The kitchen. Possibly the best, most important room in the house. It’s where we nourish our bodies and create meals that bring family and friends together for an evening of fun, food, and conversation. Also one of the easiest rooms to accumulate junk in the form of gadgets that seem like they are necessary and so great to have, but actually just take up space. I mean really, that Slap Chop seemed like a Godsend… and then there was the scandal. Now, it just hides away in shame in the back of your overflowing tupperware cabinet with a depressing 4:1 container to lid ratio (seriously, where do all the lids go???). While everyone dreams of renovating their kitchen and coming out on the other side with a luxurious haven for cooking with space to spare, renovations take time, planning, and budgeting. While you prepare for that much deserved reno, however, here’s a list of things you can get out of your kitchen to make it feel more spacious and function more efficiently.

Garbage Gadgets

Meat Claws, Egg Molds, Citrus Spritzers, Oh My! If you’ve ever spent any amount of time watching daytime tv – or just roaming around a Bed, Bath, and Beyond – it is SO EASY to fill your cabinets and drawers with an endless array of gadgets that are designed to make life in the kitchen easier but really just take up space. The problem with all these gadgets is that they’re designed for one very specific purpose only and there’s a multitude of things you’ll have to do in the kitchen on any given day. In the case of items like the Breakfast Sandwich Maker or Vacuum Sealed Marinators, you’re only going to use them from time to time and they take up large amounts of space. The even bigger truth is you can accomplish anything these tools do, like a Quesadilla Maker, with items already in your kitchen (Haaaaaaave you met a Skillet?). So roll up your sleeves, drag everything out of those drawers and cabinets, and get rid of that Margarita Machine, Randy Marsh.

Less IS More

We all dream of that robot house that does everything for us, especially the dishes. Until that dream becomes reality though, we just buy more forks and bowls instead of loading the dishwasher. (Or maybe you just really can’t help yourself when you walk by the bargain bins at Target – TEA TOWELS FOR EVERYTHING!!!). Before you know it, you’re swimming in a sea of casserole dishes and deviled egg platters. You’ve probably got $100 in store credit with all the items you got thinking “Yeah, I’ll totally use this”, but then didn’t even get to taking the tags off. That being said, having an extra skillet or casserole dish for big dinners and special occasions isn’t completely unnecessary. But 20 reusable water bottles for a family of five is excessive. When you reach the point of not being able to close your cabinet doors, it’s time to re-think what you truly need and use. You know yourself best. While you’re going through the endless parade of gadgets, take stock of what you’re holding on to thinking you might use one day and what’s constantly in use. It can be hard but the best, easiest rubric to follow can be summed up in two questions: Did I use this last year? When was the last time I used it? If it’s been more than a year or you have to think about it, you don’t need it. It’s just taking up space.

The Exception: your Nona’s Pizzelle iron that she brought all the way from Sicily – Picture it, 1922 – that you bust out every Christmas and birthday for cannoli’s (or something of equal tradition, value, and use) that, of course, stays. You know you best and what you consistently use/need. Just be real. You made an Elsa and Anna cake once Five. Years ago. Let it go, Sheila. Let It Go.

Single Lid. Looking For Match.

Speaking of letting go… that tupperware shelf. Honey. We know. You held out hope as long as you could. But it’s time to admit defeat and recycle all those mismatched pieces of tupperware taking up valuable cabinet space. Their mates are never coming back. And if you’re anything like your mother and you have 50,000 glass jars from various pasta sauces, it’s time to whittle that collection down to just a few, too. A nice set of tupperware that can hold anything from small snacks and sauces to large leftovers like lasagna and soup, even the containers that have dividers and can pack a whole meal in one dish are okay. But that doesn’t mean you save every bit of reusable food container that enters your house. Just like the Less is More rule, whittle it down to what you really need based on your habits.

Laying The Groundwork

It seems like some tedious work – and really, it is – but clearing your kitchen of useless debris will actually help you plan better for that future renovation. By simplifying what’s in the kitchen you’ll reduce the amount of extra space you need to create in the first place, saving you time and money. Which means now you can splurge on that marble countertop or new fridge. And which would you rather have at the end of the day; 12 more drawers for you Bananza Banana Slicer and other such ridiculous devices, or gorgeous custom marble counters?