One of the easiest places to fall victim to excessive clutter is the kitchen. Why does it matter? Clutter makes it harder to properly clean surfaces. If she can’t wipe all of her surfaces each day, the risk of bacterial growth and spread is higher.
It also adds to the risk of a fall or burns when your mom is trying to prepare a meal or snack. If she’s short on counter space for the hot pan she needs to put down, she might drop the pan and cause the contents to splatter all over her.
A clean, organized kitchen helps her avoid these risks. Take these steps to help her get clutter and disorganization resolved for good.
Clear Out Things She Rarely Uses
Like many people, your mom probably has some items she only uses once in a while. Those are items she needs to part with. If she has an ice cream maker that hasn’t been touched all year, does she really need it taking up space? She has a rice cooker but always uses her slow cooker to make rice. Why does she keep the rice cooker?
Donate the items she doesn’t use or help her sell them for a little extra cash. With the unused small appliances cleared out, there’s space for items she has sitting on the counter that are used daily. You can put her pots in the cupboard rather than leaving them on the stove. Or, put her sugar and flour containers away and clear up counter space.
Clean the Refrigerator, Cabinet, and Pantry Each Month
At least once a month, someone should help your mom go through her pantry, cabinets, and refrigerator. She wants to compost or dispose of spoiled foods or certain past date items. Moldy foods need to go.
Some past date items may be safe, such as herbs that just lose some of their potency. Anything with oil or milk products can become dangerous if they spoil. Don’t risk food poisoning. Your mom needs to keep expired foods out of her kitchen.
While you’re going through items, make sure things are in the right location. A sealed jar of mayo is okay in the cabinet. Once it’s opened, it needs to be refrigerated. Salad dressings and condiments that contain milk or eggs need to be refrigerated. Mustard or ketchup, which are vinegar-based and acidic, don’t have to be.
Make Sure Every Item Has a Place
Everything in her kitchen needs to have a place. If there are still items sitting in her sink drainer or on the counter that don’t have a home, it’s time to consider getting rid of something else. Items she uses regularly can be on the counter. The rest should be in cabinets.
Once her kitchen is decluttered and well organized, it’s time to address having home care providers help with cleaning. Your mom may have a harder time keeping things cleaned and organized. Arthritis pain makes it hard to stand for an extended period. Hire home care aides to help her.