8 Tips for Keeping Clutter off Your Kitchen Countertops

Follow these simple ground rules for tidier—and easier to clean—countertops.

Our kitchen counters can end up getting used for a number of different tasks and items. Aside from food preparation, they can also become a destination for junk mail, excess decorations, barely used appliances, and even homework sessions. All this extra activity can lead to clutter, and make time spent in the kitchen less enjoyable. So, follow our tips below to streamline the heart of your home and enjoy faster meal prep and easier cleanup.

Keep Your Cooking Routine in Mind

Home cooks approach meal prep in many different ways. Give countertop space to any tool
you use at least once a week. Everything else can go in less-accessible spots.

Consider Which Appliances You've Used Recently

In order for a toaster, blender, or coffee maker to merit a spot on your counter, you need to use it daily. That fancy stand mixer or food processor is almost certainly and unnecessarily taking up valuable kitchen real estate.

Pare Down Your Tools

Gather all hand tools and sort by type. Do you truly need two (or more) spatulas? Many cooks efficiently work with one favorite version of each tool. To begin the purge, toss tools that are broken, hard plastic, or all-metal (which conduct heat and can burn you). Keep only cutting tools that are sharp or can be sharpened.

Streamline work surfaces byplacing as many tools as possiblein divided drawers. Apply asimilar clutter-cutting approachto spices, oils, and vinegars thatoften accumulate on countertops.

Clear Your Landing Zones

Stand in front of your range, sink, and refrigerator. You should have at least one clear spot available at all times for a pan to cool, dishes awaiting washing, or a grocery sack to be unpacked. Edit these areas thoroughly. Shift utensils and spices into drawers and cabinets. Replace a traditional countertop dish drainer with an in-sink version or a drying mat.

Find Alternative Methods for Memos

Stop using your kitchen countertops as your family message center. Make a sign declaring the countertops a no-drop zone and focus on adding vertical organizers—a memo board, wall pockets, wall-mounted clips for each family member—as ways to share papers and reminders for one another.

Install a Handy Shelf

“A slim floating shelf allows you to get little things up and off the counter," professional organizer Jamie Novak says. "A foldaway version is a nice option because when it’s not in use, you can fold it up against the wall or backsplash.”

Hang Your Utensils

“Wall-mounted magnetic strips, which are available in several widths, are a smart way to keep knives and other frequently used utensils out of your drawers or bulky countertop holders," professional organizer Kate Martin says.

Make Your Countertops Easy to Clean

You should be able to wipe down or dust your kitchen countertops quickly. Keep editing until you can complete the task in one minute or less.

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