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The Kitchen Clear Out Checklist: 6 Stress-Free Ways to Declutter

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We've all found ourselves in a similar situation: it's the start of a new year and this time you're really going to commit to a period of de-cluttering your home, whether it's chucking old clothes, throwing out old CDs and DVDs or yes, decluttering the kitchen. Everyone needs a blitz once in a while, but when it comes to a mammoth kitchen clean, it can often be easier said than done.

Moreover, getting rid of the mess in your kitchen with no stress is another thing entirely. Here, we'll run through some ways to clean up your kitchen area without wanting to pull your hair out.

One in, one out

Whether it's more spices or new gadgets, your spending habits could well be reflected in the increasing lack of space in your kitchen. If you can't stop yourself from spending, then maybe it's time to adhere to the 'one in, one out' rule. If you've bought something new recently, or you're just replacing a kitchen implement that's seen better days, then make sure you're throwing something old out too.

Don't put it down, put it away

Falling into some bad habits is part of the reason why your kitchen can get so cluttered, and we can't blame you for that. After you've made something delicious, it's far easier just to shove your spices/sauces/leftover ingredients into the corner rather than putting them away. But repeat offences can build up.

A woman watches as a man puts cups in a dishwasherRemember: Dirty dishes belong in the dishwasher.

If it's a dirty plate, put it in the dishwasher. If it's a bottle of ketchup, put in it in the cupboard, if it's perishable, then in the fridge it goes. That's one less thing you'll have to do later.

The 'charity shop' principle

Take the same approach to your kitchen as you do to your wardrobe: if you haven't worn something for a whole year, you probably won't start now, so give it away to charity. Often, we kid ourselves we'll use that fancy new blender or the all-in-one, three-grip avocado peeler all the time, but there they are, collecting dust at the back of the cupboard, unused.

Various ingredients on a shelfIf you haven't been using it, get rid of it.

Like a proper clothes chuck out, be as merciless as possible. If it's not seen any action over the course of the last 12 months, then out it goes.

Keep one draw for clutter

If you can't completely de-clutter a kitchen then at the very least, you can keep it out of sight. Pick one shelf or drawer to be your designated area where you fling, chuck and throw clutter in at will. This is especially handy if you can't bring yourself to throw out utensils and implements.

Various utensils in a drawGet utensils off the counter and into a draw.

Get rid of excess

Much like the charity shop principle, throwing out the excess and paring things down to just the essentials is the name of the game here. If you're really dedicated to throwing out all your excessive kitchen items, you can make a real difference to your kitchen space.

Take your knife block, for instance. It looks nice, neatly arranges your knives and keeps them to hand. But at the end of the day, it's a big hunk of wood and it certainly takes up a lot of space; your knives can just as easily fit in a kitchen drawer. Similarly, two chopping boards -one for meat, one for veg – that can easily be stored, is all you need.

Various dishes on shelvesAsk yourself, how many plates do you really need?

Your kitchen can probably do without all the mugs you've got stashed away too. Why most kitchens have such a vast collection of mugs, we'll never know, but anything over six is verging on excessive. Chuck the cups and create some space. The same goes for the array of pots clogging up cupboards across the country – how many of them do you actually use?

Take it one step at a time

If you're daunted by the prospect of clearing out a particularly messy kitchen, then try doing one job a day instead of tackling it all at once. A few hours of cleaning is enough to blow anyone's fuse and a sure fire way to stress yourself out. Have a go clearing out the fridge one day, then take on the cupboards the next. Throw things out on a particular day of the week. Dividing up the workload makes things easier to maintain over time rather than trying to squeeze in a big clear out into your already busy schedule.

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