Decluttering The Kitchen Counters: The Urge To Purge Series

This morning I got up, went through my usual morning ritual, and went in the kitchen to make coffee. As I stood in my kitchen, I looked around me.



And things just felt...chaotic. I don't operate well under "chaotic" so I decided to work on the kitchen today.

Here's what it looked like before I began...



First thing I did was take everything I could out and temporarily store things in another room.



Ah, a clean slate...

Then I started cleaning. I moved the refrigerator out, mopped there.

Cleaned the front of everything, then the sink and all the flat surfaces. I wiped down the decals that is my back splash.

I remembered to clean the colored bottles in the window after I cleaned everything below the window. 

Bad idea. Work your way down.

So I had to back track a bit.

I took the utensils and everything else out of their boxes or containers and washed it all. Everything. 

If you're going to do it, do it right and not halfway, is my motto.



Then I brought back in what I felt I needed. And a few things that just make me smile. Like the colored bowls and pitchers.

You have to limit decor in the kitchen if you have a real tiny space.



And now everything is clean and gleaming. I mopped the floor with Pine Sol. When I can smell Pine Sol, I think clean.

I went to the closet and found this little cow planter. I probably paid fifty cents or a buck for it. I put my sponge in there. 

You can't keep sponges long. Need to have new ones standing by of course. 

I put the dish washing liquid in one of the colored bottles.



I took everything off the little kitchen island and cleaned there. Cleaned the trash can and underneath it. Cleaned the baking station space.



And now all is right with my world. At least in my kitchen. I will start on another room another day. I'm too darned tired now!

It's just easier, when you're trying to decide what should go and what should stay, to take everything out and start with a clean slate, I've learned. That's how I start purging and cleaning.

Now I can wake up tomorrow morning and make coffee in a decluttered kitchen.

81 comments

  1. I love your little kitchen. I've had two really, really little kitchens and I love working in them. No steps needed, just turn around and you can reach anything. Your kitchen does sparkle, now come clean mine.

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    1. Well, you sure can't put a lot in there. So it makes things easier.

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  2. Your kitchen is so bright and happy! I have a small kitchen with limited counter space also and I plan to do this as soon as my back is better! It's been on the list, but I want to get it done before the holidays!!

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    1. My back has been giving me fits, even with the twice daily stretching. Guess it's just plain old getting older.

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  3. Sometimes my kitchen counters look full of stuff, but we pretty much use all of that stuff a few times a week, so it doesn't work for me to put any of it away. It could use a bit of a wipe down though. Thanks for reminding me that the refrigerator has not been pulled out and cleaned behind in a while... xox

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    1. Yeah, when I need the toaster, out it comes. The blender too. But I just don't have room to have them out all the time.

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  4. I adore your little kitchen, It's totally cute and clean and organized and....happy. I would feel right at home there.

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  5. I did that just the other day... the cleaning behind and under everything, not the decluttering. I have as little as I can on my countertops already. I think the best part of having a little kitchen is that it doesn't take long to clean or to cook in it. I also like that it can't hold a bunch of people to distract me while I'm cooking. Just one or two friends at the most and they have to sit in the nook. I love your kitchen, Brenda, but I've said that before :)

    xo,
    rue

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  6. I LOVE it. I have a kitchen half the size of yours so no appliances , only my electric tea kettle and a cutting board. I cannot stand to live with clutter! Good job you got me motivated to clean one suggestion Lysol is dangerous for pets as are all chemical cleaners You can buy the lovely Meyer organic products which I use for everything and they are safe for little paws to walk on. They also smell wonderful being made from essential oils

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    1. Lexie, I did not know this! My dogs are not paw lickers, but still. I shall check into the Meyer organic products.Thanks for telling me!

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  7. I love doing that - i could get sidetracked and really INTO it for hours, but when I am done, it's like a whole new space. (: Nothing like cleaning and purging, especially before the holidays begin.

