My Most Used Kitchen Utensils (and What I Got Rid of)

Lately, I have been completely obsessed with organizing every inch of my home! It started with this FREE mini e-course all about organizing your life. I organized so many different spaces that I share in that course, and it had a ripple effect on my whole house, I think. Ha.

Additionally, I have become completely obsessed with the show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. We have been fans of her methods for years now, but the show has quickly become my favorite reality show. Trey has heard me say “spark joy” probably more times than anyone really needs, but I can’t help it. I have pretty much organized our entire house (except our garage—saving that for when it warms up a little more) and it has seriously brought me SO MUCH joy.

I feel like I know where everything in our house is. Like, the other day, my Instax camera batteries died and I immediately knew where our spare double A batteries were and I was able to swap those out in under five minutes. It felt so good! I also love having less visual clutter. I am a super visual person (I learned best from notes or PowerPoints in college rather than audio only) so having less visual clutter really does make a difference on my mood and productivity levels. I feel like I have less to clean, which for sure sparks joy. Ha! And in my closet, I’ve noticed it’s much easier and faster to get ready in the morning because I have less clothes and ALL of them are things I want to wear. And, I know where little things are like black tights that don’t have holes in them, or a plain tank top to wear under certain shirts. It’s awesome! If you haven’t gotten on the organizing and pairing down KonMari train yet, you need to!

Anyway, I recently cleaned out our kitchen and I thought I might share a few tips as well as what kitchen utensils I ended up keeping and what I got rid of (donated). Every time I visit Elsie, I’m always surprised the things she has (and doesn’t have) in her kitchen. I think what things you need and use are so custom to what you and family cook often, so it’s sort of interesting (at least to me) what the most used things turn out to be. I’d love to hear what your most used kitchen items are was well!

I have two drawers that hold most of our handheld, miscellaneous items. These two drawers used to be WAY more full and it was hard to find things. Now I feel like I use everything we have and I know where it is. Our most used (like daily or weekly used) items are in the upper drawer and the lower holds things we use but not as often.

My most used items:
rubber spatulas (we keep four)
wine opener
citrus squeezer
can opener
peeler
reusable straws
large spoon
thin spatulas (we keep two)
pizza cutter
whisks (we keep three, different sizes)
kitchen tongs

Items I got rid of:
garlic press
potato ricer
extra spatulas (thicker or damaged)
extra spoons
extra whisks (yes, I had more than three. Why?!)
avocado slicer
handheld grater (I prefer box graters, which I already had)

For me, the vast majority of what I realized I didn’t need was things that were duplicates, damaged, or so specific that I rarely or never used them. This all seems obvious but I honestly didn’t realize how much of this I had cluttering up our kitchen!

This cabinet may not look organized to you, but to me it is! I know where every item is, we use all of it, and it’s grouped in a way that makes sense for me. Which this leads me to three tips I have for anyone looking to clean out their kitchen cabinets or drawers:

-Can you remember the last time you used it? 

Once you get everything out and make a big pile (this is from the KonMari method and it makes a huge difference, so although it’s a pain, you should absolutely make the time to do it) as you go through things, ask this question. If you cannot specifically recall the last time you used an item that’s an easy one to get rid of. This helps me do an initial pare down.

-Does it have a specific purpose? 

I don’t have a citrus juicer just because I think it’s cute. I have one, and in a prominent spot no less, because I had lemon or lime juice to my tea and drinking water almost every day. This helps me drink more water throughout the day and it tastes so much better. So for me, this is an important item to keep. But for someone else it might not be. Everything should have a specific purpose for you—not just an item that some wedding registry list or magazine article said you should have. Your kitchen drawers should be as unique as your family.

This also helped me to realize I have quite a few things (like a whole much of extra small plates, and extra forks, etc.) that I use a couple times a year for hosting wine pairing dinners. I love to host and cook for people, so having enough dishes to do so is important to me. But these items have a special place that is mostly out of the way since I only use them 2-4 times a year.

-Does it spark joy? 

This is such a funny and sort of silly question to ask as you hold a spatula in your hand. I would know! But I actually think this is the most important thing I’ve learned from the KonMari method and from organizing my house these past 3+ months. I’ll give you an example. We owned three spatulas before I cleaned out the kitchen. Two are ones we love, they are thin and lightweight. The third one was thicker and larger and just always ended up being the one neither of us reached for, but if the other two were dirty we would reluctantly use it. It probably came in a set from a wedding gift or honestly who knows. We’ve had it long time. But it didn’t spark joy because no one liked using it. It felt really good to donate it. And now every time we reach for a spatula it’s one of the two that we like to use. Yes, we have to keep them clean (as we no longer have the third) but this isn’t a bad thing. We less dishes that we own we clean more often, and which makes it easier, and we only use things we actually like owning. I love it!

Have you been organizing lately? What things spark joy in your kitchen? xo. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.
  • My kitchen is next on the list to organize and I’ve been avoiding it for too long! Thanks for the useful tips. And your pup is so adorable 🙂

    • Just the “kick” in the pantry that I needed! I need to get to work now–your place looks great. I especially love that it is “real”, not some mock-up of a perfect kitchen (your shoes in the picture, your dog–a cutie–in another)

    • He honestly just sat right there when I was trying to get that photo, so I just left him. I think he was needing some attention. 🙂

    • I was shocked (and a little embarrassed) how many broken or rusty items I had that we didn’t use or need. Felt sooooo good to clean it all out!

