25 Things in Your Kitchen You Should Get Rid of Right Now

kitchen clutter cover image

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Cheapism / mammamaart/Lightguard/cbarnesphotography/istockphoto

Culinary Clutter

Kitchens are the heart of the home, and it shows in the amount of stuff that piles up. If you're dealing with crammed cabinets, overstuffed drawers, and countertops covered in who knows what, it might be time for an old-fashioned purge. Here are several places to start, from the gadgets you never needed in the first place to old-fashioned wastes of money.

Hutzler Banana Slicer

1. Single-Use Kitchen Gadgets

Do you have a banana slicer? How about a tuna press or an egg separator? Chances are you have a drawer full of overly specific gadgets that never see the light of day. If you haven't used it in months, you can send it on its merry way guilt-free.

Related: 30 Kitchen Gifts They'll Actually Use

Takeout Menus
Liz Van Steenburgh/shutterstock

2. That Stack of Takeout Menus

They're torn, they're stained, and some of them may even list prices from the Clinton years. Trust us — you won't miss them, especially with a little thing we like to call the internet.

pots and pans in a drawer
old sponge

4. Old Sponges

Unlike your old pan, old sponges can pose a much more distinct health threat. That's because they're a breeding ground for potentially harmful bacteria like e. coli — so much so that trying to clean them doesn't help all that much, scientists have found. Instead, experts recommend replacing sponges every week or so.

Related: 16 Filthy Things Even Clean Freaks Miss

woman looking through spice cabinet

5. Ancient Spices

We all have things in our pantry that are past their prime, but spices are a particularly common culprit. Years-old spices won't harm you, but they do become much less potent (experts say they're probably tossable once they no longer smell like much of anything). And let's face it: If you haven't used marjoram in five years, you're probably not going to start anytime soon.

Related: 20 Items You Should Avoid Buying in Bulk

flour and pantry products

6. Other Expired Pantry Staples

While you're examining your spices, check up on other easily overlooked items like flour, canned goods, baking powder, and cooking oil. Yes, unlike the stuff in our fridge, they have long shelf lives, but they don't last forever, and we're not constantly checking in on them. If you're struggling with what expiration dates "really" mean, check out our primer.

Related: How to Tell When Canned Foods Are Still Safe to Eat


7. Half of Your Coffee Mugs

Even the most enthusiastic coffee drinker doesn't need more than a week's worth of mugs. So reach into the back of the cabinet and purge the ones that are just gathering dust. Feel bad just throwing 'em out? Repurpose them as pen cups, candles, or other fun projects.

vitamins and supplements

8. Multivitamins and Supplements

Got a kitchen drawer full of these? You can probably safely toss them, and save a ton of cash in the process if you quit buying them. While there are some exceptions, especially in the case of folic acid for pregnant women, experts have long said vitamins  and supplements don't do much, if anything, for our health. A much better bet, researchers with Johns Hopkins say: Eating a balanced diet with plenty of produce, grains, low-fat dairy, and protein.

plastic grocery bags

9. The Plastic Bag Filled With Plastic Bags

Admit it: You have a bag of bags lurking somewhere in your kitchen. Unless they're getting regular use for pet cleanup or some other task, focus on bulking up your stash of reusable bags instead. They're better for the environment, and they lie flat for easier storage.

Related: 31 Products to Help You Use Less Plastic


10. Old, Dusty Cookbooks

If you haven't cracked a cookbook since you discovered Allrecipes and high-speed internet, it's time to liberate your bookshelf. You're not going to be the next Ina Garten, and — breathe deeply say it with us — that's perfectly okay. 

Related: Meal Ideas From Cheapism

Which Plastic Containers Are Safe for Food Storage?
Henrique Westin/istockphoto

11. Excess Plastic Food Storage Containers

We swear these things breed overnight, and if you're like us, you definitely play favorites. If you've got containers that are warped, stained, or missing their lids, throw them out to make room for a sturdier set of replacements, or allow your favorites more breathing room.

