Friday, July 11, 2014

Kitchen Declutter

Three white orchids in one pot - two have flower shoots coming up - exciting!

I love browsing homes for sale online, as you never know what perfect gem might turn up.  Plus I find staged homes very motivating.  They look so magazine-like and inviting.  I love the way staged kitchens have nothing on the bench apart from one or two items.  This was my goal when I decided to declutter, organise and clean our kitchen.

The kitchen hasn’t had this much attention since I posted about it in February 2012 so a bit of focused organisation was long overdue.  Being a place that is used 3-4 times a day (at least) to prepare meals and hot drinks, it is no wonder things migrate around and stuff gets jammed in the same old place even if that place is already full.  Items that are used frequently are also left out which adds to a messy, non-magazine look and that is not the look I am after.

Here we go, and I hope the Before photos are not too upsetting for you.

Pantry - Before

Pantry - After

Our kitchen is more than twenty years old but I don’t care, I still want it to look stylishly simple.  I love to keep it clean and organised, and even though we’re still paying off our mortgage, I think of it as mine.  If it was all new and wonderful that would be amazing of course, but I truly am just as happy with it as it is right now.

First up was the pantry.  The glasses, cups and plates on the top shelves were good, they were recently sorted through earlier in the year here.  The bottom three shelves (which includes the pantry floor) had everything taken out.  The shelves were wiped clean - I use Huggies unscented baby wipes for lots of jobs and they were great for this.  Usually I would use Spray & Wipe and a clean cloth.  I put what was going back in an orderly fashion.  Coralling like items in baskets is my preferred method.

Then it was onto the cupboards.

Frequent use cupboard - I didn't take a before picture as it was nice and tidy then, but I kept only the daily use items in this cupboard and put the plastic containers in the bottom (from the pantry).  I use these containers for taking food to work, making freezer portions and organising my pantry.

Large corner cupboard - Before

Large corner cupboard - After.  I was cooking with my orange Le Crueset when I did this, so had to shuffle to fit it in after dinner!

I weeded out items as I went.  Items that we hadn’t used in forever went straight to our guest bedroom which is my decluttering outbox ready for re-distribution.  Firstly I check with family members if they want any of it and then the rest is donated to a charity shop.

Here's a lovely long view of the kitchen.  It looks quite bare afterward (without the cat biscuit and vitamin decorations) but I can't tell you how luxurious it feels to get everything out to prepare dinner and there is bench space galore.

Kitchen - Before

Kitchen - After

Microwave area - Before

Microwave area - After.  Isn't that a thing of beauty?  It's my favourite transformation in this little project.  The plastic drawers were handy but oh so ugly.  They are now in the bottom of the pantry and may go altogether.

I was so enthused by my kitchen project that I couldn’t wait to take Before photos, as I knew the After photos would be here soon enough and look fabulous.

Underbench area at the other end of the kitchen - Before.  Cat biscuits and vitamins on display.

Underbench area at the other end of the kitchen -After.  And breathe out.  So calming

And in exciting news, I picked up my copy of TheLife-Changing Magic of Tidying book from the library today.  It couldn’t have turned up at a better time.  I’m only up to the preface and am already seeing that this will be a very motivating title.  Yippee!

This little ceramic dish was a 50c op shop find which is perfect for keeping the soap, sanitiser and lotion neatly in one spot by the kitchen sink.  I'm sure Martha Stewart would do exactly the same thing.

Have you been streamlining an area of your home lately?  Do share.


  1. Good job Fiona, I love the look of your kitchen. I've been decluttering for three years and I'm finally seeing results. I adore clear spaces because they make me feel peaceful.

  2. Thanks Rose, and I agree about clear spaces bringing peaceful feelings.

  3. Beautiful job! Peaceful and inviting. Do you suppose Martha Stewart would have decanted her lotion into a bottle she bought in Venice? HaHa.
    I love your kitchen.

  4. Very inspirational post - my counters are uncluttered but don't look into my cupboards - must follow your example and do a major clean out.
    I bought a copy of Marie Kondon's book but was somewhat disappointed as, other than the tips for folding, I felt that it had nothing concrete to offer just a lot of repetition about her organizing when young. Perhaps I expected too much.

  5. Fiona, I've been slowly cleaning out my kitchen too. I went through the island and eliminated probably half my Tupperware. There was a lot that never gets used, and now I can see what I do use!