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    1. I will clean out the closets, and within weeks, things seem to just grow in there. And I have to do it all over again. So I continually have to purge.

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  8. Oh, Brenda! You clean like I do - top to bottom and every little thing in every container. How do those things get so dusty? I love your kitchen - it's so bright and cheerful and the mix of colors is so fun - bet you smile each time you enter! And ... lamps in the kitchen ... what a nice touch ... the warm glow of the lamp has to be so pretty. Thanks so much for sharing and motivating!

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    1. I'd like a little lamp on the other side, but there isn't really much room. And I don't have enough electrical outlets in there.

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  9. I like a clean kitchen. I gave my own a good once over a week ago but I really need to go through all my lower cabinets and "clear" and purge. I have a LOT of lower cabinets and lots stored in them. I am dreading the job!
    I throw my sponge in the microwave for a minute or so every night and nuke it on high. It kills all the bacteria in it.
    Hope you have a good night. xo Diana

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    1. I will start throwing my sponge in the microwave! I don't have many cabinets. But they get stuffed with junk anyway!

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  10. So darling! You have a knack for organizing and making everything look happy. I am in the midst of packing up my beloved little cottage and moving into a smaller cottage with a private fenced backyard. I am rather disgusted with myself with all the things I have collected in the past 2.5 years. I guess 11 years of marriage of not being able to buy anything to going bonkers has really taught me something: Do you really need this? Oy Vey!!!

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    1. I've been wondering about you! Please email me and tell me about the new place.

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  11. I can smell the Lysol from here...I love that stuff, and if not that, Pine Sol. Everything looks lovely. Sometimes when I get the kitchen cleaned up I think wouldn't it be nice to just eat take out for a week and leave the kitchen clean! :)

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    1. It was Pine Sol. Did I forget and say Lysol? Probably did...

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  12. Your little kitchen is perfect for one person. I had some in the past that were just as small, and they really are easy to work in. I even did my moonlighting business (catering) in one as small as yours. I used a ironing board set up in an adjacent space to keep food on as I worked! Necessity is the mother of invention.

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    1. Love the ironing board idea! It would create an island!

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    2. I agree with Miss Merry! That was an inventive idea you had.

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  13. Using your cow planter for a sponge holder is perfect. I like the idea of using a pretty bottle for dishwashing soap.

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    1. I like little pretty things here and there. I guess we all do.

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  14. Your kitchen is so charming. So what did you do with the stuff you didn't bring back in?

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    1. Well, naturally they went in my two walk-in closets for me to deal with another day! By the time I get the other rooms done, it will be time to donate a bunch of stuff in the closets

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    2. Actually, most went into the kitchen cabinets. I was just being facetious.

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  15. Lexie said Lysol at 3:20 - she was telling you Lysol is bad for pets to walk on...
    Caution, Brenda, when you put your sponge in the microwave, watch it; too long and it may catch on fire! (It's always something!!)

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    1. And I meant Pine Sol. Guess it has chemicals too. I used to just use dish washing liquid, but it didn't clean the floors well, and it made them slippery. I just put it in the microwave for about a minute. Suds were coming up like meringue though!

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  16. Hi Brenda, I love to do this too. Declutter, clean and redecorate. Your kitchen is darling and so gleam clean!! Pine Sol makes everything clean and fresh!
    Love that darling cow planter.

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    1. The cow planter is only big enough for a small plant, but it was perfect for a sponge!

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  17. Nice job! And I've found too that I have to take everything off first. Somehow my mind doesn't lead me to make changes anymore unless I start from bare.

    It could be a dark stormy day where you live and your kitchen would make me feel cheerful and optimistic!

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    1. I feel the same way. I like things cheerful. And decluttered!

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  18. I love posts like this---they inspire me to tackle my own clutter. And my kitchen is a big problem. It's not tiny but I'm a firm believer that the more space you have, the more you use it up. I love your method, moving everything out, scrubbing everything down and editing. I actually have a lot of cabinet space and I need to donate a lot of canned goods I don't use/need and toss out expired stuff way in the back. Before Thanksgiving would be great.

