Decluttering my kitchen

Our place is pretty decent-sized compared to most apartments. Still, my large kitchen has turned into a culinary Jenga puzzle. Everything is looks neat and is very organized (thanks to my slight OCD) but in order to get at anything – a bowl or even a baking pan – you need to move three other things. And of course, everything must be put back EXACTLY the same way or it won’t fit. We are bursting at the seams. Ugh!

Although it’s now officially summer, I decided to finally start my spring cleaning and focus on clearing out my kitchen, which is overrun with small appliances and little-used gadgets.

As a very enthusiastic home cook and someone who loves entertaining, I fell into the trap of thinking that my food would taste better if I had every conceivable gadget under the sun – or at least every one available at Sur Le Table. So, now I am drowning in a sea of salt mills, herb cutters, nut mills, cheese slicers, ice cream scoops, pinch bowls, griddles, baking pans, spatulas, melon ballers, corn on the cob plates and more – so much more. I was a willing victim (ok, that would be an active participant) in the marketing hype and the Food Network notion that I needed all that stuff.

I bought too many of those fancy one-trick-pony items, when a multiuse tool – most often a knife or frying pan – would do. Why did I buy the Griddler, (which is a great product by the way), but I already have two wonderful grill pans and an outdoor grill? Same goes for that expensive and huge toaster oven. I have a toaster and I have an oven. Toaster oven – redundant.

Seems that in the moment, I get caught up and decide that I must have an item – don’t get me started on the ice shaver – and then that product just sits there taking up valuable drawer or cupboard space, mocking me.  In some cases, I have multiple versions of the exact same item. I forgot I had three OXO cheese graters because two were carefully placed in the way back corner of a drawer. That is just lame.

I also have a tendency to buy kitchen stuff for specific occasions. Think turkey lifters. But I’m trying to change that. From now on when I need massive stock pot to cook chili for 50 people once every five years or so, I’ll ask to borrow it from a friend and not buy one. Been there; done that far too many times.

I guess it’s finally sunk in that having more kitchen tools does not make me a better cook. Actually, it’s been just the opposite. It was making me a frustrated cook who can’t access what I need and therefore I didn’t want to cook as much.

Pairing down has made things so much more pleasant in the kitchen. And my decluttering efforts resulted in four very large boxes of stuff from the kitchen including glassware and dishes. So, in the next month we are going to have a big yard sale and kitchen items will make up a lot of what we are selling. If you come by early you just might snag a slightly used Griddler or snow cone maker at a bargain price.