They say that the kitchen is the heart of the home, but open the drawers or cupboards in any kitchen in America and you have a 97.567% chance of finding junk in at least one or more of them. So if the kitchen really is the heart of the home, why oh why do we have so much damn junk stuffed into those drawers and cupboards. But, TBH we all have one, the infamous “junk drawer”, and who knows if we actually all really need them (or the stuff in them for that matter). More often than not, the junk drawer just becomes a dumping ground for anything and everything that you can’t find another place for but don’t see the need to toss out.
I recently stumbled onto this article by Apartment Therapy (and this stunner of a kitchen by Elizabeth Roberts), which gives you a checklist of “29 things that you can get rid of in your kitchen (that you won’t miss)” and they pretty much hit the nail on the head. And fortunately (or unfortunately for the hoarders) this list has NOTHING to do with style, and could work for anyone, no matter the style of your kitchen. So get your garbage and donation bags ready as here is their original list, with a few of my revisions, additions, or subtractions. Fingers crossed we don’t have all 29 of these (I added a few so now it is technically 32). Any way, let’s get into it.
THE THINGS YOU SHOULD TOSS FROM YOUR KITCHEN THIS WEEKEND
- Take-out menus – I actually at one point had these in a folder in a drawer… who did I think I was trying to stay organized like that. But I agree, no need for take out menus, when you can just view most of them online.
- Sugar packets – I have a whole bowl of these, and can’t remember the last time I used them.
- Parmesan cheese and red pepper packets from pizza deliveries – Don’t eat these or own these.
- Decorative bottles of herb-infused olive oil – I slightly disagree with this one, unless you choose to decant your oils into pretty vessels. Otherwise I say keep the pretty bottles for display.
- Duplicate salad tongs – As you have probably seen I have MULTIPLE salad tongs/pretty serving wear displayed, so if it is pretty and you use it keep it, if they are gross old and plastic then toss them in the recycling. Grab yourself a pretty vessel to display them with all your other pretty serving ware and make your decor both useful and beautiful. Take a look here for a few ideas of what I mean.
- All but one each of large, medium, and small spatulas – AMEN
- Half-used candles – Burn them, then toss
- Magnets you’re intending to fix – Who intends to fix magnets????
- Advertising magnets – Agreed, and hopefully you don’t already have these on your fridge (I am talking about your local pizza, chinese, or mexican joint that brings them with the food.)
- Kids’ meal toys, including character cups – I obviously don’t have these, but I do remember as a kid being obsessed with the take out cups that they would give you at restaurants once I brought them home. But do yourself a favor and dispose of those and get some matching sippie or kids cups.
- Extra napkins you picked up from the burger joint – I actually have a stash of these and they are super handy, so I disagree with this one.
- Ketchup packets – Gross, no. Buy a bottle.
- Chipped mugs – This rule applies to any and all chipped dinnerware or misshapen forks or broken items. Just toss them.
- Aunt Jane’s highball glasses that you never, ever get down from the top shelf – Hmmm. If Aunt Jane had good style then by all means keep them and use them to make cocktails into. If not then obviously toss. Also, who is Aunt Jane?
- The George Foreman grill you’ve used twice in the history of your decade-long marriage – I have one and use it all the time, so if you use it keep it, if you don’t (or any small appliances for that matter) donate them.
- Anything more than four hot pads – Get yourself some pretty matching hotpads and get rid of the rest, ESPECIALLY if they are dirty or have holes.
- Stained or holey dish towels – Same as above. My favorites are from Ikea and are so cheap.
- All but five of the nice glass jar food containers and lids you’ve been hoarding – I have none of these, but my mother… oh my mother. She had SO many mismatched lids, and bell bottles.
- The serving platter that you never liked but kept because it was a gift – Anything that was a gift that you don’t use, pass along.
- Take-out chopsticks – They will always give you more with your order, so toss all the extras.
- Extra whisks – I don’t even own a whisk… oops.
- Duplicate ice cream scoops – But I do own 4 of these, so. Case closed.
- The cheese slicer – The decorative fancy ones never end up getting used, so no matter how good they look don’t invest in one, or keep one for that matter.
- Old water bottles that you never reach for – We also had a lot of these growing up. We actually had a full cupboard of water bottles, but this was before the invention of Nalgene and Swell bottles so my mother is forgiven. If you still have the old ones with the chewed up mouth dispenser, get rid of them.
- Old Tea Kettles – I actually have a few that are decorative that I have NEVER used and sit in my drawer, so it is time for those to go. So, unless you have the best tea kettle in the world and use it on the regular, think about tossing it. For those very few times you need hot water you can microwave some or boil a pot of it.
- Tupperware without lids – I am a big fan of the cheap tupperware that you won’t feel bad giving away or losing, and I grab a new set every few months once things go missing.
- Lids without tupperware – Same as above.
- Duplicate can openers – No way you need more than one of these, but by ALL means, keep ALL wine openers.
- Duplicate garlic presses – Who has more than one of these?
- Mismatched Salt and Pepper Shakers – Even worse if you have the paper cheap ones from the store, get yourself a nice grinder and refill it when needed.
- Old Cutting Boards – If you have a huge stack of old and used cutting boards, get rid of them and invest in a nice wood one that will last you a while and is pretty enough to be displayed.
- Baby utensils you no longer need – Any baby stuff that is too used or no longer in use should be tossed.
So, how did you score? I am at a 13/32 for things that need to be tossed? And in the name of good kitchen style, here are a few of my favorites right now (at all different price points).