Spring Cleaning Tip: How to Declutter Your Kitchen & Bathroom Drawers & Cabinets

I came across a fantastic de-cluttering trick in 2006 when home organizer extraordinaire Peter Walsh shared this technique with Oprah viewers.

“One-Month Cardboard Box Test- Not sure what you use and what you don’t in your kitchen? Here is a tried and true way to find out. Empty the contents of your kitchen utensils drawer into a cardboard box. For one month, put a utensil back into the drawer only if you take it out of the box to use it. If it’s still in the box after four weeks—you don’t need it. Pass it on to charity. “
— Peter Walsh

I find the One-Month Cardboard Box Test is useful when decluttering, remodeling or moving. It allows you to only fill your drawers and cabinets with exactly what you need. When I first tried this method I realized that I was holding onto three turners for flipping over grilled cheese sandwiches or serving up an egg. Although the notion of having an extra turner in case one was dirty or in use sounded ideal, the reality was that I would always use my one, favorite, tried and true turner EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

Disclaimer: There are certain items (such as a turkey baster) that you only use a couple times a year. These items are the exception to the rule and can be put away once the challenge is over.

I find this method also works wonderfully with bathroom drawers and cabinets. If you are anything like me, you are holding on to cosmetics, perfume, and body lotions that are either past their prime or just gathering dust. There is a reason you are ignoring that perfectly good lipstick. The shade, scent or texture just isn’t for you. If that isn’t the case, you will make a point of using that lipstick during the one month test so that you don’t have to toss it. I decluttered my master bathroom drawers this past year. Being able to open a drawer and see only the items that I truly use on a regular basis has made my skin and hair routine quicker and more enjoyable because I’m not having to sift through the extra clutter.

Are you interested learning about other organization and de-cluttering techniques? Check out how I keep my closet organized and clutter free here and here.


  1. Malu Trehan

    April 18, 2019 at 8:18 am

    Love the one month cardboard test. I’ve heard it works with clothes on a hanger too. Flip the hanger the other direction if you wear an item. At the end of the year, whatever hasn’t been flipped is a clothing item you haven’t worn so probably a good one to give away. Thanks for the tips!

    1. Parker

      April 18, 2019 at 8:42 am

      Thank you Malu! I do the hanger challenge too. I talked about it more in two posts I wrote last September about how I keep my closet organized, clutter free and earn some money in the process. Thank you for taking the time to comment 😘

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