Interior designers share what to get rid of in your kitchen + why

Kitchens should be filled with useful and meaningful things but many end up being cluttered and poorly designed.

So Insider spoke to interior designers to find out which elements and design elements should be removed.

Get rid of small tools and hand tools

Jill Jarvis, interior designer and owner of Ehrlich Interiors, told Insider that countertop clutter is the main thing she recommends getting rid of in your kitchen.

Nothing makes a kitchen look more messy than a cluttered countertop, said the designer. “It also makes it difficult to wipe the counters and keep them clean.”

Remove papers, mail, and unnecessary small devices that are not used regularly. Jarvis also suggested moving or throwing decorative accessories that take up a lot of space.

Open shelves are not suitable for most kitchens

White kitchen open shelves with cups, plates and vases

Open shelves require more maintenance and arrangement.

Pixel Shot/Shutterstock

Rebecca Langman, interior designer and owner of Revision Custom Home Design, told Insider that open shelving is rarely the best option.

“Open shelves create visual clutter and require constant cleaning and organization in order to look good,” said Langman.

Glass front cabinets allow visibility while also reducing dust and grease buildup.

You don’t need a huge collection of different wine glasses

Interior designer Joe Canangelosi told Insider that it’s not necessary to own every type of wine glass.

“Unless you have a large butler’s pantry that can house all of these things, most people just need some multipurpose wine glasses and a set of champagne flutes,” he said.

The designer recommended investing in a fancier set of glasses for formal affairs and some inexpensive glasses for everyday use.

Donate or sell excess knives

Set of several kitchen knives in wooden blocks on a granite countertop

Most home cooks need about three good knives.

AlexLMX / Shutterstock

Unless you’re a professional chef, you probably don’t need 24 different knives.

“Kitchen stores will try to sell you all kinds of knives, but 99% of the time, you only need three: a heavy chef’s knife, a serrated bread knife, and a small paring knife,” Cangelosi said.

Sell ​​or donate your underused knives and invest in high-quality versions of your three main knives.

Merge and remove huge cookbooks

Cookbooks can provide inspiration but also add visual and physical clutter.

“To free up space in the kitchen, move or donate cookbooks that you don’t use for everyday cooking,” Jarvis said.

If you only use one or two recipes in your cookbook, consider copying them onto paper and storing them in a box or file. You can also take a picture for easy reference.

Get rid of decorative pieces on upper cabinets

Decor items in upper cabinets collect dust and can look cluttered.

“Unless you have high vaulted ceilings, placing items above upper cabinets just means more dust and rarely enhances the look of the space,” Langman said.

If you really want something atop your cabinets, choose a low-maintenance houseplant that you can also dust when watered.

Word tags with generic phrases can seem overly trendy

Brown cutting board with the word

Public signage does not add much to your kitchen.

kvdphotography / shutterstock

Langman told Insider that one of her pet peeves in kitchen decor is signs in common terms.

“Your guests will know it’s a kitchen even if there isn’t a big fork and spoon on the wall or a sign telling them to ‘gather’ or ‘eat,'” Langman said.

Instead, the designer recommended choosing a beautiful, handcrafted piece of art that complements the atmosphere of your kitchen.

Old dish towels should go

Stained or tattered towels can cloud the overall look of your kitchen.

“Go through your dish towels and get rid of the ones that are out of date and no longer complement your kitchen,” Jarvis said.

You can use old towels as cleaning rags and donate clean towels that no longer fit your style.

Get rid of expired or rarely used spices

Two shelves full of spices in glass jars

Keep only spices you actually use.


Save space in cupboards and pantry by getting rid of excess seasoning.

“Your closet probably has a few spices that you never use,” Jarvis said. “Throw away those and any seasonings that have lost their taste.”

You can combine half-full bottles of the same spices and use those that are overdue to brew large quantities of tea or infusion water.

You may not actually need a bread machine

It may be tempting to allow

bread machine

Knead the dough, but Canangelosi said the machine is usually bulky and expensive.

“People have been making bread for thousands of years using a bowl, a kitchen cloth, and a pan,” the designer explained. “You don’t need a heavy machine to make great bread.”

Unless you’re making loaves every day, consider stocking the machine elsewhere or making bread by hand instead.

Turn your unimportant drawer into a space that holds everything

Kitchen utensils and things in every kitchen drawer

The universal drawer is a place for your various cooking utensils.

Charisse Wilson/Shutterstock

Junk drawers are usually filled with things you’ll never use again — like fast-food menus, ketchup packets, and old batteries — so consider turning your drawers into space for cookware that you use regularly but don’t require a designated place.

“Tidy up your kitchen by turning that junk drawer into a clean, organized, and efficient drawer,” Jarvis said.

Throw away the cleaning tools you rarely reach

Make your kitchen more stylish by getting rid of the cleaning supplies you rarely use.

“Keep things tidy under the sink by tossing away cleaning supplies you rarely use or collect multiple multiples of the same product in the same bottle,” Jarvis said.

In addition, put almost empty products in the front of the cabinet so that you get to them first.

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