‘Tis the season to purge, tackle those cluttered closets, and deep clean *everything* in sight. Follow my Spring into Clean series with Brit + Co through March and April for tips, hacks, and tricks. Happy (spring) cleaning, all!

The kitchen can become an overwhelmingly scary catchall for well-intentioned ideas. From your latest home fermentation hobby to last year’s dehydrated food obsession, the clutter problem is REAL. Not to mention, all those old pantry items that you haven’t touched for months. If you’re ready to start the annual purge, the following items are a great start. So grab the garbage and donation bags and get ready for a totally Insta-worthy space.

1. Utensils: Whether they’re old, broken, or just not suitable for your needs anymore, sad and scraped utensils need to go. The last time I did this — about four weeks ago — I got rid of a spare cake trowel, damaged salad servers that I held onto for sentimental reasons, and a carrot peeler that looked like it was from the roaring ’20s.

2. Extra or Broken Lids or Containers: Containers (like socks) can often get detached from their mate, making them pretty much useless. If you have containers which are cracked, broken, or warped, they can be shown the door. Just be sure to recycle responsibly.

3. Old Spices: We’re not talking the sexy-man-on-a-horse commercials. Sort through your spice drawer and pick out spices that are more than one year old or that smell or look off (color-loss, smell rancid, taste dull, etc). Replace them with spices from your bulk food store purchased in much smaller quantities so that they don’t go to waste. I keep mine in glass jars and hand wash them before replenishing.

4. Products Hidden Under Your Kitchen Sink: The space under the kitchen sink is a holding cell for cleaning tools and products. Have a look through and see what you no longer use (offer it to a friend or neighbor) and what’s almost empty (use it up!). Zen that space out by decluttering it, give it a nice wipe down, and only replace the items that you use and enjoy.

5. Unused Appliances: Toasters, panini presses, hand mixers, apple peelers, dinglehoppers, etc. — we all have funky stuff in the kitchen that doesn’t get used anymore. Whether it was a holiday gift from a well-meaning brother or a trendy kitchen gadget you thought you’d love, it’s time to pick out the things that don’t get used monthly (unless, of course, it’s for holiday cooking or baking) and bid farewell.

6. Expired Packaged and Canned Foods: Sort through the pantry and find expired foods, toss them, and free up cupboard real estate. If there’s anything that’s close to expiring, cook it and enjoy. In the future, remember to buy about a month’s worth of pantry items only.

7. Half-Eaten Bags of Chips/Cookies/Crackers: My husband is notorious for doing this. He’ll leave three crackers in the box, or five corn chips plus crumbs at the bottom of the bag, and never touch it again. If you sort through your cupboards and find a few items left in a box or bag, find a way to eat them (if still fresh and edible) or just toss them out.

8. Old Tea and Coffee: You got a nice holiday basket with winterberry tea and you’re holding hold onto it for next Christmas. Trust me: You won’t get to it and it will just sit there feeling very neglected. Toss the bags and boxes of coffee and tea that you don’t consume regularly, or that you know friends won’t ask for if they are over. There’s no need to clog up kitchen real estate with this stuff. Plus, they lose freshness and flavor quite quickly after opening.

9. Rancid Oils: Oils have a shelf life, and if you smell them and they have a bitter, almost industrial-like odor, it means they’ve turned rancid. I empty the oil into a zipper lock bag and toss it (never dump down a drain) and recycle the bottle.

10. Cookbooks That You Never Use: The diet trend of yesteryear is no more. You’ve since fallen off the gluten-free wagon and are no longer Paleo. Sort through your old cookbooks and donate any that you don’t reference anymore. If there are timeless cookbooks that you know you’ll use maybe one or twice a year, definitely keep those.

If you’re looking for more cleaning tips and tricks, tune in next week for a new video on my Spring into Clean series. And be sure to check out the Clean My Space Youtube and my recently published book, Clean My Space.

What cleaning tips do you hope Melissa Maker will share in her Spring into Clean series? Shoot us your purging, organizing, and tidying-up questions on Twitter!

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