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Are your kitchen cupboards a hodgepodge of items you haven’t used in a year? Are the can goods mixed in with boxes of chocolate pudding? Do you have to search for the items you want? Is the counter littered with small appliances and cooking utensils?

If this describes your kitchen then perhaps it is time to declutter.

Before you begin, get your mind and your kitchen ready for a big clean up. Clear the countertops. Empty the dishwasher. Fill your sink with hot soapy water ready to make long-unused glassware, pans, and dishes sparkle before putting them back in the cupboard.

For decluttering, use a three-box method of sorting:

Box #1: things I am still using. These will go back into the cupboard in an organized manner after I have scrubbed and/or relined the shelves with adhesive shelf paper available at any dollar store.

Box #2: things that are still good and not past their expiration dates. These can be donated to a food bank or soup kitchen, as I do not use them anymore.

Box #3: past their expiration dates, these items are destined for the garbage.

The same goes for small appliances, pots and pans, dishes, glassware, and wall decorations. Donate or store under the counter. Get the clutter off the counters.

Next, attack those drawers of cutlery and old recipe books. Use the three box method on them. Be relentless. If you haven’t used it in a year, out it goes. You don’t need five can openers and three corkscrews. Keep the good one and throw out or donate the others.

An efficient kitchen is one that is pared to the bone. Those expired coupons and seldom-used cookbooks have to go out with the bag of catsup and mustard packets.

Pace yourself. Do a cupboard a day or a drawer a day rather than rushing through your kitchen de-cluttering. Don’t forget those appliances. Use the three box method on the contents of your fridge. Scour shelves and make your fridge and stove sparkle inside and out.

Next attack that “junk drawer”. We all have one! Resist the urge to keep something because you “might need it someday.” Organize what you do keep in a plastic tray.

Is this a one-day job? For some it is. For others, slow and steady a section at a time is the way to go. It all depends on your energy, your available time, and your personality.

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