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Kitchen cabinet clutter: how many plastic containers do you need?

Joan Fieldstone

February 19, 2015

By: Joan Fieldstone, Home Improv Advocate

In: Kitchen CabinetsInterior Home Improvement

I'm on a decluttering binge. Ever since I read that book about tidying by Marie Kondo, I've been getting rid of bags of garbage and recycling and gathering up unused items to sell or donate. According to most of the people who have stopped by my house unannounced previous to my home purge, my domestic surroundings have always been extremely tidy compared to their own. I guess I'm just better at camouflaging clutter. I'm also a master of storage solutions.

Actually, I have not really bought and kept many items in the last few years other than the minimal amount of second-hand furniture I need to live in a two-bedroom house. When I moved across country 10 years ago, I left a three-bedroom home I'd lived in for 16 years to live in a studio apartment. Talk about collections of unused stuff.

Luckily, the studio had a storage closet large enough to qualify as sleeping quarters and a good sized walk-in closet that held all the boxes of papers I didn't have a chance to sort and shred before moving, but I still had to abandon a lot of belongings before the move. The U-Haul I'd rented wasn't big enough.

Today the majority of clutter with which I struggle -- and this is either the funny or sad part -- comes into the house in envelopes or else filled with food. I have a tough time parting with paper and plastic. Why? I have no idea. I'm sure that most people whose homes are cluttered with newspapers, unread junk mail and whose kitchen cabinets overflow with empty plastic tubs (with or without their lids) also have no clue why or how this happens. It's the "rainy day" mentality, perhaps?

Clutter sufferers love company

Yesterday I saw a Facebook conversation initiated by one of my friends that alluded to an extreme habit of saving take-out containers. Quite a few people chimed in that they have the same tendency to hoard these useless plastic containers. Someone commenting on the post mentioned they had collections of empty foods-to-go boxes stored in their garage in addition to the ones they had pouring out of the kitchen cabinets.

I have to admit that until a week ago, I had a whole shopping bag full of yogurt cups in varying sizes that I had moved from the kitchen island cabinets to the garage, where they had been encroaching on the limited space to park my car for at least six months. After reading two more books on decluttering after the one by Marie Kondo, I finally put that bag of junk in the recycle bin, too.

The good thing about my quest to declutter is that as I take on each category and pare it down further and further, I find that I'm invested in making sure I don't keep this stuff around going forward. My shredder is in the front hall closet, and as the mail comes in I open it and put anything that needs shredding in a shoebox nearby. As soon as the box has five to ten items, I shred them. The yogurt cups get rinsed out and thrown in the recycle bin I keep by the kitchen garbage can.

Now, all I have to do is find the courage to part with the collection I have nested inside my unused 1970's Tupperware…

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