organize white and green kitchen

How to Quickly Declutter Kitchen Cabinets

What I know for sure: Everyone has at some point experienced kitchen clutter.

A lot of kitchen clutter hides out of sight behind cabinet doors.

My kitchen has a similar issue.

One of my kitchen cabinets has stuff in it that I haven’t looked at for years.

And I’m going to reveal that kitchen clutter to you today, as much as it pains me!

Brace yourself!

The Before


The left side of the cabinet is accessed somewhat frequently.  

My favorite cookbooks live on this side.  Its not too too bad, but it doesn’t look very nice, does it?

But, the other side, well… it has mostly clutter.  

There’s stuff I don’t use at all, or stuff that I use pretty infrequently.  See how the clutter is trying to sneak over to the left?

The right side of the cabinet just a complete mess: Goldfish food even though Goldie has been gone for over 2 years.  

Halloween party cups from Halloween 2013.  

Paper bowls from 2008 left in the cabinet “just in case” we would need them.  Ugh.  

The reason the cabinet is this messy is because I’ve tossed stuff in there and then shut the cabinet door as quickly as possible.

Out of sight, out of mind, right?

How to Organize the Mess

To start the organizing process, I emptied out one side of the cabinet.  

And then the other.  

No pictures necessary.  

You can picture the mess on my counter that resulted.

This was an easy cabinet to organize because most everything was going right back in, arranged slightly different. 


I took a hard look at all of the cookbooks and organized them by type and size, and decided not to keep a few.

Why did I decide to let those go?  

I quickly flipped through the cookbooks I was unsure about and looked at the recipes- would I even make them?  

Were our tastes the same?  

For the books I let go of, the answer was a solid NO to both of those questions.  

Does everything need to live there?

These are the items I re-homed in another part of my house.  


Um, such randomness!  

Most of these things did have a dedicated place to live, but for whatever reason, they hadn’t made it there.  

But some of the items- the lunch box jokes pictured in the middle, were tossed up into that kitchen cabinet for no good reason at all!

Pro Tip:

Finish up every organizing project by dealing with the last little bits.

Resist the very strong urge you have to chuck the stuff back into the cabinet or drawer to deal with on a another day.

The difference between an organized space and a cluttered space comes down to the details.

Get it out

The next step in the organizing process is to decide what you no longer need to keep.

Here is all of the stuff I nominated to leave my house.  


Not pictured is the small amount of cookbooks that I had been keeping because I wanted to make a few recipes out of them.  

But none had more than four recipes flagged and I thought it would be better to transfer those recipes into my recipe manager, Paprika.  

By getting rid of those four seldom used cookbooks, I saved about 5 inches of room in the cabinet!  Huzzah!

Pro Tip:

If you’re tight on space, consider the amount of room an item take up versus how much you actually want or need the item.

Save Your Relationship

An important step in re-organizing any space is to check with your partner to make sure you’re not getting rid of anything they want!  

My hubby was sitting in the kitchen as I reorganized the cabinet so he gave a thumbs up to everything leaving.  

The Betty Crocker cookbook was his from before we were married, so I especially wanted to check with him about that before getting rid of it.

There’s pretty much no faster way to get into an argument with your significant other than to toss their stuff without asking.

The After


And here’s a shot of the cabinet, fully re-organized.  

There are just enough cookbooks on the left to have everything stand up nicely.  

The right side – well, I still have to re-imagine the space for another use.

 It was crammed with clutter for so long – about 7 years, the entire time we’ve lived in this house.  

I need to leave it empty for a bit so I can figure out what would work best there.

So nice to have some open space to work with!

Fabulous set of de-cluttering and sorting signs for home organizing that are sure to make quick work of any organizing project!  

The Organizing Steps to Take

To sum up how to solve kitchen clutter in cabinets,

  1.  Clean out the space
  2. Sorry out items into piles:  What you’re keeping in the cabinet, what needs to live in a different place in your home and finally, what you’re getting rid of
  3. Remember to check with adult household members about items you intend to get rid of.  Don’t check with kids- they usually want to hang on to everything!
  4. To permanently get rid of the clutter, make sure the items you want to get rid of actually leave your home.  Drop them off to a donation center or sell them.

Over to you!

What cabinets in your kitchen are you now ready to tackle?  I so hope you are inspired by all of the empty space I freed up!  

Tools to make your organizing job even easier!

If you struggle with keeping your piles of what’s going and what’s staying and what needs to be moved where, then this set of printable organizing cards is just what you need!

I laminated my set to make them hold up through many organizing projects.

They really make it easy to define the ease the sorting process!

My second tool recommendation is this guide for selling your unwanted items faster and for more money than you’d otherwise earn!

Learn my secrets to how I turned a basement of outgrown children’s toys and clothes into $5k!

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