Declutter Kitchen Towels & Dish Cloths {15 Minute Mission}

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Today's decluttering mission is to declutter your kitchen towels and dish cloths, and also decorative tea towels, and even kitchen rags.


Kitchen Organization Challenge
We're doing this mission while working through the Kitchen Organization Challenge here on the site.

This mission probably won't take you too much time, but do actually do it. I can't tell you how many people have said to me, as they've done this mission, that they were surprised by the sheer number of these cloths they actually had in their kitchens, and they didn't realize it.

You know you'll need to do this mission if the drawer, cabinet, or other area where you store these items is hard to close, overflowing, or so junked up you can't find what you're looking for.

For example, one reader, Reba said: "I will admit, when I started, I thought, 'I have a handle on this mission, there won't be much to get rid of.' But I was wrong. I have some new-found cabinet space. Woohoo!" Here's the photo she submitted of the items she decided to get rid of.

Decluttered kitchen towels and dish cloths to create lots more space in your kitchen {featured on Home Storage Solutions 101}


How Many Kitchen & Dish Cloths Should You Keep?

This is a common question I've received when we do this mission, but it is also quite subjective and something hard to make a rigid rule about.

The best advice I can give is to make sure you keep a good enough supply of both kitchen towels, as well as dish cloths and kitchen rags to have enough to use between launderings, and I suggest washing these types of items after each use (or at the end of a day of use at the least).

That might mean you need enough kitchen towels for about a week max, if you do laundry that infrequently.

Of course, you also need to only keep enough to fit into the space you've got for them, which might mean you'll need to change your routine some and wash cloths a bit more frequently than you have in the past.

Tell me in the comments below how many you've kept and why, which can help others with guidance when choosing a good amount for themselves as well.

Which Ones Should You Declutter?

First get rid of the stained, ripped, frayed and worn out cloths and rags that you always try to avoid using anyway.

That's the obvious ones to declutter, and then just keep decluttering until you have the amount you need and that will into the space you've got available to store them.

Don't Forget To Deal With Seasonal & Holiday Tea Towels & Kitchen Cloths

I know a lot of people love to have seasonal cloths for their kitchen, and that is perfectly fine. My personal suggestion though is to not keep those in your kitchen taking up space year round.

Instead, keep those cloths with that season's decorations and take them out when the season begins, and then return them back to this storage area when the season is over. That way you don't forget to use them when they're appropriate but the rest of the year they're not taking up valuable space in your drawers or cabinets.

What Should You Do With The Cloths You Declutter?

Another frequent question I receive during this mission is what to do with the cloths you declutter.

There are most certainly a lot more ideas than what I'm suggesting below, so be sure to give your additional ideas below in the comments.

If they are nice, you just have too many, donation to a charity that helps families who need general household items is a great idea.

In addition, those which are extremely worn or stained may move from being nicer kitchen towels to cleaning rags within your home, so you are moving them to a grimier purpose in your own home.

Remember again, tell me your ideas below!

So, without further ado here are photos sent in by readers who've already done this mission. These photos also give you several ideas for how and where to store your dish cloths and kitchen towels in your kitchen in case you need or want to move them from their current space.

Top image courtesy of starshaped

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Before & After Of Decluttered & Organized Kitchen Towels

by Kelly

Kelly sent in this before and after photo, and said, "I realize that I have a LOT of kitchen towels. They were spilling over from their drawer into a cluttered cabinet.

I purged some, put seasonal towels into storage, and rolled the rest to try to fit more into the drawer."

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I Had A Lot More Dish Cloths & Towels Than I Realized!

by Laurie

Laurie stores her cloths in her cabinet right by the sink, and she sent in this photo, saying, "I had waaayyyy more than I thought! The cabinet is deep, so I actually bought more thinking I didn't have enough! Now, I only have ones in there that I am not embarrassed by : )"

Great job Laurie! Looks great now!

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Got Down To One Drawer From Two!

Dana also decluttered and she showed this after photo, above, saying, "Ok, so I had two drawers full of this stuff and things I didn't even remember I had! I had 5 oven mitts. For gosh sakes I only have two hands! Unless I was fitting an octopus to do my baking, I pitched all but two! Lol. Went from two drawers to one!"

Great job Dana! Make sure to also check out the declutter potholders and oven mitts mission for even more ideas and inspiration for getting rid of these types of items, which are often stored in the same place as your kitchen and dish towels.

In addition, if you want to separate out various types of towels from one another inside your drawer you can keep some in a small shallow basket, similar to how a reader, Chelena, did it below. She said, "Here is my drawer. That's a Tupperware ice cube tray!"

