15 Ways to Keep Kitchen Counters Clutter-Free

Marissa Hermanson
Updated September 30, 2021
clutter free kitchen
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These easy tips will keep your kitchen counters organized and clean

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The kitchen is the hub of the home, and for some of us, it’s where we do more than make meals. It’s also where our kids do homework or where we enjoy a glass of wine and catch up with a friend. All of these extra activities can cause clutter to accumulate. And, in many newer open-concept homes, the kitchen is also connected to other spaces like the family and dining rooms, so the overflow of stuff is more apt to happen. Clutter can quickly accumulate in the kitchen, and counter space is precious. Read ahead for tips on keeping your kitchen surfaces tidy.

Evaluate What You Have

Clutter adds stress, and by organizing your kitchen, an orderly, well-kept space will leave you feeling at peace. The first order of business is clearing off everything from the counters. Ask yourself what you need access to daily. It might just be a fruit bowl, coffee pot, and canister of cooking utensils. All the other stuff can then be tucked away, out of sight.

kitchenware stored in drawers
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Be Thoughtful With Storage Options

When thinking about storage, proceed with caution. You don’t want to get carried away adding bins, baskets, shelves, and hooks galore, as that will only add visual clutter. Fancy storage contraptions may remove items from the counter, but if they are still in your field of vision—hanging on the wall, the ceiling, and the cabinets—that clutter will just contribute to an overall feeling of chaos in the kitchen. So, when thinking about your kitchen storage options, consider tucking most items away, out of sight.

  • Display only the necessary: If you choose to display items, be intentional. Instead of a knife block, install a magnetic knife strip on the wall to free up counter space. Or, mount a paper towel holder under your cabinets. Don’t go overboard with hanging too much on the wall, though, to avoid visual clutter.

  • Create designated areas: This ensures easy access and cleanup so you can effortlessly navigate your kitchen and find what you need. Tuck away a bin of neatly folded dish towels. Alphabetize your spices so you can quickly grab them when cooking.

  • Expand shelving: If you don’t have enough counter space, think vertically. Install a floating shelf system that will give you more surface area.

  • Add an island: If you’re short on surface area, a kitchen island or cart is a great option to add extra counter space. With open shelving, drawers, and cabinets, it’ll also give you extra storage options to boot.

  • Embrace the junk drawer: A junk drawer in your kitchen can help store all the random and miscellaneous items—think batteries, tools, rubber bands, scissors, hair ties,  and other odds and ends—that you need to tuck away and keep out of sight temporarily. 

  • Corral papers: It’s easy enough to tack takeout menus up on a bulletin board or put coupons on the refrigerator, but remember our old friend, visual clutter? Let’s say goodbye to it. Tame your paperwork pile by creating a special area for appliance direction booklets, recipes torn from magazines, and menus to keep loose papers from floating around and eventually getting soiled and thrown away.

  • Store small appliances: We live in an air fryer and hot pot world, where small, specialized appliances are all the rage. Don’t let the small appliances you don’t use daily—the blenders, toasters, and crockpots—sit out on the counter and accumulate dust. To install a microwave, you can create a built-in shelf or retrofit a cabinet to create more counter space for food prep. This is also a good time to upgrade appliances. If you can’t stand the look of your $15 cheapo coffee pot, buy something deluxe that you’ll enjoy looking at and using every day.

Decorate With Minimalism in Mind

Creating beautiful vignettes within the kitchen can add a homey, warm atmosphere. You want your kitchen to be a place where you feel good, so adding decor is the finishing touch that can really make the space sing. But there are ways to do it without taking up cherished counter space.

The kitchen isn’t a place to go to tchotchke town. Add a few potted herbs in the windows; hang curtains on the windows; display handmade pottery on a shelf; hang a favorite print on the wall. But save all the other froufrou for other spaces in your home.

woman putting dishes away in cabinets
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Improve Upon Your Cleaning Habits

The kitchen can be a germy place, and it’s important to keep surfaces clean for meal prep, so you can easily sanitize and kill bacteria and viruses. Here are a few kitchen cleaning pro tips to keep countertops clean and clutter-free.

  • Don’t let things pile up: Put pots, pans, dishes, and other items away ASAP. 

  • Sanitize daily: Wipe down counters after making messes and cooking. And be sure to use a disinfectant regularly.

  • Prep for the next day: Clean the kitchen and get things organized the night before. Wipe down the counters. Program the coffee machine. Waking up to a clean space will allow you to start your day on the right foot and give you the initiative to keep it clean. 

  • Purge unnecessary items: At least once or twice a year, assess what you have in your kitchen. If you haven’t used it in over a year, it’s probably time to say goodbye. Or if you can’t let go of it, store it away in the attic or basement until you know you’ll need it. Right now, it’s just taking up much-needed real estate in the kitchen. 

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