    I also cleaned out the spice drawer and the utensils drawer. Now I can see all my spices and they get used more. This week's project is to clean out the upper cabinets and the top of the fridge.

  6. Thank you Fiona! I'm totally inspired to do my kitchen this weekend! It's funny how you use the term "kitchen bench". In another post you had said that you always keep a pitcher of water on the kitchen bench and I thought that was an unusual place for it! (here in the US we say "kitchen countertop". You sit on the bench! LOL-Carla.

  7. I love a streamlined and efficient kitchen. Your pantry cupboard looks so much better after your tidy up!
    Clutter seems to be an ongoing job here too....staying on top of it has become a regular routine.
    Hope those orchids bloom soon as I would love to see a picture when they do.

  8. Hi Fiona ... your kitchen looks wonderful ... I bought the 'tidy book' a month ago and was completely captivated by this new way of simplifying my home. I was unable to do everything at once as recommended by Marie but this weekend I will do my books ... the last thing! ;)) I also did my kitchen first as there is nothing in the book about that room. Let us know how it is going ... sending kind regards from Canada Nancy

  9. Hi Fiona
    I learnt about Marie Kondo's 'Magic' book from your earlier post and actually bought it on Kindle. Thanks for the heads up, I enjoyed her different approach to decluttering and organising, found it really motivating, (although I would have liked some photographs or illustrations). As per her recommendation I started with my clothing today, can't believe how her advice helped me focus and make quick decisions. Soon I will move on to my kitchen and hope to get to an end result as sorted as yours - thanks for the inspiration, as always!

  10. Stephanie, thank you!

    Anonymous, you know she would have. I love it.

    CarlaHR, a goal I have for my entire house is to have it looking good on the surface AND in every cupboard. I want everywhere to look (sort of) magazine worthy. I'll let you know what I think of Marie's book once I've finished it.

    Aurora, I did this too with my Tupperware/Gladware. I recycled a lot of older stuff and takeaway containers and only kept the nicest and newest. It's like all my plastic storage containers are new now thanks to that. I am moving onto utensil drawers next and am excited about that.

    Carla, that is funny about the kitchen bench/countertop. Promise I don't keep a jug of water on my seat. Have fun organising your kitchen this weekend!

    Hostess, it was amazing what I found in my pantry, now it makes me so happy to get something out. I've had two of my orchids since 2008 and the other since 2011 and they've bloomed multiple times since then. I bought some orchid food and use it often when watering. They were all gifts from three different people (two wedding and one poodle funeral that's how I can remember the dates) and by some stroke of luck they are all white.

    Nancy, I'm up to chapter two now, and Marie says her idea of doing a major declutter 'all at once' is actually over six months, which seems doable to get through a whole house. I will certainly be updating on this!

    Susan, I've seen her question 'does it spark joy?' around a lot as well as in the book and it really does help decide whether something stays or goes and make you happy with that decision.

  11. Dear Fiona,

    You did a beautiful job on your kitchen; I know how much work it was so kudos!! :)

  12. Your after pics look fantastic! I love looking at staged homes also. My goal is like have a magazine-worthy home inside and out. Slowly, but surely I'm getting there!

  13. Thanks Kathryn, it didn't seem hard at all though because I was so enthused and excited about doing it.

    Tracy, thank you! Your blog is very inspiring for simplifying and decluttering but did you know it's not possible to leave comments? Congratulations on your new job, it sounds so great.

  14. For the past two weeks, I have been tidying (and thus simplifying) my house. It all began when my son announced that he would be coming home for our annual road race, The Boilermaker, and would be bringing friends. I set about to do a little neatening trying to see things as others would and was appalled at all the "things" that had become part of the scenery. Then I decided to have new faucets put in the bath and kitchen necessitating a cleanout of the cabinets beneath. Now I am on a roll and continue with the rest of the house. Before when I thought of simplifying/organizing, it felt overwhelming. Doing it bit by bit is more manageable. And I love the result.

  15. Great job it looks really lovely.

    I just love the feeling of a space newly cleaned and organized.
    Our local library did not have the Marie K so I put in the request for it; just found out today its coming in three weeks:) looking forward to starting this one. I have already folded out t-shirts as you did, its worked out much better. Thanks for the inspiration:)

  16. Oh I so need to do this! You actually have a nice kitchen and it looks so calm and zen in your after pictures. I just checked my library on-line for that book and they don't have it. I checked and the book doesn't come out until mid-October. I've added it to my wish list :)


Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

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