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How To Declutter Kitchen Counters

The kitchen has often been called “the heart of the home.” This is because so much life and conversation take place there. Because of the amount of time spent in the kitchen, it is easy for kitchens to get messy. If you want to learn how to declutter kitchen counters and keep them that way, keep reading.

It is important to have a usable kitchen space that does not stress you out. You may think that your kitchen is just too small and that there is no hope in feeling less overwhelmed in this area of your house.

However, owning less, having a workable organization system, and keeping your counters clear can go a long way in making a space feel bigger and more functional. This article will discuss how to declutter kitchen counters to foster a calm, uncluttered kitchen.

How do I start to declutter my kitchen counters?

If the mess on your counters is causing you to feel stressed out and overwhelmed, it is time to take action. Without adding more space to your kitchen, decluttering and organizing can help you better use the available space and avoid having kitchen countertop clutter.

To get started, you need to pick an area to begin with. You do not have to tackle all of your counters at once. Just choose an area and get started decluttering.

You may pick to start with your bar or the kitchen counters by your refrigerator or work off a decluttering checklist. It does not matter where you choose as long as you take action.

Set a timer

I like to set a timer to see how much I can get done in a certain amount of time. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the entire project, it is invigorating to see how much I can throw away, put where it goes, or remove it from my kitchen in just 10 or 15 minutes.

As you go through your kitchen counters, consider what you use every day. These items should be easily accessible and stored in a conducive location to how you use your kitchen.

Likewise, only rarely used items do not need to be kept out on the countertop, where they take up space. Instead, store them out of the way in a pantry or cabinet.

As you notice what you have out, you may find that some things are no longer needed and that you can get rid of them altogether. Your kitchen should be practical and functional based on how you use it.

How to declutter kitchen countertops step by step

Step 1: Notice what is on your countertops

As you get started with tackling your kitchen counters, the first step is to notice what is actually on your countertops. Are your kitchen counters filled with small appliances, piles of paper, decorations, dirty dishes, or random things that do not even belong in the kitchen?

By taking an inventory of what is cluttering your countertops, you can better develop a system for decluttering and organizing your space. For example, you may find that you need a better system for handling paper clutter instead of just dropping papers on the kitchen bar. Or you may notice that some items can be put away out of sight because they are not used that often and are unnecessarily taking up space on the counter.

A proper assessment of what is happening in your kitchen will go a long way in developing a strategy to help your household run smoothly without the kitchen counters being a cluttered mess.

Step 2: Put kitchen items in their rightful place

The next step in cleaning your kitchen and decluttering your kitchen counters is to put kitchen items in their rightful place. A clutter-free kitchen means that your space is tidy with every item in its proper place instead of being thrown haphazardly throughout the kitchen.

You will need to decide whether you plan to keep cooking utensils on the counter or whether they are better stored in a kitchen drawer. If you opt to keep some utensils on the counter, be sure they are organized and kept neatly in a container or basket. Avoid overstuffing the container with utensils where you cannot easily find what you need quickly without pulling out a handful of cooking utensils to find the one that you want.

A knife block is an excellent way to keep your knives all together, but it can also take up too much counter space. Instead, you can opt for magnetic knife storage that utilizes the vertical space or a knife organizer that goes in a cabinet.

Use things like baskets or trays to keep smaller items like spices organized. In addition, you can keep dish soap or rags together in a basket or cabinet.

When it comes to your coffee maker, consider how often you use it. If you make coffee at home daily, it is best kept out on your counter or a shelf. However, if you only make coffee occasionally or when you have guests over, consider storing your coffee supplies off your counter. There is no need to unnecessarily add clutter to your counters by keeping something you rarely use on the kitchen counter.

Small Kitchens

If you have a small kitchen, it is even more critical that you utilize your vertical space. For example, instead of keeping paper towels on the counter, consider using an under the cabinet paper towel holder to free up counter space without sacrificing ease of access to the paper towels.

As you put stray items into their rightful place in the kitchen, consider how often you use the item, whether you have unnecessary duplicates, what types of storage solutions work best for you, and how you use your kitchen.

Step 3: Take items that do not belong in the kitchen to their proper place

As you are cleaning up your kitchen counters, you will likely find items that do not belong in the kitchen. This is an excellent time to take them to their proper place in your house. Just getting rid of items that should not be in your kitchen can make a huge difference.

What are you removing from your kitchen? Shoes? Jackets? Toys?

Take note of what you are removing from the kitchen to develop a system for dealing with such items in the future. Not only will this help you keep your kitchen counters clear, but it will also help your house run more smoothly as you are better able to find what you are looking for around your home.

Step 4: Develop a system for dealing with papers

There is probably a stack of papers sitting on your kitchen counter. Whether they are kids’ school papers, the mail you picked up on your way in, or a drop zone of papers you brought home with you from the office, you need a plan to effectively deal with paper clutter without the hassle of added clutter on your counter.

