It's spring cleaning season—time to lose the non-essential items that are cluttering your counter.

By Real Simple
Updated March 31, 2015
Dishes“Mismatched pieces wreak havoc. Unless you won the lotto while drinking from that old mug, don’t let sentimentality make you keep it. Any sort of ‘off’ dishware causes visual chaos, and every time you open the cupboard, something in the back of your brain is saying, ‘My life is a mess.’ There’s calm and comfort in an organized set.” Hierarchy (orlowerarchy): The bottom shelf should hold everyday items. (If you have kids, they’ll be able to reach and help set the table.) Stash infrequently used serving pieces, like pitchers and large bowls, on high shelves.Shelves within shelves: Use metal risers to separate plates from bowls so you don’t have to lift a stack to get to items underneath. Chrome dinner plate shelf, $10, cups: A row of cups looks cozy—as if you’re living in your own little bed-and-breakfast—and allows for storage below. Crown Bolt three-pound brass-plated cup hooks, $5 for 25, Appliances“Be honest with yourself about the items you really need to leave out and those that are more about wishful cooking.”Coffeemaker, toaster, microwave: These can stay on the counter, but consider mounting the microwave under a cabinet to free up work space.Stand mixer: Put it away in a low cupboard unless you use it more than once a month.Blender, hand mixer: Outfit a deep cabinet with a pullout metal shelf. It will allow you to keep bulky items like these in back but still get to them easily. Lynk roll-out stainless-steel cabinet drawer, $60,
Jonny Valiant

It's that time of year again—and while you might groan when you think of "spring cleaning," it's a necessary evil that comes with the changing seasons. When you look at your kitchen, how many items are still in the original box (think: wedding presents)? In the newest episode of "Things Cooks Know," Real Simple executive editor Sarah Humphreys asks food editor Sarah Karnasiewicz which items she should ditch when assessing kitchen clutter. Here are a few surprising items you don't need anymore:

1. Your toaster: Yes, your toaster. It takes up space and it's entirely possible to make toast in a pan.

2. Multiple knives: While you might love your knife block, and all of the fancy knives, you only need three: a quality medium-sized chef's knife, a paring knife, and a serrated bread knife (which you can use to slice more than just bread).

3. Mixing bowls: That set of 15 nested bowls isn't doing much—especially the teeny-tiny one that's 5-inches wide. Instead, Karnasiewicz suggests investing in one large mixing bowl that will handle all of your cooking and baking needs.

For more ways to de-clutter your kitchen, sneaky items that are incredible multitaskers, and the items both Humphreys and Karnasiewicz couldn't live without, listen to the full episode below, and be sure to subscribe on iTunes.