Disposable plastic bags
There’s something to be said for reduce, reuse, recycle, but letting old grocery bags pile up until they’ve taken up an entire cupboard is a habit to end. “Everyone tells me they keep these bags for dog poop, but really they end up filling them with random objects and never finding them again” says Driskill . Instead of schlepping home tons of plastic, use a tote bag for your weekly trips to the store. Check out this life-changing hack to fold plastic bags to reclaim space in your cabinets.
Reusable shopping bags
Sure, reusable shopping bags are great—we recommended them in the previous tip—but too much of a good thing isn’t ideal either. “Most people own way more bags than they need,” says Driskill. Her advice? Store 10 or fewer in the truck of your car instead of keeping them in the kitchen. Not only will you limit kitchen clutter, but you’ll also have a tote on hand for those last-minute market runs.
Bottles of water
While you should still strive for eight glasses a day, you don’t need a case of individual water bottles to meet your goal. “Water bottles take up so much room and are a big waste of natural resources and money,” says Driskill. Instead, invest in a good filter and a reusable thermos you can fill up before you head out. (Here are 17 things everyone should know about tap water.)
Just because you ordered delivery doesn’t mean you have to keep every last freebie thrown in. Wrapped fortune cookies, spare chopsticks, and extra ketchup packets aren’t meant to be saved; you’re always going to get more the next time you order. (These condiments are surprising health bombs.)
Content continues below ad
Sentimental coffee mugs
You might be the world’s best day or need coffee first, but you don’t need a mug to declare every one of your character traits. “Most people don't need more than six mugs, and yet a mug collection takes up the entire bottom shelf of the main cabinet in most kitchens,” says Driskill. Sip smart and waste less space.
You’re not an iron chef, and most meals you whip up in the kitchen won’t require more than one knife. “Most professional chefs get by with just three to five knives,” says Driskill. A paring knife for coring, peeling, and trimming, and a serrated knife for breads and meats usually does the trick.
Fancy kitchen gadgets
Unless you use it regularly, you probably don’t need that mango de-pitter or oversized quesadilla maker. “Again, consider professional chefs,” says Driskill. “They don’t use special tools for making margaritas, chopping garlic, or scrambling omelets.” Knives, forks, spoons, a whisk, and a spatula should do the trick.
Recipes you’re dying to try
We all have good intentions, and a well-taken food photo can be quite the temptation. Still, that doesn’t mean you should keep every scrap of paper with a quiche, pie, or pasta recipe you intend to make. “If you tore it out of a magazine more than three months ago and you haven't made it yet, you're not going to—and that's okay,” says Driskill.
Content continues below ad
With tons of recipes available online, the days of needing to keep mounds of hard covered cookbooks on hand is gone. While having a few around for inspiration is fine, keep your cookbook collection to a minimum. Also make sure they’re actually being used. “If you've owned a cookbook for over a year and haven't made a single recipe, you probably never will,” says Driskill. Ditch it.
All that stuff on your fridge
Be picky with what you post on the outside of your fridge. Consider it a VIP section for priority pieces only. “Save the refrigerator for daily reminders like current to-do lists, forms that need to be signed or addressed, or tickets to an upcoming show,” says Driskill. “The front of the fridge is such a large space, and when it is decluttered, the whole kitchen feels neater.”