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I know it’s time. It’s been time for at least two years, possibly longer. I need to clean my kitchen. Now, before you send the health department to my address, let me explain. What I mean by “clean” is that I need to clean out and organize my kitchen pantry, cupboards and drawers.

If you walked into my kitchen, you’d see a tidy and sanitary place. But don’t walk into the pantry or open a cupboard too hastily. Something might hit you on the head. At this moment, a bottle of Advil has been tossed on top of cereal boxes, which are resting on pudding boxes that expired long ago.

Cynthia Ewer, editor of the Organized Home blog, says the first thing I need to do is harden my heart. An efficient, convenient kitchen, she says, must be pared to the bone. I must dare to dump anything and everything that is not absolutely necessary and useful.

CLEAR THE DECKS. Ewer instructs me to prepare four boxes with these labels: Put Away (Kitchen), Put Away (Elsewhere), Give Away (or Sell) and Storage. I am to tackle one shelf, drawer or cupboard at a time, putting each item into its proper box.

KITCHEN KEEPERS. Once everything has found its box, move three of the boxes out of the kitchen. Now comes decision time. Ewer is ruthless in suggesting I need to just get rid of the electric french fry fryer, the strange gelatin mold in the shape of Mount Rushmore and the odd collection of sports bottles I’ve amassed from all those walk-a-thons. Ditto for pans I don’t use, dishes I don’t like and specialty cooking tools that I never use because they’re too much trouble to clean.

NO MORE STALLING. I’m going to follow the Organized Home kitchen decluttering plan, starting at the top: the top shelves.

Here’s the rule: If I’ve used it in the last month, it’s a candidate to stay. If I used it yesterday, it will be the backbone of my newly organized kitchen.

I am committed; I am determined. I will box and banish. I will not stop until every shelf, every cupboard, every nook and cranny of my kitchen is cleared, cleaned and organized.

I don’t think I’m alone in this need for kitchen organization, so I’m extending an invitation to you to join me. Let’s call it the EC Spring Clean Kitchen Challenge. All who dare are invited to join me in this marathon event. I could use the company. Somehow, knowing others are participating in the same drudgery will keep me on track and moving forward.

The only requirement to join is a willingness to get your kitchen organized and send a comment telling me how you are going to get started.

Stay tuned because next week I’m going to help you get motivated to declutter books, CDs, DVDs and electronics — and quite possibly get paid to do it!

Mary invites questions, comments and tips at mary@everydaycheapskate.com, or c/o Everyday Cheapskate, 12340 Seal Beach Blvd., Suite B-416, Seal Beach, CA 90740. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of www.DebtProofLiving.com, a personal finance member website and the author of “Debt-Proof Living,” released in 2014. To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www. creators.com.

© 2017 CREATORS.COM

This article originally ran on stardem.com.

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