Decluttering and Simplifying the Kitchen

When my husband recently underwent open-heart surgery at the age of 55, it became clear that we were going to have to make some changes. If we want to avoid a repeat incident (and we do!), we will need to stop eating like teenagers, get more exercise, and reduce the stress in our lives. The need to rethink our diet was obvious, but to me, so was the need to reduce the clutter in our home. Not only does the clutter cause more work and time to manage, but it causes feelings of stress and discontent.

Keep life simple
Photo by Brett Jordan on

With the two main objectives in mind (live healthier and reduce stress), I decided to start decluttering in the kitchen.

I began by going through the cupboards and tossing any garbage: expired food, food we don’t like, and food that would no longer be on the menu for health reasons. Then I organized them with like things together.

As I bring in new items, I try to buy mostly ingredients as opposed to prepared foods. I avoid buying seasoning mixes or dressings or anything else that I can make with ingredients I have on hand. Thanks to the Internet, the recipes and hacks are easy to find.

Photo by Matheus Cenali on

Which brings me to cookbooks. I had a huge collection of cookbooks: church cookbooks, bank cookbooks, memorial cookbooks, vegan, vegetarian, Bulgarian, Hungarian, Scottish and on and on. Not to mention the stacks of recipes printed out from the Internet. I got a notebook and started writing down my favorites, then I tossed most of the cookbooks and all of the printouts. I even tossed the battered cookbook my mother gave us for a wedding gift. That was hard, since she passed away five years after we got married. But it was kind of dirty and greasy and splotched, and I think Mom would understand. She would want me to have a nice kitchen, and she would have LOVED being able to search for recipes on the Internet. (Miss you, Mom. <3)

Together, my husband and I tackled the utensil drawers. We donated two of the three roast forks, the french fry maker, the extra potato masher, and many other items. We tossed half of the bag clips (no more chips in this house!), extra measuring spoons and cups, and I know not what else. It felt great! Those drawers could probably stand another round of purging, but they look so much better, and I can actually find what I’m looking for.

I also got rid of some of our storage containers, including anything that didn’t have both a lid and a bottom. And I tossed the deep fryer. We didn’t use it often, and we shouldn’t use it ever again. Bye-bye!

I said I buy mostly ingredients now, but there is one exception: chopped salads. Bagged chopped salads are so delicious and easy and we are 1000x more likely to eat salad if it’s already ready already. So, I buy the salad kits and add ham or turkey or leftover chicken breast. The goal is simpler, after all.

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