Paring Down Your Kitchen While Your Prepare For A Remodel

One task you’ll likely face when embarking on a kitchen remodel will be packing and temporarily relocating your kitchen items. This is a great opportunity to edit your belongings and fill your new kitchen with only the things you love and need.

Patricia Lee recommends starting the decluttering and packing process as early as possible. You might be surprised by how much can be stored in a kitchen, even a small one. It might take a significant amount of time just to pull every item out of the cabinets, and then even more time to decide its fate.

Set Aside What You’ll Need During the Remodel

If you’ll be staying at your home while your kitchen is being remodeled, you might still want to have access to some everyday items, such as a coffee maker, a toaster, a microwave, basic utensils, dinnerware and cups.

You most likely will be hand-washing items if you don’t have access to a dishwasher, and you might even be washing them in a bathroom sink. Therefore, keep things simple: Consider keeping out only one, or at most two, of each necessary tableware item per person, cleaning between each use.

If you don’t want to fuss with washing, consider using recyclable or compostable disposables. Now would be an ideal time to use up any mismatched party plates, cups and napkins collected from past events.

Plan How You’ll Store Your Kitchen Contents During Construction

If your remodel time is expected to be short, such as two to three weeks, and you don’t mind the temporary imposition, you can store your kitchen contents in another room, such as the dining room, without much additional packaging.

If your remodel is anticipated to be longer than one month, then I recommend packing and storing items in moving boxes. This will keep your items clean and safe, and you can stack the boxes inconspicuously and out of the way.

Kitchen items can be heavy, so consider using only small and medium-size, heavy-duty boxes if possible. Packing paper also will be useful for wrapping delicate, fragile items like wineglasses and for filling in gaps in the boxes so things don’t jiggle and knock against one another. Remember to label your boxes so you won’t be opening mystery boxes when it’s time to unpack.

Purge and Pack by Category

To remain organized, try to work with one category at a time. Pull out items and lay them out on the counter so you can see everything you own and get a better sense of how much you actually need.

Dinnerware. If you have more than one set of dinnerware, use this time to lose any sets you aren’t using or don’t love anymore. In the sets you want to keep, check for chips and cracks and determine if those pieces are worth keeping and usable. Chips and cracked glaze that isn’t intentional can expose your food to the material under the glaze, which might or might not be food safe. Additionally, cracked glaze can potentially harbor bacteria if not sanitized properly.

Consider breaking up a set if there are pieces you never use. For example, if you always use your mugs instead of a cup and saucer, you might want to consider donating the latter.

If you have fine china that you aren’t using, consider what it means to you. If it has sentimental value and you don’t want to give it up, be sure to package and store it properly. You might want to store the china somewhere besides the kitchen and reserve your kitchen for everyday items.

If you aren’t using the china because you don’t like it, understand why you’re keeping it. If it makes more sense to relieve yourself of it, pass it along to someone who will appreciate it more.

Serveware and entertaining pieces. When my husband and I got married, we purchased and registered for serveware based on what we thought our entertaining needs would be. Lots of those reasons were theoretical and idealistic.

After a few years of marriage, we figured out our groove and what would and wouldn’t work for us. Evaluate how you entertain and be sure to edit out excess items that don’t support your hosting style.

Mugs and promotional cups. These can be surprisingly difficult to cull, since they usually reflect some kind of sentiment, such as a place where you’ve vacationed, a company you worked for, photos of loved ones or special events you’ve attended.

Ask yourself which mugs you actually love and use, and which ones you’re keeping just because they seem sentimental. If you collect series of mugs, you might want to consider minimizing your collection by selecting just your favorites.

Storage containers. Do you have many mismatched storage containers and a stockpile of takeout containers? Start by identifying which containers don’t have matching parts. Just like socks in a dryer, storage container mates often seem to disappear. Toss any containers or lids without a mate.

Many plastic takeout containers are designed for single use only and might not be food-safe for prolonged reuse. Look at the recycling code on the bottom of the container and research the plastic’s characteristics to determine if you feel comfortable reusing it. I recommend recycling any containers that are not designed for multiple uses.

If your family’s needs have changed — for instance, children have moved out — you might be able to reduce the quantity of containers needed. Also consider getting rid of any your kids have outgrown, such as too-small snack containers.

Small appliances and gadgets. So many appliances and gadgets claim to make prepping and cooking easier. Many of them work as advertised, but do they work for you? Review yours and give away any you don’t use. Try not to think about whether the item might be useful in the future; think more about whether it is useful to you now. Be sure you actually like using the item and not just the idea of using it.

Extras. Take stock of how many kitchen tools you have and how many you use and need. Review the condition of each item. Pare down the excesses and toss defective items such as melted spatulas, warped scissors and peeling nonstick pans.

Be Thoughtful About What You Keep

If you’re having trouble deciding what to keep and what to give up, think about your lifestyle now and what you can anticipate in the near future, and ask yourself which items are truly necessary or you feel passionately about. Assessing the age and number of family members in your home and the way you entertain can help guide some of your decisions as well.
When your remodel has been completed and it’s time to fill up your cabinets again, be thoughtful about where you place your items. The ones you use most often should take up prime spots and be easy to access. Think about your daily routines and be sure your kitchen setup supports that flow.