A common problem for a person with hoarding behavior or an individual diagnosed with hoarding disorder is a virtually or completely unusable kitchen. There are some tactics that you can utilize as a means of getting a kitchen back into a usable condition and keeping it that way. Indeed, there are 10 goals that should be considered when it comes to eliminating hoarder clutter in a kitchen and to keep a kitchen free of hoarder clutter in the future:
- Clear countertops
- Access cooking utensils easily
- Create designated space for plates and dishes
- Eat meals at your kitchen table
- Grow herbs in the kitchen windowsill
- Create a coffee nook
- Keep paper goods on one shelf
- Designate cabinet for food storage containers
- Designate pantry for canned and boxed goods
- Prepare foods you enjoy
In a typical hoarding situation, kitchen countertops are among the first spaces in a residence to become overwhelmed with things. In a very short amount of time, cluttered countertops render a kitchen less useful, less accessible. Indeed, the manner in which kitchen countertops become inundated with stuff can rendered the kitchen itself virtually if not completely unusable. An initial objective when setting goals to eliminate hoarding clutter in the kitchen is to clear countertops – and keep them clear.
Access Cooking Utensils Easily
Once you get countertops back in order, another goal for eliminating clutter in the kitchen is to develop a strategy and create a space to keep cooking utensils and related items easily accessible to you. Time and again in a hoarding situation, cooking utensils becomes mixed in mess and difficult if not impossible to find.
Create Designated Space for Plates and Dishes
Another victim of hoarding confusion involves plates and dishes. Sadly, these basic tools of daily living can become lost in a hoard. Indeed, they can become lost in a hoard when they are dirty, creating quite a nasty situation. Another of your goals for eliminating hoarder clutter in the kitchen is to create a designated space for clean plates and dishes. Keep that space dedicated to these items and do not use it to store anything else, even “temporarily.”
Eat Meals at Your Kitchen Table
There really are two overarching objectives to eliminating hoarder clutter in the kitchen. First, you want to get rid of the mess in the first instance. Second, you want to return your kitchen to a usable state going forward. One way to better ensure that a new hoard won’t develop in your kitchen is to use it daily. This includes keeping your kitchen table free of hoarding stuff. One step you can take to prevent this from happening is to use your kitchen table for what it is meant for – eating your meals.
Grow Herbs in the Kitchen Windowsill
Take some extra steps with your kitchen to make it more meaningful to you. One simple, practical step you can take is to grow herbs in the kitchen windowsill. This is another technique you can employ as a tool to prevent a return to using the kitchen as a hoarding dumping ground.
Create a Coffee Nook
On a somewhat related note, related to both proper kitchen use and making the space more pleasant, create a coffee nook. Include your coffeemaker, some cups, and other items associated with your daily cup of joe. If you’re not a coffee drinking, think of a tea nook or something similar.
Keep Paper Goods on One Shelf
When a person develops hoarding behavior or suffers from hoarding disorder, paper goods sometimes become more relied upon because other goods are no longer available or accessible. Paper goods tend to be stowed throughout the kitchen. Designate a specific shelf in the kitchen to store whatever types of paper goods you feel you need to keep on hand for the future.
Designate a Cabinet for Food Storage Containers
Similarly, designate and use a specific cabinet in your revamped, rediscovered kitchen to keep food storage containers. When not actually storing food items, this ensures that they are kept readily available in a tidy manner.
Designate Pantry for Canned and Boxed Goods
Keep organized when it comes to canned and boxed goods as well. Designate a specific pantry or cabinet space to store these types of staples.
Prepare Foods You Enjoy
Finally, once you get your kitchen back to a functional state, take the time to prepare – not order, prepare – foods that you enjoy. By engaging in this type of activity you turn your kitchen into an enjoyable space.
As an aside, you should also focus on preparing healthy food options. In many, many cases of hoarding behavior or hoarding disorder, a person in such a situation fails to eat properly. With the kitchen essentially out of order, they may lack the tools to keep and prepare healthy food. With a restored kitchen, an individual can return to a healthier and more enjoyable diet.