The kitchen plays a vital part in our homes. It’s where we cook, eat, and gather. Yet, it’s easy for clutter and items we no longer need to pile up here. This clutter can occupy space, hide in corners, and pose health risks. Recognizing and removing these unnecessary items is important for maintaining a clean, safe, and organized kitchen.
Here are 16 items in your kitchen that should be trashed immediately to help maintain a clutter-free space.
Used Dish Sponge
Kitchen sponges tend to harbor a significant amount of bacteria and germs, making them potentially one of the most unclean items in your kitchen. Even with efforts to clean them by rinsing and using soap, it may not suffice to eliminate all the germs. To address this, it is a good practice to replace the sponge every week or sanitize it by microwaving or soaking it in a water and bleach solution.
Takeout Sauces and Utensils
Takeout orders frequently include excess sauce packets and utensils. Let’s face it – the odds of us actually using them again are quite slim, and throwing them away might feel wasteful. But the truth is, they simply clutter up our space, so it is time to toss them.
Aged Baking Soda in the Fridge
Many of us rely on a box of baking soda to combat fridge odors. Yet, the effectiveness of baking soda’s odor-fighting abilities has roughly three months of shelf life. That’s a mere three-month window. If your baking soda has surpassed this timeframe in the refrigerator, it’s probably time to part ways with it. Consider marking the box with the date whenever you replace it to help you remember when to get rid of it.
Scratched Non-Stick Pans
The protective coating that prevents food from sticking to the pan eventually wears down and deteriorates over time. Unlike a cast iron pan that can be revived, a noticeable scratch on non-stick pans indicates it’s time to replace the pan.
If your child has outgrown the need for baby bottles, cups, food, bibs, and other infant silverware, it’s a good time to consider parting with them. While it can be sentimental to acknowledge your child’s growth, it may be time to either discard or donate these items.
Storage Containers without Lids
Containers without lids serve little purpose and can be frustrating. It’s time to discard any that lack lids or are too stained to use. Containers that are discolored, damaged, or cracked should also be let go. Make space in your cabinets by letting go of containers that no longer fulfill their intended role.
When was the last time you checked your spice cabinet? Like any other items in your kitchen, spices and dried herbs have a “best by” date. Once they have reached this date, they gradually lose their flavor and effectiveness. It is a good idea to go through your spices and herbs and give them a refresh.
Aged Coffee Beans
Like spices, coffee beans come with a “best by” date. When stored in a vacuum-sealed bag, both whole and ground beans can last unopened for about four months and up to a week after opening. If you can’t recall the last time you used that bag of coffee, it might be a good idea to let it go. While consuming coffee made from old beans won’t harm your health, it likely won’t taste very good.
Freezer – Burned Food
Freezer burn isn’t something you can ignore on your food. It occurs when food isn’t wrapped and stored correctly in the freezer. It’s reasonable to expect that items affected by freezer burn, like your chicken, steak, or other meats, might not have the best taste.
If you have broken appliances or ones you no longer use, it’s a good idea to part ways with them. You can choose to donate or dispose of appliances that can’t be repaired or have lost their usefulness. This will free up space in your kitchen, giving you more room to work and open up extra countertop or cabinet space.
It’s pretty straightforward – broken dishware needs to go. Beyond the visual aspect, broken dishes can also present safety risks. Take a close look at your dishware for any chips or cracks, and promptly dispose of them when spotted.
Stained Kitchen Towels and Oven Mitts
It’s time to assess your dish towel collection. Consider the inconvenience of grabbing a hot pan and discovering your oven mitt has a hole. Go through your kitchen towels, pot holders, and aprons. Get rid of any worn-out or damaged linens that can’t serve their purpose anymore. Dispose of stained, ripped, or torn towels and oven mitts.
Expired and Spoiled Food
Using expired ingredients in your cooking can be harmful to your health. It’s important to take action by discarding them as soon as you discover them. Begin by going through your pantry and refrigerator, and get rid of expired food items such as canned goods, cookies, baking products, fruits, vegetables, and the dreaded forgotten leftovers. Toss out anything that’s past its prime or no longer good to use. This not only helps create more space but also ensures that the ingredients you cook with are safe and of good quality.
Expired Cleaning Products
Cleaning products are vital in maintaining a safe and hygienic kitchen environment. However, the disinfecting power of these products, which ensures our kitchen’s cleanliness, does have a limited lifespan. Most antibacterial cleaners maintain their effectiveness for approximately one year, while multipurpose cleaners lacking antibacterial agents can last up to two years. It’s a good idea to assess your cleaning supplies and remove any expired items or are no longer effective. This allows you to retain only the essentials in your collection.
Excess Plastic and Tote Bags
Plastic and tote bags from grocery stores and free events tend to accumulate in our homes. The intention behind holding onto them is to reuse them for another household purpose and avoid adding more plastic waste to landfills. However, over time, this well-meaning practice results in an overwhelming stockpile of bags. It might be a good idea to let go of some of these bags.
Moldy and Warped Cutting Boards
When it comes to plastic or board cutting boards, a clear indicator that it’s time for a replacement is when you notice warping or the presence of mold. No matter how many times you clean it, if these issues persist, it’s a signal that the board’s usefulness has come to an end, and it’s best to get rid of it.
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Tamara White is the creator and founder of The Thrifty Apartment, a home decor and DIY blog that focuses on affordable and budget-friendly home decorating ideas and projects. Tamara documents her home improvement journey, love of thrifting, tips for space optimization, and creating beautiful spaces.