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Is Your Kitchen Sabotaging You? Here’s How To Fix It.

by Elise Museles

For the last few months I’ve been living under piles of cookbooks, mounds of kitchen gadgets, and one metric ton of unopened mail.

Yesterday, I found a silicone spatula between the cushions of my couch.

As you may know, I’ve spent much of this spring and summer working on the cookbook. I’m thrilled to be creating healthy, delicious recipes and putting physical, tangible work out into the world.

I’m also completely exhausted and my kitchen (and house) feel like a disaster for a neat freak like myself.

Our external environments frequently mirror our internal environments and if my kitchen is any indication of my mental state, I’m overflowing with wooden spoons and mismatched mugs. And even though I’m still incredibly busy at the moment, I decided to set aside an afternoon (or three or four!) to cleanse and de-clutter starting with my kitchen. The overstuffed cabinets were only serving to make me even more stressed and feel even more on edge, when what I really needed was a calm and soothing environment.

Three hours and several giveaway bags later, my kitchen and I now feel like better, clearer, calmer versions of ourselves. Cooking and prepping is finally easy and fun again! Finding the right spice is no longer a 15-minute endeavor!

Here are seven things I did to make my kitchen a healthier, more centering place to be.

1. Arrange your kitchen to fit the way you use it
I’m not much of a baker, so I moved my flours, sweeteners and muffin pans into the cupboard above the refrigerator. I use my spiralizer, microplane, blender and food processor multiple times a day, so I made sure they are easily accessible.

I usually add lots of anti-inflammatory spices and heart-healthy oils while I’m whipping things up on the stove, so I moved those closer to the cooktop. I rarely use my toaster right now, so away it went away—freeing up counter space.

2. Get rid of duplicates
Do you have two vegetable peelers, three garlic presses, and 26 dish towels? Me, too. I bet our kitchen drawers would be easier to open if we winnowed that down a bit.

3. Toss or donate the food you don’t like or know you’ll never use
Maybe you bought a $25 jar of protein powder before you realized your body doesn’t actually like whey. Or you purchased three bags of dried chickpeas because you had big plans for homemade hummus (but you really prefer the farmer’s market version). Toss or donate them.

Every time we reach past these unused ingredients we feel a little twinge of subconscious guilt. Nobody needs that! If it has been six months and you haven’t used it, it’s unlikely that you will. Get rid of it and make room for exciting, healthy pantry staples that you’ll actually go for more often.

4. Clean out that Tupperware (or glass container) drawer
I’ll spare you the lecture about plastic food storage containers. Regardless of how you’re storing your food, I bet you’ve got some mismatched tops and bottoms. Maybe a few are cracked or scuffed or maybe you have so many that everything spills out onto the floor every time you open the door.

Let’s put a stop to that. Cull your collection down to the pieces that nest nicely inside of each other, that have matched lids, and that still look and smell good. (I swear by these glass storage boxes. They make me happy when I see them filled with fresh veggies and stacked in my fridge!)

5. Scale down your cookbook collection
Are you guilty of buying those big, colorful cookbooks…and then letting them gather dust behind your KitchenAid mixer? If you haven’t made anything from it in a year, tuck it into your donate bag. And if it’s filled with recipes or foods you’re not eating right now—things that are meat, dairy, or gluten-heavy—this is your permission to bid them adieu.

6. Is something filled with negative memories? Get rid of it.
Don’t hang on to the coffee cup from the job you hated or that Mexican salad bowl from the trip with your horrible ex. Our kitchens and meals form the heart of our homes and the tools we use there can be surprisingly emotionally charged. If there are bad associations tied to that set of wine glasses, get rid of them.

7. Fill your kitchen with food + tools that support the life you want
Now, I’m not suggesting a major shopping spree, but if you’ve been wanting to try your hand at Asian cuisine, buy yourself a wok or a lemongrass plant. If you’d like to go dairy free, stock your fridge with almond milk, cashew cheese, and avocados. If you want to increase your iron intake, fill that veggie drawer with spinach. You get the idea! You can see my favorite kitchen tools here.

Your kitchen should support the life you want. It can be a source of pleasure and inspiration, not a place where stained containers tumble down on you every time you open a cupboard. Let’s make a pact to clear our hearts and our minds by creating spaces that help us to relax and reenergize.

While we start this cleanse in the kitchen, it can impact other areas of our lives. Feeling lighter and more grounded in one space leads to big changes in other spaces…physically and mentally. Really and truly—it’s all connected.

Could your kitchen (or any other area of your home or life) use a detox? How and where can you start today?

9 Responses to Is Your Kitchen Sabotaging You? Here’s How To Fix It.

  1. Max August 13, 2015 at 2:15 pm #

    Great post!

  2. Zenka August 13, 2015 at 5:19 pm #

    Thanks for this awesome post Elise! I did this just a few weeks ago because I was sick of towering plates and tupperware I didn’t use. I got rid of my lame mugs and splurged on handmade ones that am now hanging visibly.

    Now I have to hit the rest of the shelves! I agree with you on the unused ingredients (guilty). Having things cleared out makes the kitchen a stress free zone which is so great. It is hard for me to find the time, but you have inspired me to put it on the list for this week. Thanks as always for your constant expert guidance!

    • Elise Museles August 13, 2015 at 7:56 pm #

      Jenny, it sounds like you are off to a good start. I like how you call it a stress-free zone! Thanks for sharing. xo

  3. Jennifer August 14, 2015 at 8:44 am #

    I LOVE this post! You have got me on such a roll and it feels great to actually use (and enjoy) the space around me again. Thanks for the inspiration, brilliant!!

    • Elise Museles August 14, 2015 at 1:21 pm #

      Jennifer, so happy to hear that you’re already taking action! Love your enthusiasm. xxx

  4. Amanda August 15, 2015 at 2:40 pm #

    Your posts are always inspiring and motivating to me. This one is no different. We are moving to a new home next month and as I’m starting to box things up, I’m gifting the things that I no longer use in our kitchen and revamping my ideas for a new calm kitchen space. My husband is a horder of plastic Tupperware and after watching unacceptable levels and reading your post, we have decided to give them the boot and start fresh with glassware! Sometimes the small changes can have such a big impact on your day to day life. Thank you again!!

    • Elise Museles August 17, 2015 at 10:27 am #

      Congratulations on the new home! I agree with you that small changes can make a big impact on our lives. When we got rid of the plastic and switched to glass, I felt like a different person. You’re going to love seeing them lined up in your refrigerator. Wishing you all the best with your move.

  5. Lyv August 26, 2015 at 1:33 pm #

    love most of your recipes still trying them

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