Sunday, 1 July 2012

Declutter those kitchen cupboards! Tips, stories and strategies

We might wear only a small fraction of the clothes in our wardrobes but have you considered how many kitchen aids are languishing in cupboards? I have lots, bought new or from charity shops - and I don't learn my lesson. I had a juicer that I hardly used so I freecycled it, only to buy another a few months later, lured by "easy to clean" claims. Yes, because if something is a pain to operate and clean, you won't use it again after the first few times. How do you know before you buy? Unless you can try them out, you don't.

Coffee Magic? Yes it is, no hype there
I am fully aware I'm a squirrel with aspirations to be a minimalist. So what did this clever squirrel come up with? Storage, plenty of it, so I can hide my hoard and stop my partner calling me Rebus or digging at me when we watch TV programmes about hoarders (I can't resist watching people who are worse off than me, I see it as cautionary tales - Simone get a grip or you end up with a smelly house you can't live in). And do you know what my partner's "secret" fantasy is? Nothing kinky, I assure you... to burn all my stuff in a huge bonfire, furniture included.

So I am challenging myself to declutter my kitchen cupboards. I will try every single thing and if it's no help to me but still in good condition and functioning it will go to freecycle, the charity shop or gumtree - my last resort  to get rid of things I don't want to let go is to sell them, albeit at an attractive low price.

So this week I have been using Coffee Magic. Right, I have never been a coffee drinker, more like a tea fiend but have recently started to appreciate lattes. Of course my lattes are true to my Italian heritage  -  children are given a hint of coffee in hot milk for happy biscuit dunking - we are talking 250ml of full-fat milk and less than a teaspoon of instant coffee, with two tsp of brown sugar. I was making them in the microwave (put everything cold in mug, stir, microwave on high for two minutes) and it was working pretty well, but it was not as frothy as shop-bought ones (which are too strong for my taste anyway). So I remembered the coffee thingy I had. It was bought for my mother-in-law's visits as she likes her coffee cappuccino style but because of distance we don't see her as often as we'd like so it was on a top shelf, still in its box.

So I got it down, heated the milk in the microwave, poured it inside, added sugar and coffee, then pressed the button. Very soon the froth raised - if you are following me in this experiment, don't overfill it as it might come out since the top has holes like takeaway drinking cups. Despite the phony name and dodgy graphics it's a really good product. I'm hooked and it's out on my kitchen workstation now. I get a superfrothy latte, even better than Starbucks as I'm controlling the ingredients and their proportions. The froth is incredibly thick, so no need to add cream if you are that kind of coffee drinker. Yes, it is really magic.

Please help me beat the hoarding habit by telling me your decluttering stories.... If I say "shelf" another time my partner will go mad!

PS: I watched a TV programme where they had a test with Rugby players and drinking milk eased muscle pain quicker than sports drinks! I saw an improvement in my back pain since drinking these lattes.... I know it's not an excuse but if you don't want to add coffee, you can have a caffeine-free additive or a chocolate powder...

UPDATE: I shared this post on BritMums and here is a suggestion posted there: "I haven't actually done this, but thought it seemed like a really good idea: put all your commonly used baking ingredients into a tall tupperware tub/ice cream box. So that's SR flour, plain flour, bicarb, baking soda, hundreds and thousands, vanilla essence etc and b*** it all together in a box so that when you are making something you can just pull out the box rather than keep cricking your neck to get stuff off that top shelf. It also takes up less room because things are on top of each other in the box. I keep meaning to do it, such a good idea...." Claire (

Another comment at  BritMums, with a sad twist


  1. I am also guilty of this having more than enough shelf space in my kitchen. I have three sets of every day dinner plates, which I clearly don't need as I wouldn't use them for a dinner party and there are only 5 of us in the family. (I have to add I was given one set and bought another at a jumble sale.) I know I won't miss a reduced number of plates, it's just deciding which set to give away.
    Ditto with wine glasses. I have a large number of plain glasses, which I will keep for parties; however, I also have two sets of thicker, coloured glasses which never leave the shelf. I am trying to decide whether to break them out and use them on a daily basis or get rid of them.
    With small appliances, I tend to give them another 6 months and then if they still haven't been used, I get rid of them. I'm pretending we're moving house (which we're not) and asking myself if I had to box them and move them, would I bother?

  2. Your sharing a link to my post was a really sweet thing to do. Thank you so so much.
    Liska x

  3. Just read your post again as this is the full version compared to Brit Mums and I have fallen in love with that coffee machine - how much is/was it?
    Liska x

    1. I got it from a charity shop, it was new so I guess an unwanted present. I think it's still sold on amazon for £3. You might be able to find it in a cheap shop too. There are various versions, it's made in China and it's not luxurious looking. I wonder if it does milkshakes too (with powder flavouring of course). I'm not getting any commission out of it, I just find it useful.