    I love your colorful bowls and jugs and the pretty bottles on the window sill. Your love of color makes me smile. I've always loved the smell of Pine Sol, Lysol and Pledge. With little kids and dogs tracking in God knows what, I used those products a lot in the past. Now I use them every once in awhile because I worry about chemicals. I LOVE Mrs. Meyer's products, especially the Basil scent. The smell is addicting and it's all natural. Are you familiar?

    Thanks for sharing this---I'm revved up to work on my kitchen tomorrow! :)

    Jane x

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    1. I'm really kind of glad I don't have a big kitchen. Because you are right. The bigger the kitchen, the more I stuffed in it!

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  19. I love the smell of Pine Sol to. Well maybe not love but it is the smell of clean to me. Rest easy. You did quite a bit and it looks fresh and clean.

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    1. I may live in a dated 1960 apartment. But making it clean and cozy is really all I need.

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  20. Your kitchen is so charming and friendly! One day you just might have a whole bunch of your readers showing up at your front door wanting to come in to see your adorable kitchen first hand!

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    1. Well, come on! I will offer you coffee and whatever dessert I have on hand.

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    2. Can we please drink our coffee from your darling polka dot mugs?

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  22. Brenda,
    Pine Sol was what my mom used to clean house as I was growing up. So, it is the scent of clean for me still today. How wonderful for you to have a clean kitchen from top to bottom! I still need to clean the inside of all my cabinets.

    Judith

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    1. Yeah, I didn't do that this time round. But I did it recently. I was lying awake last night thinking I want to purge more in those cabinets too...

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  23. Great job Brenda...I need to do this too..and soon as I have two friends coming over for Thanksgiving...I really like your way of taking everything out and then cleaning and putting less things back..I will give your method a try...

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    1. May not work for everyone. But it works for me! I have to have a clean slate because my mind can't get around what is there to think straight! I left the big butcher block there because it is terribly heavy.

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  24. That's a good idea to take everything out and start fresh. Now, can you come over and do mine?

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    1. Well Kelly, I should have done that when I visited you and Max this past week!

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  25. I love your kitchen, Brenda. It's such a happy place! Mine can get away from me if I'm not careful. the black countertops make me crazy showing every. little. thing. Love that ICE graphic!

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    1. That ice graphic was less than $20 on Etsy. Actually around $15 if I remember correctly. One of the first things I did when I moved in here.

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  26. Lady I love your style...you always make things look good. You are an inspiration to so many of us...thank you.

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    1. I just know my way of doing things. Wasn't taught by anyone growing up. Just made up my own way.

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  27. Our kitchen is being repainted over the next few days. Everything has been removed and any flat surface that can be used has stuff on it. Steve will then rethink what goes back into his kitchen.

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    1. I have the urge to repaint this place. But I know it would probably just about do me in. After a year and a half, it just kind of feels like it needs it. Too many nail holes I've filled!

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  28. You've been working hard!! I love to do that process that you just described. There's something about my kitchen being spotless that makes the world feel better.

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    1. Me too! No matter what atrocities are going on in the world that I can't do anything about, I can still clean my kitchen from top to bottom.

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  29. I love your kitchen and also love to declutter! What brand of toaster oven do you have? I just bought one yesterday, plugged it in and found that all the outside surfaces except the sides get terrifyingly hot. I don't know if it would cause a fire, but it certainly will damage the wall and countertop over time. And I managed to burn my hand right away. It's being returned today.

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    1. Mine is a Breville Smart Oven. Was not cheap, but I had a gift certificate. It was about $250. But I read and read reviews of all of them for some time, and this one seemed to be the most highly rated. You can cook your meal in there, bake brownies, whatever. Last night I put a big 9 x 13 casserole dish in there with white potatoes, sweet potatoes and squash, and sprayed them with flax seed liquid. Added some spices. Boy, was it good!