Separate certain kitchen towels from others, such as dish towels from hand towels, inside a kitchen drawer by using a shallow basket or storage container {featured on Home Storage Solutions 101}use this Pin it button to save to Pinterest

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Unpaper Towels & Homemade Cleaning Wipes Drawer Organized

by Susan

Today's mission includes whatever kinds of cloths you've got in your kitchen for wiping up spills, cleaning dishes, or whatever use you have for them.

The photo above is from a reader, Susan, who explained, "We ditched paper towels this year, so this is my drawer of unpaper towels for scrubbing counters and messes and extra homemade baby wipes that I reallocated for cleaning baby hands after meal times.

Same size drawer as my other towel drawer, and when all are clean, the drawer is completely full. The tube there is extra (clean) produce bags. My mom saved them when I was a kid, and they always seen to come in handy."

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Storage Idea: Hold Your Dish Cloths & Kitchen Towels In Basket Or Decorative Container

As you've seen these photos from readers showing how they did this mission you've simultaneously seen the two most common ways to store kitchen towels and dish cloths, either on shelves in your kitchen cabinet or cupboard, or in a kitchen drawer.

But there are other alternatives as well, and if you don't have a lot of storage space in your drawers or cabinets, this one might work for you -- use baskets or a decorative container to hold them.

That's exactly what a couple of readers have done. The picture above is from a reader, Sabrina, who as part of this mission moved her baskets to a new spot.

In addition, the picture below is from another reader, Tamara. She said, "Dish towels 7; Rags 5; all gifts which fit beautifully in the space I budgeted for them. I think they look kinda like a bouquet."

Keep your kitchen towels and dish cloths in a decorative container for convenience and decoration {featured on Home Storage Solutions 101}use this Pin it button to save to Pinterest


How cute, right? This idea may or may not work for you, depending on how much stuff you want to keep on your kitchen counters, but it is at least one to consider!

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Are You Ready To Declutter & Organize Your Kitchen Towels Now?

I hope these instructions and photos have inspired you to do this mission now. It won't take too long, but it can make a positive impact in your kitchen.

(And thanks to a reader, Melissa, for the photo above!)

Are You Ready To Declutter Your Home?

declutter 365
Are you fired up to declutter now?

When you begin to declutter the feeling you get is contagious, so if you're loving the results you're getting I would encourage you to keep going.

I've got a whole series of 15 minute decluttering missions (eventually 365 of them!) that you can do.

Just pick and choose the ones you want to do, that will make a big impact in your home. But if you want someone else to tell you the order you can also grab the 15 minute daily decluttering mission calendars and follow along as we all get our homes clutter free together!

How to declutter and organize kitchen towels and dish cloths, with lots of pictures from real people who've done this #Declutter365 mission {on Home Storage Solutions 101}use this Pin it button to save to Pinterest

Related Pages You May Enjoy

Getting Clutter Free 15 Minutes At A Time Hall Of Fame

Getting Rid Of Kitchen Clutter Hall Of Fame

How To Declutter Bath Towels & Wash Cloths

Go From Declutter Kitchen Towels & Dish Cloths To Home Page

Comments for Are You Ready To Declutter & Organize Your Kitchen Towels Now?

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Repurposing dish towels
by: D

If you are a sewer/quilter, make pot holders from your extra dish towels. Cut towels to preferred size, sandwich around quilt batting and trim with matching or contrasting seam binding, leaving a loop for hanging. An inexpensive way to co-ordinate your kitchen.

Idea for where to donate
by: Anonymous

Another place that can use old clean towels of any size are animal shelters, clinics, and rescue centers. Most rely on donations.

idea!!!
by: Olivera

It's the beginning of January, so you can try this: cut kitchen towels, kitchen clothes and rugs in small pieces and keep it in one bag. Once we come to challenges related to declutter clothes you will add a lot to this bag. At the end of the year you will have enough material to fill up your new decorative pillows or a lazy bag for kid's room.

Dish cloths?
by: Anonymous

I don't use dish cloths. I have a sponge and a spare.

Uses for old towels
by: Anonymous

All my old towels and tee shirts are cut into useable size rags and put in a bag on a hook near the tool storage to be used for shop & paint rags, terry towels are used in pet carriers or boxes for comfort when caring for sick pets or livestock orphans.

Love this idea!
by: angiem65

I love the idea of storing produce bags in a paper towel tube! I just cleaned out my supply of produce bags and get so tired of them ending up all over the cupboard. In the past I have tried the trick of storing all bags inside one but usually this gets to be a big ball that is complicating my space. Thanks for the wonderful idea.

folding cloths and towels to fit the drawer
by: Anonymous

I also fold my cloths and towels to fit the drawer. That means some get folded in thirds, and some in fourths, etc.

Thanks for the idea
by: Sheree

I like the tube of plastic bags in the drawer. Clever.