If you decide first to place important papers in your kitchen, be sure to have a designated space to easily find what you are looking for. Inform your family members of this plan to know what the routine should be. You can place a basket or folder in a designated space to easily find things without paper clutter taking over your counter.

Set up a command center

If you have space in your home, consider establishing a command center. This will help family members know where to keep important items and drop papers or see the schedule. A family command center can also help cut down on clutter in other areas of your house.

When you bring in the mail, quickly separate what you need from junk mail. For example, if you want to declutter your kitchen counters, this is a great place to start. It should be a quick task that will allow you to win quickly in the decluttering process.

Even in our digital world, we still have papers to contend with. A counter clear of unnecessary paper is a struggle. Implementing a system for how you will efficiently deal with them and finding the papers you need are great ideas to help your household run smoother.

Step 5: Declutter your small appliances

Small appliances often take up a large amount of space on your kitchen counter. As you work on decluttering your kitchen counters, evaluating your small devices and where they are kept will make a significant difference in how cluttered your kitchen feels.

To keep your kitchen uncluttered, keep your counters free from most appliances except what you use regularly. Look at each item to determine whether you need it. Then, ask yourself when the last time you used the item was.

If it has been a while, you do not need to keep the item on your counter. Before just shoving the small appliance in a closet or cabinet, ask yourself if you need the item. Realistically, when will you use it?

For example, if you do not enjoy baking, reconsider the baking gadgets, and whether they are worth the space, they take up in your kitchen. A Kitchenaid mixer is one type of kitchen appliance that you may have on the countertops that you rarely use. You may choose to declutter such an item instead of just storing it out of sight.

Unless you use your crockpot every day to cook dinner, it should not be kept on your counter. It is too big and will easily make a space feel cluttered.

Likewise, evaluate your use of a toaster oven. Do you need it? Do you regularly use it? If not, why are you keeping it?

Be sure only to keep things that you regularly use. Otherwise, let it go and declutter it. For example, Decluttered counters will help your kitchen function more efficiently by only keeping what you need and regularly use.

Step 6: Store kitchen items efficiently

Farberware 30-Piece Spin-and-Store Knife and Kitchen Tool Set with Rotating Storage Caddy, Black

You can use trays, baskets, or storage bins to more effectively and efficiently store your kitchen items. Store similar items together for easy access. Keep your olive oil and other cooking oils together. Keep spices stored in an organized manner. You do not have to store your spices on the counter. Consider instead an over-the-door spice rack or one mounted on the wall.

Hanging baskets can store fruit or other items in a space-efficient way. In addition, consider adding shelves or dividers to cabinets and drawers to make the best use of the cabinet space available. You can also add a storage rack to the back of cabinet doors so that you can use that space to hold lids. Practical tips such as these can maximize whatever space you have available in your kitchen.

It may seem counterintuitive, but having a junk drawer can help in the process of decluttering your kitchen counters. A junk drawer gives you one place to look when you need a certain item and allows random items to be placed out of sight yet easily found when needed.

If you have limited counter space

If you are limited on counter space, consider storing your dish drainer in your sink so that it is not cluttering your counters. Another idea is to buy a roll-out drying rack that you can put over your sink when in use and easily roll up when needed. This will keep your kitchen counters free of a drain tray that is only used occasionally, especially if you primarily use a dishwasher to wash your dishes.

Part of storing items efficiently is storing like items together. For example, keep your cutting boards together in the same cabinet for easy access to the cutting board that you need. If you want to declutter your kitchen counters, reconsider whether you store larger items like cutting boards on your counter. They are probably better off out of sight so that your counters appear clutter-free.

Step 7: Reconsider decorative items

Avoid having an overabundance of decorative items in your kitchen. Remember that having clear space is okay! A clutter-free kitchen countertop will allow you to effectively use your space, find what you need, and avoid having a messy, overwhelming kitchen. Ensure that each item kept on your counter is practical and serves a purpose. Minimize decorations in your kitchen and focus instead on just keeping out what you use every day.

Tips and Tools for Decluttering Kitchen Countertops

You can buy so many things to organize your kitchen and declutter your counters. A minimal investment can pay dividends in decluttering your counters and helping your space work more efficiently. Of course, what you need will depend on the size and layout of your kitchen, but here are some ideas that can help you.

Organize with jars, canisters, baskets, etc.

YouCopia Crazy Susan Kitchen Cabinet Turntable and Snack Organizer with Bins

Depending on your available space, you can buy jars, canisters, or baskets to help you organize what you need to store. So instead of having random items strewn across your counter, you can instead have them stored in a clutter-free manner that will help you easily find what you need while cooking.

Consider using airtight storage containers instead of keeping all of your food items in boxes or packages. These clear containers will allow you to easily find what you need without sacrificing the quality of the food. They are also easily stackable, allowing you to utilize more vertical space.

