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How to Declutter Kitchen Counters and Keep Them Clutter-Free

How to Declutter Kitchen Counters and Keep Them Clutter-Free


The kitchen may be the heart of the home but it’s also a magnet for clutter. In this article I’m suggesting some quick and easy ideas on how to declutter kitchen counters and keep them clutter-free.


Our kitchens are busy places but they’re also where the clutter of our daily lives can build up.

Take a look at your kitchen counters now and what do you see? Piles of paperwork, random bits and pieces, toaster, kettle, appliances, gadgets and utensils? Maybe the odd dirty mug or two? Anything else?!

Not only are our kitchen counters clutter hot-spots, but they’re also the place where we prepare and cook our food so it’s helpful to have as much space as possible to work on. And for it to be easy to clean and tidy afterwards.

If you’d like a kitchen that appears more spacious, less cluttered, is easier to cook in and clean up, I encourage you to try decluttering your counters as a starting point.

Here are some helpful tips and ideas on how to declutter kitchen counters and keep them clutter-free.

1. Assess what and where the clutter builds up

Before you start to declutter, take a few days to watch where on the kitchen counter the clutter builds up and what sort of clutter it is.

Is it clutter related to the kitchen – food, appliances, gadgets, utensils etc? Or is it clutter that comes from another part of the home – laundry, paperwork, nail varnish bottles, your child’s drawings and crayons. Maybe even your purse or handbag, or car keys?

Knowing what sort of clutter builds up on your kitchen counter will help you know what you’ve got to tackle and how.

Perhaps some of the items that find their way into the kitchen could actually be stored or put away in another room?

You could allocate a small section of the counter for paperwork, invest in a filing tray or even put it in a drawer so it’s in one place. Could your purse or handbag be hung with your coats instead of left out on the counter? Maybe your car keys could go safely in a drawer by the front door so you can grab them easily?

2. Aim for a clear line of sight

One of the best ways to make your kitchen (and your home) appear more spacious, flowing and clutter-free is to aim for a clear line of sight.

As you look from one side of the room to another, aim for an uncluttered view with clear countertops. Not only is it more pleasing to the eye and less distracting and confusing to the mind to have less stuff but it’s easier and quicker to clean, prepare food on and tidy up afterwards.

3. Clutter attracts clutter

If you have a counter which is full of clutter then you won’t notice if you add a little bit more clutter. The countertop just becomes one big jumble of clutter. Clutter is like a magnet for itself and not only will you not notice how much is gradually building up, but it becomes more of an overwhelming and frustrating problem to sort and get rid of it.

On the flip side, if you make a pact with yourself to keep your counters clutter-free, then you’re much more likely to notice a small bit of clutter building up and it’s much easier to deal with it before it becomes a big clutter problem.

4. Give everything a home

One of the main reasons clutter builds up in the kitchen (and around the home) is when you haven’t given that item a designated home or storage place for when it’s not in use. If you, or your family, don’t know where to put things away then they get left out in the open – and on your counters! Give everything a home and make sure everyone IN your home knows where things should be kept.

5. Don’t keep appliances on the counter

This was a game-changer for me! I used to keep my appliances on the counter and no matter how tidy and clear I kept the surface, it always looked and felt cluttered. Until, that is, I found a home for them in cupboards. Now I just get things out as and when I want to use them. I put them away afterwards too.

6. Utilise cupboards and maximise storage

A great way of ensuring a clutter-free counter and clear line of sight is to make sure all your kitchen utensils, appliances, crockery etc are stored in cupboards and behind doors. Left on show, on open shelves or glass-fronted cupboards, everything can look a bit higgledy-piggledy.

Declutter your cupboards, get rid of unwanted items, make use of internal organisers, use containers with labels but keep your kitchen and food items behind doors wherever possible so you have a more cohesive and sleek look.

7. Put things away when you’ve finished using them

When you’ve finished using your toaster or mixer, put it away. As with the rest of the home, making sure you put things away, straight away, after you’ve finished using them is a great habit to get into. There’s nothing wrong with making a mess, for example when you’re cooking in the kitchen, or your kids are drawing whilst you cook dinner, but there’s no need for that mess to stay there long after you’ve finished making it!

8. Don’t keep utensils on the counter

Many people keep utensils on the counter in a pot. I put mine in a drawer and I think it’s just as easy to find what I need when I need it and there’s a few less things to clutter my counters.

9. Put dirty dishes in the dishwasher straightaway

Don’t leave dirty dishes, glasses, mugs etc to pile up on the counters or sink. Rinse, wash, dry and put them away right after use or load them straight into the dishwasher.

10. Keep decorative items to a minimum

Try not to have too many décor items on your counter. I have a fruit bowl and sometimes a vase of flowers but that’s it. I find that too many decorative items makes the counters look cluttered and it’s more of a hassle to keep them clean and cook around them.

11. Keep items you use regularly close by

If you find you tend to reach for certain ingredients or equipment regularly, perhaps find a way to store these out of sight but so they’re easily accessible. Don’t keep them on the counter, but you could keep them in cupboard near where you prepare or cook food. Keep them in reach but stored off the counter.

12. Keep a junk drawer

Try having one drawer that’s used for random junk. I don’t mean fill it with clutter but keep it for the little odds and ends that usually get left on the counter. Some examples could be matches, notebook and pen, stationery, scissors, torch etc. Whilst I don’t advocate having drawers full of stuff, in this instance a carefully curated junk drawer may be better than having junk living on your countertop!

13. Check your counters regularly

Establish a routine where you check your counters regularly. I do this every mealtime when I’m cooking in the kitchen. Whilst I’m waiting for something to cook or boil, or before/after prepping the food, I clear the counters of any clutter that’s built up so far.

Remove the pile of junk mail, or bills to pay, the random contents of your child’s pockets that they’ve emptied out. Load any dirty mugs, cups or plates into the dishwasher, wipe it all down when you’ve finished cooking and before you head out of the kitchen to carry on with your day or evening.

Giving your kitchen (and your home) a regular check over like this a few times a day, and definitely before you head up to bed, is a great habit to get into for a clutter-free home.

14. Get your family on board

Kitchen counters can be a dumping ground for all sorts of things by different members of your family. Encourage everyone in your home to keep counters clutter-free.  


I hope you found these tips helpful on how to declutter kitchen counters. Here are some other articles and resources which you might like: