How to declutter your kitchen cupboards

Out with the old, tidy the new.
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If you’re on a mission to declutter your home and start the year with a fresh, efficient, streamlined kitchen, your cupboards and pantry are a great place to start.

As one of the busiest rooms in the house, the kitchen suffers from a great deal of food and tableware collecting in cupboards to make it cluttered and less efficient in running the household every day.

Take stock of what’s hampering your processes – remove what’s not needed and store what is in a manner that makes it easy to put your hands on every day.

1. Take stock 

Working from one cupboard to another one at a time, take stock of what’s in there. Pull everything out for inspection.

White kitchen with butlers pantry featuring open shelving
The first step is to take stock of everything in your kitchen cupboards. (Credit: Photography: Jacqui Turk | Styling: Alanna Smit)

2. Clean the surfaces

Grime builds up over time in corners and on shelves from food, sauces, dust and daily use.

While you have everything out of the cupboard, wipe down the shelves and other surfaces with a damp soapy cloth, freshly scented with essential oil – try eucalyptus or peppermint.

3. Cull the contents

Anything that hasn’t been used in 12 months should be removed and stored elsewhere or discarded.

4. Stack neatly

Stack and store remaining items neatly so they are visible as soon as you open the cupboard and are within easy reach. Consider adding extra shelves or wire baskets for more efficient storage of smaller items.

White and gold kitchen with oak floating shelves holding spices
Solid-oak shelves are a handsome feature in this pantry. (Credit: Photography: Jacqui Turk | Styling: Alanna Smit)

5. Consider open shelving

‘Out of sight, out of mind’. Consider open shelving in some areas to minimise lost objects at the back of deep, dark cupboards and maximise the functionality of items used every day.

Open kitchen shelves do need a regular wipe down however when the contents are on show you may be more likely to keep things clean and tidy.

Japandi style kitchen with open shelving
This kitchen belongs to a chef and restaurant owner and features open shelving for easy access to ingredients. (Credit: Photography: Louise Roche | Styling: Kylie Jackes)

6. Invest in good quality storage

Pantry wizards swear by making an investment for the long term in storage containers of high quality that stack beautifully and look good.

There’s nothing more rewarding than row-upon-row of matching canisters. Use buckets and baskets for larger items.

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