The art of organization takes many years to master, especially for those living in a house. You’ve probably been there for years, so it’s only natural that you’ve accumulated a whole mess of things. But no one likes to feel like they’re drowning in their own home, which is why it’s imperative to take inventory of items you do and do not need.
If you’re ready to put a critical eye to the most used room in your house, we’re here to help. Here are 15 kitchen items you need to ditch ASAP.
1. Condiment packets
Saving all those sugar, crushed red pepper, and Parmesan packets is tempting. But before you know it, you’ve accumulated enough to fill a what-if-the-world-ends bunker. At this point, you have to ask yourself, “Am I ever really going to use these?” The answer is probably no. It’s time to either toss them, or better yet, pour them all into jars that live on your counter or in your cupboard. You’ll probably have enough to fill that sugar jar to the brim.
Next: Technology for the win.
2. Takeout menus
Do you really need that pile of takeout menus that’s been shoved in your junk drawer for the past five years? Definitely not. As you’re well aware, we have the internet now. More times than not, your go-to takeout spot will have its menu easily accessible online. So recycle those paper menus, and take to the powers of cyberspace.
Next: It’s time to ditch these if they’re out of date.
3. Old wedding invitations and baby announcements
These can really stack up, and if you’re not diligent about ditching them, you’ll be left with a pile of old invitations and announcements that are way past their expiration date. As far as wedding invitations are concerned, you know when those should go — as soon as the event has passed.
Baby announcements are a bit trickier, though. If you’re planning on sending a gift, use that as a rule of thumb. Once you’ve sent the gift, toss the card.
Next: If it’s expired, it has no place in your home.
4. Expired spices
It’s important to frequently sort through anything with an expiration date. In fact, doing so should be part of your weekly or monthly routine. While sifting through the spice drawer isn’t as pressing as doing so for contents in the refrigerator, it’s still a necessary task because they do expire.
Seeing as you use some spices and seasonings much more sparingly than others, you don’t want to take any chances. Take a close look at their dates, and toss when necessary. (Don’t be afraid to toss certain seasonings you’ve only used once for a particular dish, either. Or, give them to a neighbor who will use them.)
Next: It may be time to replace this kitchen staple.
5. Stained dish towels
Dish towels see a lot of wear and tear. They’re often the first on scene wiping up spills and serving as buffer between hot dishes and counter tops. So it makes sense that you’d need to replace them every so often. When stained towels become an eyesore, it’s time for new ones. Or at the very least, retire them to the cleaning rags pile and use them during other household chores.
Next: You only need a certain number of these items.
6. Mug multiples that you never use
Think about how many cups of coffee each caffeine-loving member of your household can drink at once. Now, count up all the mugs you have sitting in your kitchen cabinets. There’s no need to hoard countless coffee vessels, unless you really, really don’t like doing the dishes. Pare down to a handful of your favorite mugs, and donate the rest.
Next: Mismatched sets of this kitchen item drive most people crazy.
7. Plastic containers with no match
The Tupperware drawer is the black hole where plastic containers go to die. Basically, the lid to your plastic container is like that one sock that’s gone missing. It’s a mystery that no one will ever solve, yet still, losing the sock — or lid — leads to inevitable frustration.
Unless you’re absolutely positive you know exactly where that missing piece has gone — in which case, you need to go get it and reunite the set this instant — do yourself a favor and toss the parts that don’t have a matching top or bottom. You’ll save your drawer space and sanity.
Next: You really don’t need to keep these lying around.
8. Takeout chopsticks
Unless you’re planning on sending your kid to school with leftover sushi one day, there’s really no need to keep takeout chopsticks stacked in your utensils drawer. If you eat Asian cuisine often, you can invest in a set of reusable chopsticks that you can wash with each use. If you’re only keeping disposable ones on hand for nights you order takeout, chances are the restaurant will provide those with your meal, anyway.
Next: You don’t need to have a bunch of these on hand.
9. Water bottle duplicates
Staying hydrated is key, but let’s not get too carried away here. Much like the coffee mugs, you don’t need a surplus of these vessels taking up cabinet space. You only need to have a few in rotation. One way to pare down what you really need is to divvy them up based on where you spend most of your time. For instance, keep one at your desk so it’s always at work, one in your gym bag or car, and one at home. That way, you’ll have a water bottle when and where you need it.
Next: Unless you still have a baby, these have got to go.
10. Old baby utensils you no longer need
If your kid is about to graduate high school, it’s time to let the baby utensils go. Basically, if your children are anywhere past the five year mark, it’s probably safe to say you’re hanging on to something you no longer need. If you’re determined to keep a couple of these items as part of your sentimental values collection, just make sure you remove them from the kitchen, and store them in a safe place with your other keepsakes.
Next: These kinds of containers aren’t necessary.
11. Oil sprayers and dispensers
While you may think it looks nice to have a glass bottle full of oil, if you buy a bottle from the grocery store anyway, it’s not worth it. Just keep your bottle of oil in the pantry, and save the counter space for something besides a piece of unnecessary glassware.
Next: It’s time to edit the refrigerator door.
12. Magnets you no longer use
The refrigerator door is the perfect spot to display your kids’ artwork, family photos, important dates, dentist appointment cards, and post-it notes to other members of the family. Until it’s not. The solution? Ditch the magnets, so you’re not as tempted to clutter up your fridge. While certain things do deserve door space, almost everyone can stand to edit down the decor on that refrigerator door.
Next: Toss useless appliances.
13. Fancy appliances you never use
Just because you got it as a wedding gift many moons ago doesn’t mean you have to hang onto it forever. In fact, you’re not doing yourself any favors by doing so. Are you suddenly going to start using that quesadilla maker after years of making this Mexican favorite in a frying pan? Not likely. Similarly, do you really need that avocado slicer, when you can just as effectively use a knife? Nope. So, go ahead and donate those niche appliances you never use. You’ll be happy you did.
Next: You know this item has no business sticking around past its prime.
14. Old sponges
A lot of people are guilty of this. When it’s time to replace your sponge, the old one lingers there far too long. Even though tossing it in the trash is easy enough, it somehow falls by the wayside. And what you’re left with is nothing but a ratty, stinky sponge you have no business using. Skip the waiting period and toss those nasty sponges as soon as you need to.
Next: Don’t let clutter stack up below the sink.
15. Nearly empty cleaning products
We all know what happens: You open the cabinet underneath the sink, and you’re met with nearly empty bottles of every type of cleaning solution known to man. But it’s time to purge your collection. If you’re down to several bottles, each containing just a drop, either throw the bottle out, or put it to use right then and there. There’s no point in keeping it around if you’re never going to touch it again.