Organizing kitchen counters helps make them more useful. With less clutter on your countertops, they’re also easier to clean.
The steps below will help you decide what’s worth keeping on your counters and what to put away. (If you’re leaving things out because you’re short on storage, be sure to read how to organize kitchen cupboards first.)
Although you can jump right into organizing your kitchen counters, this post is part of a 30-day home organization program. You can find all of the missions in the series overview. No signup required!
Every day’s mission has four parts to it:
Keep It Clean
Ready? Let’s R-O-C-K those kitchen counters!
How to Organize Kitchen Counters
Remove Clutter from Your Kitchen Counters
Removing clutter and organizing kitchen cupboards in yesterday’s mission freed up space, so now you should have more room to put away things. Today, after organizing kitchen counters, we’ll finish by cleaning the kitchen, too.
Throw Away These Things:
- Empty food wrappers
- Old newspapers and store flyers
- Expired coupons
- Takeout menus (they’re online now)
- Dry goods boxes (transfer the food to air-tight storage to avoid pantry moths)
- Anything that’s broken
“Re-home” these things by donating them:
Throughout this series, we’re making a lot of decisions about things to keep and things to let go. If you find yourself reluctant to part with an item that you don’t use but feel guilty about getting rid of, think of it as “re-homing” the thing.
Yes, you may have paid good money for it or received it as a gift, but that doesn’t mean you need to let it continue taking up space in your house. Re-homing it by donating it to a thrift store or charity allows someone else to enjoy it, so it’s not wasteful after all.
- Decor you no longer like that’s still in good shape.
- Appliances or gadgets that are more trouble than useful.
Thingsso difficult to clean that you avoid using them.
- The “someday stuff” you keep thinking you’ll use one day but never have.
Re-evaluate What’s Left:
Take a look now at what’s still sitting on your kitchen counters. Collect the items that belong in another room and set them aside for now. Is everything remaining on your counter something you use at least once a week?
Countertop space is a premium in most homes, so what you choose to keep on it should be things that you frequently need. If you were diligent when organizing kitchen cupboards yesterday, you should have ample space for the seldom-used stuff still sitting on your counters.
Still on the fence? Remember that anything sitting out will also need frequent cleaning. After all, kitchens are greasy, busy places, so the things on our counters collect a lot of grime. The less stuff you leave out, the fewer things you have to clean weekly!
Organizing Kitchen Counters: Tips that Work
Organizing kitchen counters involves placing things where they’re accessible when you need them without being in the way the rest of the time. Who likes having to move a bunch of stuff out of the way to make a pot of coffee in the morning? Or shoving things around before starting to cook dinner?
Keep the kitchen triangle efficient. The “triangle” is the space between your sink, stove, and refrigerator. Countertops in this area get used a lot while cooking, putting food away, and doing dishes. Don’t put purely decorative items in this area, and make sure everything on the triangle’s counters relates to one of those tasks.
Consider a “coffee bar.” If you have room in your kitchen, consider moving your coffeemaker or electric kettle, mugs, filters, etc., off of the counters. This is especially helpful if you have several coffee or tea drinkers in your family, since they won’t have to elbow each other aside to get to the pot.
Using vertical space keeps stuff from spreading. Yesterday, I mentioned the use of magnetic strips to replace knife blocks and utensil holders. You can also maximize vertical storage with stacking baskets like those used in old-time general stores. They’re great for stashing kitchen linens or produce so it doesn’t spread all over your counter.
Reclaim unused space, too. The area above your microwave becomes storage space with a raised shelf. Adding shelves above windows or doors creates new spots for seldom-used cookbooks or small appliances. Magnetic spice containers turn the side of your refrigerator into a spice rack while keeping them in easy reach.
If you don’t use it regularly to cook, serve, or eat food, it doesn’t belong on your kitchen counter. Find a spot for it or make one.
Cleaning your kitchen is so much easier once you’ve decluttered and organized it. If you’ve got the time and energy, this is a great time to use my Kitchen Spring Cleaning Checklist to do a thorough, deep cleaning.
At a minimum, do the following:
- Wipe the refrigerator and freezer shelves
- Clean oven spills
- Scrub the stovetop
- Spray and wipe the backsplash, countertops, and everything you’re keeping on them
- Clean appliance fronts
- Scour the sink
Put out fresh kitchen linens and launder the dirty ones
- Sweep or vacuum the floor then mop it
Keep it Clean
Keeping on top of areas we’ve already R-O-C-Ked is an essential part of this series. When the decluttering and organizing mission is a tough one like today’s, it’s tempting to skip this step. Don’t skip this step!
The reason this step is so important is that it helps break the clean/cluttered cycle. You know the one. It happens when we spend hours or even days ruthlessly decluttering, organizing, and cleaning the house. Then, in what seems like the blink of an eye, it’s back to being a mess.
- Entryway: Throw away trash. Collect anything that belongs elsewhere. Vacuum or sweep the mat. (This is the exact kind of thing I love to use my cordless vacuum for — it’s so much easier!)
- Coat Closet: Is everything hung up? Shoes on the rack? Toss any trash and collect anything that belongs elsewhere.
- Dining Room: Toss the trash. Scoop up anything that belongs somewhere else. Wipe spills.
- Kitchen Cupboards: Make sure containers are closed. Toss empties. Wipe cupboard and drawer handles.
When you’re done, check out our Do Home Better! group on Facebook. It’s a great place to get help tackling cleaning and organizing challenges.
- How to Be More Productive
- How to Declutter ANY Room: 5 Tips that Work
- Why Cleaning is Stressing You Out
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