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Kitchen Clutter Part 1

There are more good intentions in a kitchen than probably anywhere else in the house. The bathroom has its share of potions, brushes and floss that may not be used to fullest potential and the closet may be full of “if I lose 10 pounds” pants, but the kitchen tends to accumulate all kinds of items, many bulky and expensive, that are never or rarely used.

It’s a good idea to review the contents of your kitchen at the end of each season, when items in question are likely to be used — if they are not, you’ll know it’s OK to part with them. At the end of the summer, you’ll know whether you used various colanders, produce baskets, salad spinners, vegetable peelers and spiralizers and other fruit- and veggie- related things.

After Thanksgiving, there will be a whole bunch of platters, carving sets, dishes, roasting and pie pans to check out, and following the winter holidays, you may be able to part with molds and cookie cutters, bread pans and holiday dishes or special glasses if they are never used.

Spring is a good time to lighten up and reassess your lifestyle in general. If you are constantly trying to lose weight and the kids are now out of the house, maybe the cupcake and cake pans along with all the sugary sprinkles and cans of frosting should move on to help you avoid temptation.

Here are some things I’ve seen cluttering up my clients’ kitchens:

Huge standing mixer

One of the expensive items, and so heavy it usually has to have its own space on the counter. Do you use it? Rarely? Never?

Cuisinart

Another pricey and bulky item usually purchased following the excitement of a cooking class. It’s the stationary bike of the kitchen. Often, it just sits in a cupboard and collects dust.

Knives

How many does one family need? It depends on the level of expertise in the kitchen. I love my chef’s knives, but I really only need the eight-inch version. I also love my paring knife, but truthfully, I use our cheaper set of steak knives for paring and small cutting. I won’t let any of my good knives go, but you may be able to part with a few of yours.

Cutting boards

I like to have one for meat, with a groove for collecting the drips, and two or three for chopping vegetables, especially for those occasions I have friends helping in the kitchen. Stained and unused cutting boards are probably a toss or donate.

Glassware

How much is too much? At one point, I reduced my glassware to the bare minimum, but since we have been entertaining more, I’ve added back a few things, like antique decorative water glasses.

Coffee cups

Logo and jokey coffee cups seem to breed. When you don’t have a matched set, it’s easy to let souvenir cups and orphans from random sets hang around. Not too long ago I donated all the odd balls and invested in fabulous Heath Ceramics mugs, which are so comfortable in the hand, keep the coffee really hot and come in beautiful earth tone colors.

Chipped and cracked dishes

If you can afford to, let them go. Of course, anything that leaks or might nick you is a definite toss.

Recipes and cookbooks

There are only two or three cookbooks I use regularly because I’m confident the recipes will turn out well and the ingredients called for are within a 20-mile radius of my house. The few others I have are either signed by the author or have sentimental value, but when I need room in my bookshelves, they might not make the cut. As far as recipes on cards, in magazines and clipped from newspapers, I suggest using sheet protectors and corralling your favorites in a binder to keep with your cookbooks and pitch anything that is “just okay.” Anything else you want to try you can find online.