A kitchen with a sink and a microwave

My Annual Spring Clean Kitchen Challenge

On the one hand, it feels as though our lives have been turned upside-down. And right in the middle of so much uncertainty, spring arrived exactly on time to remind that there are some things we can count on to never change!

Just like that, I have spring cleaning and kitchen reorganization on my mind something that happens to me every year just about this time.


A kitchen with a sink and a refrigerator

Photo credit for this dream baking center: Tidbits

Cynthia Ewer, author of Cut the Clutter, says the first thing I need to do is harden my heart. An efficient, convenient kitchen, she says, must be pared to the bone. To create a clean and organized kitchen, I must dare to dump anything and everything that is not absolutely necessary and useful—not simply move things around in an effort to fool myself into thinking that somehow I can organize chaos.

Clear the decks

Cynthia instructs me to prepare four boxes with these labels:

  1. Put Away Kitchen
  2. Put Away Elsewhere
  3. Give Away or Sell
  4. Storage

Next, I am to tackle one shelf, drawer and cupboard at a time putting each item into its proper box.

Kitchen keepers

Once everything has found its box, send three of the boxes out of the kitchen. And now comes decision time. Cynthia is ruthless in suggesting I need to just get rid of the electric french-fry fryer, that gelatin mold in the shape of Mount Rushmore and the odd collection of sports bottles each boasting a different walk-a-thon. Ditto for pans I don’t use, dishes I don’t like, and specialty cooking tools that are more trouble to clean than to use so I never use them anyway.

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Smart ways to organize

1. Towel racks

Niki from  My Scandinavian Home used ordinary towel racks with S-hooks to organize and display utensils to keep them handy. See more of this space at The Calm, Natural Kitchen at My Scandinavian Home.
A clock hanging from the ceiling

Image credit: My Scandinavian Home

2. Pegboard

I’ve always thought of a pegboard lining the wall of a garage. But then I saw this picture of Julia Child’s kitchen pegboard. Granted it’s huge, but how convenient, right? Imagine a small pegboard above a stovetop or next to the refrigerator. The possibilities are endless!

A kitchen with a table in a room

Julia Child’s kitchen pegboard

3. Command hooks

Believe it or not, there was a time before Command hooks. Introduced in 1996, the idea was awesome but the look left a bit to be desired. But now—so many years later? Wow. It’s hard to remember what we did without them. Command hooks have been perfected. And they come in so many options—some able to hold 5 lbs!

These removable adhesive hooks are lovely to look at and have so many uses around the house—especially the kitchen for organizing and storage. Command hooks have been perfected. And they come in so many options—some able to hold 5 lbs! I love the new “brushed stainless” hooks. I have these in my guest bathrooms—beautiful and super useful!

A refrigerator with the door open

Command hooks organize this dream baking center: Tidbits

No more stalling

It’s time to begin. And I’m going to follow Cynthia’s kitchen decluttering plan starting at the top—the top shelves which Cynthia says resemble an unknown landscape at the back of the moon. (I keep wondering when she’s been sneaking into my kitchen because she seems to know this place quite well.)

Here’s Ewer’s Rule: If you’ve used it in the last month, it’s a candidate to stay. If you used it yesterday, that will be the backbone of your newly organized kitchen. 

I am committed, I am determined. I will box and banish. I will show no mercy in my attempts to pawn off on my kids, friends, and neighbors and otherwise get rid of all the stuff too good to throw away but not worthy of a spot in my kitchen.

Yes, I will. And I will not stop until every shelf, every cupboard, every nook and cranny of my kitchen is cleared, cleaned and organized.

Then I’m going to invite Cynthia Ewer over for coffee. I won’t say a word. I’ll just wait for her to write about the lovely time she had at my home, drinking coffee in my sparkling clean, highly organized, minimalistic showcase-of-a-kitchen.

Are you in?

Because I have a feeling I may not be alone in this need for kitchen organization, I’m inviting all who dare to join me in this marathon event! I could use the company.

Somehow knowing others are participating in the same task will keep me on track and moving forward.

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  1. Judi says:

    I have to start somewhere. It won’t be spring cleaning though it will be putting the house on the market cleaning, I think.

  2. Linda Radosevich says:

    Just a thanks to you, Mary, for keeping us calm and feeling normal in this suddenly crazy world! Hurray for you!

  3. GLenda says:

    I’m with Ruth. Things outside on a peg board over time is subject to a few elements and the stuff hanging would bother me…. I like everything inside a drawer or behind door. Of course….. will I really be able to get it all in there?! Lol I also have a fairly new kitchen but it sure doesn’t take long to get it cluttered. I’m in, Mary!! Love your site!! Been with ya since cheapskate monthly newsletter!!!!

  4. Faith says:

    I’m with you Mary! I hate clutter and I try to reorganize my storage areas yearly. I really must have a yard sale this summer!

  5. Ruth says:

    Looks great, but like outside of cabinets, over time your utensils are open to sneezing, kitchen air and smoke, heat, etc. It is more hygienic to store these inside a cabinet door or in a drawer!!

  6. Heidi Reed says:

    I’m in!! My adult granddaughter just moved in and I need this house organized. The kitchen is a great place to start! Thank you…

  7. dsb says:

    Yes, sounds like a plan, I do have a little extra time these days. My husband loves kitchen gadgets, he would like to have a special tool for each kitchen task, so we have drawers of barely used (useless) things. Drives me nuts. I will put them all in a box in the pantry and bet we don’t reach in it for a month (or ever, in my opinion). Thanks for the inspiration!

  8. TJW says:

    Well, I STARTED a couple of days ago. I’ve only done one drawer… but I love it! I have a whole house to do, but I’ll shoot for one space in the kitchen each day. I have at least 5 more weeks, after all… lots of time! Today, I’ll tackle a second drawer.

  9. Pat vincent says:

    I beat you to it. Just finished the kitchen yesterday in my start of Spring cleaning. Helping me to feel productive in this time of temporary distancing.

    Can’t imagine you really need to do this though with your new kitchen!

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