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    2. I wanted to add that I've had this nearly a year and a half I think, and it has never overheated. I know I have it a little too close to the microwave, but that's all the way I could stretch the cord, as I don't have many outlets in here. I have never been disappointed with anything I've cooked. And I use an oven mitt to take everything out. Never been burned.

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    3. We have a Breville Smart Oven and use it when we don't want to heat up the big oven. For many years we used a Farberware convection oven but it finally died and of course, they are no long manufactured. Breville definitely make good products.

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  30. Love your little kitchen, Brenda. Clean and organized kitchen and bathrooms are a priority for me, and I have always thought fall was the perfect time for "spring cleaning". We are getting ready to spend a lot more time inside so it's nice to have a comfortable place to be. xo Laura

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    1. I need to do some intensive work on the bathroom tub tile. It's just a job I hate!

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  31. Thank you, Brenda. I guess I just have to be patient and save up some more to get a really good oven.

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    1. Well, you could take this time to do your research. I don't buy anything that I haven't fully researched and read extensive reviews.

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  32. Brenda,
    Your kitchen looks wonderful and I so love your appliance package-they are very nice.
    They always add some snap to a kitchen!
    I use Pine Sol and open up all the kitchen windows to get that wonderful clean air smell too. Nothing quite as satisfying as a sparkling clean kitchen!

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    1. Yeah, but I don't think you have furry ones, do you?

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  33. Hello Brenda, you are a wonderful artist! You inspired me to re-do and de-clutter my kitchen! I just moved into a small farm house and I intend to 'steal' many of your wonderful decorating ideas. I agree with you about colors. I remember a time when red and orange together was a hugh no no. :)
    Thank you! Peggy

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    1. You're quite welcome. And no one reinvents the wheel. I get parts of ideas from somewhere, and then someone adds to them and so it goes, passing it down the line.

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    2. Yep, but you are an important spoke in the wheel! I am working on making my living room cozy (my favorite word, which led me to your blog) and I as well prefer to spend most of my time at home. I have been 'stalking' Cozy Little House for some time, and I am thrilled to have heard from you.

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  34. Doesn't it feel good to deep clean and declutter? I'll be working on my freezer today. I can't use PineSol...I'm allergic to pine.

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  35. Looks great, Brenda and you're singing my (simplified) song! ;)

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  36. Great job Brenda, I have to do this every so often too! The kitchen just seems to draw clutter ;) Yours looks fabulous--I know you will enjoy your coffee and clutter free counters! Blessings, Cecilia

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  37. Brenda, I totally get this. I have to do it now and then as well. I spent the entire day deep cleaning all of the bathrooms as well as other rooms in preparation for decorating for Christmas. Paid for it last night with throbbing legs. I need to pace myself. lol! So nice to have your kitchen all clean and tidy. I smiled at your comment about Pine Sol. I feel the same way. Love your cozy kitchen, and yes; gotta have those pretty bowls and things that make us happy! Thanks for sharing with SYC.
    hugs,
    Jann

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  38. Your kitchen is so cozy and welcoming, Brenda! It' looks much more spacious without the clutter. I've had the urge to purge, too, lately. I've started to tackle my closet (a nightmare!), a few drawers in the kitchen that were driving me crazy, the freezer, etc. I've got a lot more to do, but you have inspired me to keep going! Thanks for sharing at Best of the Weekend!

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  39. I use hand-knitted washcloths in my kitchen instead of sponges. Just throw them in the laundry every few days and it saves a ton of money on sponges. I have half a dozen or so in assorted colors and it is more fun to use them! Growing up in the 50's that is all my mom used.

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I always enjoy reading your comments and having you join the conversation here at Cozy Little House. It is like having a gathering of friends sitting in my cozy apartment. Enjoying coffee and dessert, chatting and having a good time. I appreciate each and every one of you! However, if you are a no-reply commenter, I cannot reply via email to your questions or comments.

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