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Keeping your kitchen clean could be the organization that you never knew you needed. 

Spring is a season of reset, so you might feel inspired to tidy up your space. If so, the kitchen is a great place to start.

For Sarah Benson, founder of the business Simplified Home, an organized kitchen can be more than just a clean room.

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“For me, being organized just makes me happy,” Benson says. “If things are a mess, people just get overwhelmed. They don’t want to cook — they don’t want to even look at it. It brings them anxiety.”

A 2016 study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology found that clutter can affect your mental state. The study surveyed 1,489 people and found that less clutter meant more belonging and identification with your space.

Lauren Crosby, founder of Orderly and Organized, told Vox in a 2019 interview that many of her clients feel overwhelmed by the prospect of straightening up. Yes, cleaning a whole house or even a whole room can be daunting, but Crosby recommends starting small with something like a closet or pantry.

So if your Tupperware cabinet is out of control or your pantry is full of old food, don’t fret. Vox rounded up some simple tricks to boost organization and tidy up your kitchen.

Take inventory

The first step to decluttering is getting all of your items out in the open. Seeing everything you have at once can help you assess what you really need, Benson says. This can also help you find forgotten items.

“Sometimes things get pushed to the back of cabinets or stuffed in the pantry, and you don’t necessarily realize that you have as much as you do,” Benson says.

From here, it’s easier to eliminate duplicate or unnecessary items. With fewer items around, the space often looks better and more minimalistic.

Get grouping

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Once excess items are eliminated, the key to reorganization is grouping like items.

Think about what placement makes the most sense. Put items as close as possible to the appliances they are used with, such as mugs near the coffee maker, glasses and cups near the sink or pots and pans near the stove.

Arrange items that are frequently used within arm’s reach and near the front of your shelves. Crosby says you can also use this trick in your pantry by placing food you need to eat soon in easy-to-access places.

“If you don’t have to spend time searching for something, and if everything’s in a place where it makes sense and is logical, you can save time that way,” Benson says.

Chuck expired food 

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Expired food can take up major space in your pantry. Just like taking stock of kitchenware is an effective way to identify what you don’t need, it’s a good idea to look over your food products to ensure nothing has gone bad.

The spice cabinet can be an easy place to pare down. Benson says she has noticed people tend to keep spices around for a long time.

“If you look online, it’ll say six months or a year is the longest [spices] have their full potency,” she says. “I don’t think it’s a danger to keep them past that, but to have them be freshest, they have to be fairly new.”

Use products to revamp your space

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Mary Stauffer is the founder of Tallulah’s, a kitchen specialty store in downtown Columbia. She says labels and label makers are popular for organizing, as well as specialty containers for items like flour and sugar.

If you want to add some flair to your spring cleaning, products like candles and scented cleansers can give an extra boost to a space.

“It’s always nice to give your kitchen a fresh new look,” Stauffer says. 

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