it doesn’t make you happy, get rid of it.

 

Tip 10

Clean up during the evening: Put the dirty dishes in the dishwasher. Put other things that you have used back in the cabinets. Consider even setting the table for next day’s breakfast. That could set you off on the right foot for the summer and for the following day!

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