Related: The Best Food Storage Containers You Can Buy

Air Fresheners

12. Air Fresheners

Think twice before you spray away the last remnants of that burnt-popcorn smell, or the lingering odor of meat gone bad. You might just be triggering a headache or breathing issues, and you're sure not doing your wallet any good. A can of air freshener or constant scented-oil refills are much pricier than opening the window, or leaving out a bowl of coffee grounds or baking soda.

Condiment Packets

13. All Those Condiment Packets

We know, we know. It's such a waste to throw away perfectly good ketchup, salt, and soy sauce hoarded from years of takeout. On the other hand, think of all the things you could put in that newly empty drawer. Bonus points if you also let go of those individually packaged plastic utensils.

Related: Delicious Recipes That Use Up Aging Condiments

Bottled Water
Kyryl Gorlov/istockphoto

14. Bottled Water

It's one thing to keep a couple of cases of bottled water in the garage for emergencies, but quite another to use it on the regular. A 24-pack takes up an enormous amount of space in the pantry, plus it's hundreds of times more expensive and environmentally-unfriendly than drinking your perfectly safe tap water. Don't like the taste of tap? Buy a pitcher with a filter, and you'll still come out way ahead.

small electric grill

15. Small Appliances You Never Use

That cake-pop maker or George Foreman grill may have seemed like a good idea at the time, but if it's been languishing in the back of a cabinet for too long, say goodbye. In the future, opt for small appliances that can be used for more than one task (think Instant Pot, for instance) to save space.

Related: 50 Simple, Cheap, and Delicious Instant Pot Recipes

china dishware
kitchen utensils drawer

17. Duplicate Tools

You have a favorite spatula, so why do you need the two others that sit in the drawer unused? Do you really need five wooden spoons or three sets of tongs? An extra is justifiable for a tool you use a lot, but if you have something in triplicate (or even more), it's time to declutter. 

plastic dishware

18. Cheap Plastic Dishes

You know the type: Maybe they're kids' dishes from years ago, or promotional cups you collected from theme parks or ball games. Whatever the case, they're taking up more than their fair share of real estate in your cupboard. Bonus: You may be getting rid of BPA as well as its chemically questionable replacements

dirty cutting boards

19. Damaged Cutting Boards

Regardless of whether you favor wood or plastic cutting boards, one thing is for sure: You need to throw them out if they have permanent scarring from knives. Otherwise, those cracks can collect bacteria and hold onto it between uses.

kitchen knives
Михаил Руденко/istockphoto
kitchen clutter drawer

21. Clutter From Other Rooms

Kitchen counters and tables seem to have a magnetic force field that attracts just about everything: Toys, bills, random knick knacks, and just about anything that doesn't have an official home. One simple hack to try, courtesy of Apartment Therapy: Designate one small basket for items that don't belong in the kitchen, and empty it nightly so that too much clutter doesn't accumulate.

Related: Decluttering Projects You Can Easily Tackle in Less Than 30 Minutes

Opened freezer

22. Old Frozen Foods

No matter how organized you are, something always ends up hiding in the back of the freezer until it's so covered in ice and dried out that it's unidentifiable. Go to your freezer right now and throw away anything that you don't remember putting there, you can't identify, or that you know has been in there for longer than a year.

Related: Stocking the Freezer? Here’s How Long Your Favorite Foods Will Last

Chipped mug

23. Chipped Tableware

We all have chipped plates and bowls around, but unless they're family heirlooms, you might as well toss them. That's especially true for mugs, cups, and anything glass, since those chipped rims can be sharp. And that fork that got a little wonky when it was dropped down the garbage disposal? Toss it too. 

Old oven mitt

24. Stained Kitchen Linens

No one thinks to replace oven mitts, dishtowels, and aprons, but they definitely have a shelf life. Eventually, they'll get burned or stained so badly that even a spin in the wash won't be able to save them. The same goes for that dining room tablecloth that's had the same beet salad stain on it for the last five Thanksgivings.

Refrigerator magnets

25. Excess Fridge Magnets

Fridge magnets are fun and often tied to special memories. But they tend to pile up, and they make your kitchen look cluttered and chaotic even if it's not. Plus, we all have those couple of magnets that don't even hold up a piece of paper anymore. Toss out the ones that don't work well anymore or you don't love.