We have a running joke in the Intentional Living Through Organization and Mindset Facebook Group that kitchen counters are just horizontal stuff magnets. Things get piled up waiting to be used, put away, or dealt with. It can’t be helped! If there’s an open spot on the countertop, something is bound to end up there, unless you have a strategy for dealing with it.
Let’s dive into six quick ways to deal with countertop clutter.
Zones help to define the types of activities that will take place within a given area. In the kitchen, the cooking zone is near the stove and the cleaning zone is near the sink, etc. But the areas in the middle of the countertops are often free-for-alls. Without clear boundaries or direction, things become messy. Organize your kitchen into zones and keep the items you need for that zone close at hand. For example, if you like to do meal prepping on your kitchen island, keep your meal prep containers in a drawer or cabinet on the island. This way you don’t have to make several trips back and forth to retrieve things you frequently use. Not only does this make it easier to access your supplies and use them, but it also makes it easier to put them away. Things have to be easy to put away, or else they won’t get put away!
Something as simple as a tray can make a world of difference to your kitchen counter. The tray provides a home for small to medium-sized items that would otherwise be scattered across your counter. With this defined space your counter looks cleaner and less cluttered. Things come off of the tray when in use and return to the tray when the task is done. It’s easy to move the tray to clean the counter and it acts as a coaster to catch drips from bottles. Win-win.
I’m just gonna come right out and say it, most of the mail that comes to your house is junk. Every day there are useless credit card offers, advertisements you don’t need, and various other things you won’t use. But it never fails that all this paper clutter ends up in an “I’ll deal with this later” pile. PSA: later is now. Set up a mail center with a paper shredder nearby so that you can deal with mail in-the-moment. Shred the junk mail and use your mail center to keep track of important bills and letters that require follow-up. Once you pay the bill or reply to the letter, file it right away or shred it if it does not need to be archived.
Bulky appliances are huge counter space hogs. Take a look at the appliances you have on your counter. Do you use them enough for them to deserve a spot in your prime real estate? If not, move them to an alternate storage location and simply bring them out when you need them. For items that are too heavy to move back and forth (I’m looking at you, Kitchen-Aid Mixer) consider if the benefit of having them on the counter outweighs the fact that they’re taking up too much space and you don’t use them frequently enough for them to remain there. Make the decision whether these items should stay, even if purely for aesthetics, or if they should go to a new owner who will continue to use them.
Remember the zones I mentioned earlier? When setting up your zones, don’t feel like you need to maintain the status quo. Make your storage and zones work for you. Have you been conditioned to keep the glasses and dishes in the upper cabinets and pots and pans down below? It doesn’t have to stay that way! Change it up so that the things you need in your zone are right there, close at hand. This is one of the quickest and easiest ways that I free up much-needed space in my clients’ kitchens.
This option should only be used if you are able to go through the basket at least every day, if not several times per day. Having a catch-all basket can be a quick clutter zapper by providing a central location for things that end up on the counter but should be moved somewhere else. The basket temporarily tames the chaos and makes the counters look cleaner. But be warned, the basket can very easily become its own dumping ground, overflow, and look really messy in a short amount of time. It must be dealt with regularly for it to be helpful.
Which one of these tips do you like the best? Did you have any aha moments? Come join us in the group and let me know! We are always having fun sharing ideas and celebrating successes.
Need help or have questions about your own kitchen? Schedule a free kitchen audit and let’s get some forward momentum going for you!
What part of the kitchen should you work on next? Check it out here.