Tame the kitchen clutter once and for all. 

By Katie Holdefehr
Updated March 19, 2019
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If the kitchen is the heart of your home, then it's likely also one of the most cluttered rooms in your house. It's no wonder the mail piles up here, the condiment collection leaves no room for meal prep, and your kids' sprawling homework monopolizes the breakfast nook. If you want to reclaim your kitchen as a tidy spot to cook, meal prep, and eat, these kitchen counter organization ideas will help corral all of the clutter that inevitably takes over this space. By investing in organizers that contain the mess and setting up a system that keeps non-essentials out of the way, your kitchen countertops will not only look exceptionally organized, but you'll be able to keep them that way for longer. Here are five steps you can take right now for a neater kitchen.

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1 Use Trays and Turntables

When you have lots of small items floating on the kitchen counter—condiment jars, olive oil cruets, bud vases—it can easily look cluttered. To visually contain the mess and prevent it from spilling out onto your work space, buy a tray with a shallow lip to hold it all. Choose a tray that matches your home decor style, whether it's a metal tray in a modern kitchen or a bamboo tray in a boho kitchen. 

Let a turntable hold spices you use often, plus a canister of tools you reach for all the time. Opt for a stylish lazy Susan, like this bamboo option, so it doubles as decor when left out on the kitchen counter. 

Kitchen Counter Organization Tray
Credit: Container Store

2 Have a Quick-Clean Plan

If you use your kitchen for more than just meal prep and eating, it's important to have a plan in place for those times when the homework needs to be cleared quickly because it's time for dinner. Invest in a shallow basket with handles ($8 each, containerstore.com) that can hold books, homework, colored pencils, and the rest. When you want to clear the counter or kitchen table quickly for a meal or when a guest stops by, load up the basket and transport it out of the room. Viola, your kitchen counter is cleared in under a minute. 

Kitchen Counter Organization, Rolling Appliance Cart
Credit: Wayfair

3 Curate Your Appliance Collection

Do you really use that rice cooker, electric kettle, or popcorn maker on your kitchen counter? Think carefully about which items you actually use, and how often. And be honest with yourself—if you wish you were the type of person who drank juices but you haven't touched your juicer in years, it's time to get rid of it. 

Even once you've curated your appliance collection, only award a coveted spot on the kitchen counter to those you use on a daily or near-daily basis. There's a good reason appliance garage cabinets are making a big comeback—they store small appliances out-of-sight yet within reach. If you don't have an appliance garage or a kitchen remodel planned anytime soon, a dedicated cabinet will do the trick.

Short on cabinet space but can't part with your appliances? Invest in a rolling cart ($91, wayfair.com) that can store your microwave, hand mixer, and more. An added bonus: instead of lugging a heavy appliance from a high cabinet, simply roll it over to an outlet to plug it in. 

Kitchen Counter Organization Letter Tray in Mint
Credit: Container Store

4 Create Catchalls for the Paper Pile

Check out the non-food items that collect on your kitchen counter. If you have a lot of mail and papers, invest in a set of stackable letter trays ($15 each, containerstore.com) that can help sort bills, magazines, and kids' papers. If you tend to collect receipts and coupons, opt for a lidded box ($13, containerstore.com) that can hide it all, yet keep your counter looking neat and tidy. 

Kitchen Counter Organization, Rose Gold Wall Hooks
Credit: Anthropologie

5 Make Your Walls Work Harder

If your goal it to make your kitchen counter as organized and clutter-free as possible, you're going to need to make your walls, kitchen cabinets, and shelves work harder. Order a wall-mounted hook rack ($98, anthropologie.com) that can hold everything from pots and pan to oven mitts and dishtowels. 

And if you're still letting a knife block take up precious counter space, opt for a wall-mounted magnetic knife rack instead (from $41, woodallgood.etsy.com).