  • Your “Can you remember the last time you used it?” question reminded me of two I read in a book by Dana White (don’t remember which book–I loved both!–but she also discusses on her blog ASlobComesClean) that are helpful in organizing:
    1. If I needed this item, where would I look for it; and 2. If I needed this item, would it even occur to me I already own it? I laugh at the second, because I have totally bought more of something because it never even occurred to me I already had a slicer/garlic press/zester/melon baller, since I never used them. LOL Or maybe it’s just me and Dana who do that?! :~)

    Like you, I have found I could get rid of a lot of the specialty tools–yes, the avocado slicer is cool, but since I always just grab a spoon and a paring knife to do the job, why waste space on a slicer?

    Thanks for sharing your ideas!

  • I just went through and totally cleared out my closet. I redid the shelves and eliminated two giant bags of shirts, shoes, pants and dresses I no longer wear. I’ll donate them to Salvation Army (I hate holding garage sales) and write it off as letting other people use the stuff I love but cannot or do not wear.

  • I’ve been on a clearing-out-the-clutter streak for awhile but get a lot (like A LOT) of resistance from my spouse. We are of much different opinions on what makes something valuable. (I value the extra space over an item that is rarely, if ever, used, but popular opinion around here is, “but WHAT IF we ever need it again?”) any tips for getting everyone on the same page? (Or, selfishly, MY page, let’s be honest 😂)

    • This worked for me. Box it up, label it. Put it out of the way, like basement. If ßix months goes by without the ñeed, it goes with no more discussion. I had to do this to myself to learn to let go of the excuse of what if.

    • This used to be me. (well, sometimes still is…it’s a work in progress) I saved everything for the inevitable day I would need the item. I realized that a lot of those items were adding to the clutter and making it hard to organize. So, even if I need it some day, I probably won’t know where it is. I tell myself that I can just buy it again if the day ever comes that I need it, as long as it’s a relatively inexpensive item.

      • I believe it was Joshua Becker in The Minimalist Home that said if you are having trouble getting rid of something because SOME DAY you might need it, his rule is if you can go get another one in 20 minutes for less than $20 then get rid of it. The space is more valuable! I like that idea.

  • I have also been decluttering massively and the one rule that really helps me, is: for every item that comes into the house, two must be removed (either identical use items or similar group). It was really hard for me to get rid of things initially, but once I started I can’t seem to stop. To top it all, most of the stuff was in great condition, so I did a lot of giveaways and donations. People are happy to come and collect if it’s for free and I also like the fact that it’s freed up so much storage space.

  • I definitely have a drawer that can only close with thoughts and prayers, so it’s waaayy past time to see what needs to get tossed. My biggest hangup is having a roommate, and naturally their things do NOT spark joy for me, lol. I tend to organize things by function. I have two utensil crocks, one for preparation- spatulas, whisks, wooden spoons – and one for serving – slotted spoons, serving forks and whatnot. That definitely eliminates search time, but I could certainly stand to clear up some space. Like someone else said, thanks for the kick in the pantry!

  • This is good!! I would say I need a few more rubber spatulas, and I could probably stand to get rid of my melon baller. Why do these things feel like a necessity when I’ve never once balled a melon?!

  • I need to clean out/organize my utensil drawer. Been on my to do list since Christmas time. My favorite utensil is something I bought on a whim at Sur La Table years ago. But I use it every day. My Joseph Joseph slotted spoon. I just thought last week that I should probably by another one. Gray, with a lime green rubber handle. I love it so much. Constantly washing to reuse before my dishwasher is full. Highly recommend. Now off to find one online to buy.

  • oh yes I’m still on a declutering, cleaning journey . I did my kitchen drawers and also gave cups , bowls and stuff I didn’t use. ( but not my garlic press, it is an essantial here! ). Cothes also has been done. It is such a joy to open my cabinet and see all the tshirs fold in their little colorful basckets!

    Last big category I did was my seeds. ( i’m gardening) and boy it was needed . I covered my kitchen table and found a lot of double and triples! I love to know what I have too so I don’t buy it again because I don’t know where it is or forgot I even have it!

    I still have more categories to do and the craft room/ office is one of them! ( I did purge my scrapbooking stuff tho, my ikea trolley is all nice and tidy. The stamps I have now are only my favorites!
    😉

  • Mellon ballers are the best for quickly de-coring apples for kids 😉!

    With all the decluttering going on around us, I’m discovering that people keep looking at my family (I have 4 kids) and think “they probably need this and this and THIS…” tips on how to say, “no thanks,” on receiving decluttering offerings???? I appreciate that they think of us but I really don’t want to be running all their STUFF to donations places on top of everything else I need to do. Ideas???

    • If I’m getting declutter castoffs I dont need i tell,them “I’m decluttering too! So i dont need any of those, but thank you so much for thinking of me, do you want to go drop things off at Goodwill together?”

    • “Oh thank you but no, I don’t need it.” Or “Thanks but I just got rid of mine too!” My daughter just says, “mom, I have my own junk, I really don’t need yours too” then we both laugh and commiserate.

  • I really like your message here and I feel inspired. You perfectly describe how I know I’ll feel with more organization and less visual clutter. Thank you! For me in the kitchen, my variety of wooden spoons spark so much joy. Also, think I need to get rid of like 4 cutting boards and a drawer full of rusty mason jar lids…

  • I’ve been working on cutting our kitchen stuff down to the essentials. We just have too much stuff. I went through the spices this weekend, but I still need to tackle the dreaded junk drawer.

  • I am moving into a camper full-time. And I can’t wait to go through all my kitchen utensils, gadgets, and pots and pans.

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