Recycle
by: itsrenee

Hi .. .another suggestion to avoid putting unwanted towels in the garbage. Some areas now accept unusable cloth items. Ie: bigger thrift stores, some clothing recycle/donation bins. They keep the unwanted cloth items (also includes old shirts, underwear etc) out of our landfills. These places will take unwanted cloth and have them broken down and woven into shop rags (for example).

how I decided how many dish towels to keep
by: Tina

I keep 15 dish towels on hand. I too was worried about how many to keep so I started with keeping one and added each one has needed. I did this for 2 weeks and NO washing just to see how many towels I really need and 15 is the number so the rest went! Now, of course if I washed I would of needed less but I decided to do the "no washing" thing in case I could not wash for whatever reason.

I thought I was organized, but I'm finding things to declutter
by: Vi

I have always been proud of how well my kitchen was organized. Many friends have commented on that. However, going through my kitchen with the express purpose of de-cluttering has prompted two trips to good will, so far. I am donating the things I haven't used in a year (in many cases a number of years).

I am 68. I am very active, work full time, (health professional). As I go through an area and find things like the bread maker, for instance, I say, oh yeah! I remember that stage! I make my bread by hand now, much better texture. The bread machine is now at good will.

I am one of those people who change kitchen towels and table cloths each month. I have a bankers box (Staples), for each month that holds towels, table cloths and small knicknacks of the season. They are all stored on shelves in the laundry room. I am on my IPad mini, my computer died, so I can't upload pictures.

Lots of dishcloths and use all of them
by: Anonymous

Yes, I have a lot of dishcloths, but I only wash them in bleach. Since there are just two of us, I wash dishcloths about every three weeks. I change dishcloths every day, sometimes twice a day, depending upon how many times I need to use it. My Christmas and Thanksgiving towels are packed with that season's decorations. My dishcloths are well organized.

got this one done after Christmas
by: Janet

I actually did this after Christmas when I was putting away the Christmas towels. I always seem to miss one when I'm putting them away so I started digging around in the too full drawer and thought this needs to be cleaned out. Much nicer now. No grubby towels and the drawer closes easily. I'm going to pick up a few new ones when I see something I like.

what to do with old dish towels and wash rags
by: Kristina

I take the old and ugly dishtowels and the wash rags and re-utilize them for an icky job. We have a large storage bin that we keep all the old and uglies in, in the garage and it's labeled. We use these "rags" for anything from paint cleanup and dirty dog feet, to checking the oil in the car or adding gas to the mower. It's very handy and I don't feel bad about tossing the used uglies in the trash after they've had a second use. I also do this with old t-shirts, worn out wash cloths and socks. I cut the shirts into different sized pieces since you have different sized jobs. They work fabulously for waxing or polishing furniture! No mess to cleanup and you don't have to worry about this stuff in your washer or dryer. Hope that helps somebody.

Awesome way to store those towels!
by: Anonymous

I love it! That saves a lot of space and you can still see the designs and patterns of the towels! Thanks for sharing!

deep cabinets - how to get rid of the "dead space"
by: Carolee

When we moved into our new home (we downsized), I found the linen closet shelves in the bathroom were very deep and I was "losing stuff" that was getting pushed to the back. When I finally realized this one day while looking for something, I went through all of the items that had gotten pushed to the back and those things I hadn't even missed, I donated. Then I put large, empty shoe boxes in the very far back of the shelves and thus eliminated the "dead space" where items were "disappearing" into. Problem solved.

how I got rid of my paper towel additction
by: Anonymous

I finally got away from the paper towel addiction when I lost my job. Instead I got a 24 pack of Utopia towels on Ebay, got a large glass canister from Walmart that I put where the towels used to be. I roll up the towels and pop them into the covered glass container. I use them where I almost always used paper, except when cleaning up red wine, red anything, poultry and milk. It's great. You can cut up your old towels and do the same thing. Just don't buy the big bag of paper towels at a big box store to avoid temptation.

Discarded Kitchen Linens
by: Beth

First, I recommend deodorizing the cloths to remove any smells. Kitchen linens may have odors that are difficult to release. Ammonia is my favorite go-to for odor removal. Use only clear ammonia (never "sudsy" ammonia); reduce detergent by 50% using 1 cup of clear ammonia. (Hint: this will remove the stubborn odors that remain from smoking; even cigars). I use it frequently.

I definitely donate any items that are usable, but save the torn, discolored or badly used items for a friend who uses them for padding in the heavy-duty potholders that she sews for her church bazaars.The outsides are quite lovely and "hide" the worn and frayed cloth inside. As a precaution she has custom-made tags that she sews in a prominent spot on each item, declaring "Caution: NOT fire-retardant."

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