Normally you look forward to experimenting with seasonal produce, testing those incredible recipes you’ve been collecting, and sharing meals with family and friends, but something is amiss in the kitchen.

The utensil drawer is so full you can barely open it, each time you go to grab a knife it takes you at least three tries to find a sharp one, and you can’t help feeling like you regularly need to clear an assortment of mail, keys and trinkets off the bench before you can even begin to start cooking.

You think you’ve got a slow cooker – somewhere in the cupboard — behind the waffle iron, popcorn maker, juicer… Re-claim your kitchen with our 5 simple tips for clarifying your space.

Remove bulky items from the utensil drawer

How much time do you waste when you cook, sifting through the utensil drawer in search of the spatula/potato masher/garlic crusher? Organising your utensils is time saving in the long run, and a good excuse to update your kitchen with some new homewares.

Bulky items such as wooden spoons, spatulas and ladles can be re-homed in a purpose-designed utensil canister. It will be easier to find what you’re looking for, and there are plenty of attractive canisters on the market.

It won’t be hard to find one that matches both your budget and your kitchen palette. If canisters aren’t your style, a dowel rod installed with hooks can also be a sleek and practical way to store bulky items.

While you’re organising your utensils, get your knives out of that drawer and into a knife block. Knives end up damaged and blunt when you keep them in with the rest, due to chips, bumps and abrasions.

If you don’t have the bench space for a knife block, a magnetic strip for the kitchen wall is another option.

Replace poor quality knives

How many of the knives in your kitchen do you actually use? Save time and space by donating the old ones to charity and investing in new, good quality knives.

Buying a full set all at once can be costly, but most people only actually need a good multi-purpose chefs knife, and a serrated one for breads and fruits.

Check out a comprehensive guide to buying kitchen knives if you need help deciding which knives would make the most useful additions to your collection. If your budget won’t stretch to new knives, bring your old ones back to life by sharpening them.

Ensure you preserve their edges by honing the blades. Learn how to care for your knives, and you’ll never have squashed tomato in your salad again!

Get rid of gadgets you never use

That popcorn maker your sister gave you is bulky and you never use the espresso machine. Declutter your kitchen by giving away the gadgets gathering dust, particularly the ones that don’t actually save time.

This applies to utensils, crockery and pots and pans, too. It can be great having an extensive collection of cake and pie dishes if you’re a regular baker, but if you’re not then those items might not be worth the space.

If you can’t remember the last you used something, it might be time to let it move on to it’s next home.

Simplify access to the things you use regularly

The ultimate time saving tip. Losing frequently used spices and oils in cupboards full of condiments and occasional ingredients is frustrating and slows you down.

Invest in a rack or stand for olive oil, salt, pepper and any other seasonings you use regularly. Not only will it make your life easier, but a well-designed rack is also a quick way to update your kitchen décor.

You can do the same with pots, pans and crockery. Put the items you use only occasionally in a separate storage area of the house, and declutter your kitchen space by saving it for the items you use the most.

Create space

Better utilise your space with a kitchen island – they provide both additional bench space and extra storage. There are many stylish options on the market; kitchen islands allow you to easily update your kitchen without the expense of renovating.

If you don’t have room for a kitchen island, look for any existing underutilised spaces in your kitchen. Simply adding shelves can transform awkward gaps into a wine or spice rack.

While you’re at it, make sure you’re reserving kitchen space for kitchenware! File your mail, designate a bowl or hook for keys, and leave that bench space free for your culinary creations.