Adding a turntable container will allow you to use all of the space and find what you are looking for more easily. These can be used for snacks, teas, coffee pods, and more.

You likely have an assortment of items on your counter to clean your dishes or kitchen. This storage caddy will allow you to keep your dish soap, sponges, brushes, and hand soap all in one compact place.

Kitchen Sink Caddy Sponge Holder: Rust Proof Kitchen Sink Organizer for Dish Rag Soap Brush - Sponge Holder with Drain Tray for Counter

Create a coffee station

If you regularly make coffee at home, you can benefit from having a coffee station. Whether this is on your kitchen counter or a different cart or shelf, the idea is that all of your coffee supplies and the coffee machine are kept in the same place.

This keeps you from having to stumble all over your kitchen to find what you need to make your morning cup of joe. Storage solutions like a coffee station also help keep the items contained and less cluttered on your counters.

Wooden Coffee Bar Bin Box, Coffee Bar Sign Organizer, Coffee Pod Holder Storage Basket, Coffee Station Holder, Coffee Accessories for Counter, Farmhouse Kitchen Decor, Coffee Lover, White

Establish a beverage station

If you have water bottles all over your kitchen counters, you should establish one location to keep them. A storage rack like this one can help your kids keep their beverage bottles and cups in one specific place without taking up too much counter space.

mDesign Modern Plastic Stackable Water Bottle Holder Stand Bin - Storage Organizer for Kitchen Countertop Organization, Pantry, Fridge, Freezer - Each Rack Holds 3 Containers, 2 Pack - Clear

Use hooks, floating shelves, or a pegboard

SHBaizoy 2pcs Under Cabinet Hooks, 360 °Rotation Kitchen Hooks for Utensils,Nail Free Adhesive Kitchen Utensils Hanging Hooks for Kitchen Utensils/Tools/Towel/Knife(Black)

To get items off your counters, consider using hooks, floating shelves, or a pegboard to make the best use of the available vertical space. Hooks can be used for cooking utensils, coffee mugs, and more. You can even get hooks that go under your cabinet and rotate for even more storage off the counter.

Floating shelves are a great addition to the side of kitchen cabinets. This is a practical way to add storage utilizing the existing space. Some floating shelves even combine a shelf with hooks underneath, allowing you to store even more. Just consider the weight of the items you are trying to store so that you do not overload the shelf.

If you have a larger section of wall in your kitchen or pantry, adding a pegboard can enhance the amount of storage you have available. Instead of keeping things on your countertops, you can store them in baskets or trays on the pegboard.

Greenstell Floating Shelves Wall Mounted Set of 2, Wall Shelves with 2 Towel Holders & 12 Hooks, Multifunctional Storage Shelf Rustic Wood Decoration Shelves for Bathroom, Living Room (Black 23.6in)

Store items vertically

As you are decluttering your kitchen counters, you will likely be putting more things in cabinets. To best utilize the space, store items vertically. This will help you more quickly find what you are looking for.

You can buy an adjustable rack like this one to store baking pans, cutting boards, and platters in your cabinets out of sight.

YouCopia Bakeware Storemore Adjustable Rack, Standard, White

If you have a small kitchen, you know that space is at a premium. An over-the-sink dish rack will allow you to dry your dishes, as well as store them without taking up a significant amount of space. This rack also has a fruit basket, storage hooks, a small caddy, a place for your cutting board, as well as a knife holder, and a silverware caddy. In terms of functionality, it packs a punch and is one of the more versatile storage solutions available.

If counter space is an issue, adding a baker’s rack can help you get more functionality out of your kitchen. In addition, many baker’s racks have multiple levels of shelving, allowing for even more storage by utilizing the vertical space.

Use over-the-door storage options.

SimpleHouseware Over the Cabinet Door Organizer Holder, Silver

To make the most use of the space you have, add over the door storage like this. This will allow you to keep items off your counter and efficiently organized in your cabinet while making the most of the space you have available.

Decluttering Kitchen Counters FAQ

How do you organize and declutter kitchen countertops?

Only keep what you regularly use on your kitchen countertops. Have a designated home for lesser-used items organized and stored with similar items for easy access when needed.

How do you remove clutter from a countertop?

Pick a spot in your kitchen to get started with, set a timer, and get started. As you work your way down the counter, remove anything that does not belong in the kitchen, toss any trash you find, and assess what actually should be kept out on the counters. Less is more. The less stuff you have on your countertops, the less cluttered and overwhelming your kitchen space will feel (regardless of the size of your kitchen!).

How do I make my kitchen counter clutter-free?

Getting rid of decorations, only keeping out what you need, and decluttering the kitchen items you have will help you keep our counters clutter-free. Ultimately, clutter-free kitchen counters can help make a space feel bigger and less chaotic. Good luck, and always feel free to refer back to these steps if you need a refresher on how to declutter kitchen counters.

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