If you’re like me, Your kitchen countertops seem to get cluttered easily and fast. It’s a high-traffic area that naturally calls for messes to be made when in use. It can sometimes feel truly difficult and even impossible to keep counters free of clutter.
But with the right tips and the right understanding of what you’re trying to accomplish, you can get it done.
Below are a few different ways that have helped me, and others, manage the issue of messy countertop spaces. Between cleaning up after yourself, and adding extra storage space, these tips will help you get the life-giving and clean space you dream of in your kitchen.
Define What You Want Your Kitchen Space To Be Like
The very first step in decluttering your kitchen countertops is to figure out what your vision for that area is. Is what you are trying to invoke, structure, order, freshness, and/or an overall feeling of cleanliness? Great, I can help.
The ‘ideal’ kitchen is going to be different for most people. While considering style, time, other household members, daily use items, really just LIFE in general, it’ll come down to what is satisfying to you and brings you joy. What do you want your standard to be? and what can you do differently to meet your Goal?
Create The Right Mindset To Achieve Your Goal
The very first step in creating this ideal setting is to make sure you have the right mindset to have your vision become a reality.
Realize that it’s going to take some time and dedication to get your kitchen to look just like it does in the images you’ve seen on Pinterest. But don’t let it discourage you. Trust the process.
The habits we will talk about will eventually become second nature to you and help you do the things you don’t want to or put off for later. The results will speak for themselves.
Continue to remind yourself of the end goal – that you can create the picture-perfect version of your kitchen countertops, as long as you put in the work.
Set Clearly Defined Rules To STOP the clutter!
The second step is making the correct formula to keep your picture-perfect version, well, perfect. And that is creating rules on how to set simple ways to declutter.
For example, there was a countertop space where my husband kept leaving stuff. After a while, I had enough of it.
I bought a compact woven box and put everything on the countertop space in it. And then I created the rule that my husband is (still) learning to follow: if you need to put something down, put it in the bin. Otherwise, put it away.
While there have been a few slip-ups, my husband has been correcting the bad habit, and it’s been working well.
The point of all this is that making a few simple rules are easy to stick to. And there are no exceptions, otherwise, you will repeat breaking the rule and it’ll be more difficult to stay loyal to your own word.
Not only that it doesn’t feel good to be self-defeating, so remember what it’ll cost you when you are presented with the temptation to take shortcuts. Once the habit is made and second nature, it naturally takes care of itself.
Another good example of a clearly defined rule is to ensure that everything has a specific place where it belongs within your kitchen. We call it giving it a home.
Knowing where something lives make it easy to put away once we are done using the item. If an item doesn’t have a place to go after it’s been used it’ll usually end up somewhere random, like some cubby or the junk drawer creating the clutter.
An additional great rule is to end the day with a visit to the kitchen, check on the countertop and make sure the countertops are cleared and cleaned for the next morning.
Choose rules that are clearly defined and easy for you and/or your family to follow (if you’re living with others).
It’s okay to not be perfect. NO ONE is perfect! but remember the 80 20 rule. As long as you’re getting the target 80% of the time, you should be good.
Did you have a long day, and decide not to do dishes, or clear the countertops from the items you used to make dinner? eh, doesn’t always feel great to have to wake up to a reminder that you missed your goal. But, it’s only one day of many.
If you slipped up, just correct the mistake when you get the chance to, and do better tomorrow. The key is to keep showing up and doing your best.
Identify the Problem
Sometimes it’s beneficial to face the problem head-on. Look around the room and note what is actually going on. Why do you keep having a cluttered countertop?
Often, our countertops become cluttered with items that we use daily – certain dishes, appliances, even a fruit bowl, or some sort of other appliances like coffee makers, and toasters.
Sometimes we can solve the problem by creating a home for things. It helps to have fewer things for the maintenance of clear surface space. Though If we need them daily, then making the storage is going to help you free up your countertop space.
Do you need to find a permanent location for things?
1. Put More Shelve Space Up On The Walls
While I was at my old place, I knew one of the reasons I have a messy counter was because of everything I was trying to store on it.
So how did I declutter my kitchen countertops?
I just created more storage space on the walls above the counter, so that I could still store all the things I wanted (and thought I needed) in my kitchen.
I also created more countertop space by mounting my microwave above my stove. This was the best and easiest solution for getting a much more simplified (and organized) kitchen.
2. Use Your Appliances To Store Kitchenware on!
I was able to create a shelf that stood on top of my counter. It worked out great to store all my coffee supplies. I was able to store my coffee pot snugly underneath it and put my coffee beans, creamer, and cup all up top on it.
Also, if you have a 4 burner electric stovetop (which many people do nowadays), you can use the space of your stovetop to store your nice cookware set on display.
So if you haven’t already, use the space on or above any appliances you have to your advantage to create more places to store things!
3. Hang Your Pots and Pans
While it may seem counterintuitive, the first thing you want to do in your declutter process is to create more space for yourself. Especially in smaller kitchens.
Sometimes you can’t add more shelves onto your walls because you can’t screw into them, or just because you’re already using all your wall space.
If that is the case, then you can do what one of my friends did, and get a hanging pot and pan rack for the ceiling. She was able to hang her pots, towels, and some cooking utensils from it.
But what it you don’t have either of those options? What is the next best solution to decluttering kitchen countertops?
4. Clean Up As You Use Your Counters!
The easiest solution to not having cluttered countertops is to clean as you go!
When I recently moved into a new place, I had a way smaller countertop than I was used to. I tried to juggle keeping it looking pretty while using it to cook with (as well as use it for my table, since I didn’t have one then).
It was a struggle.
That’s when I finally used this tip to help me keep things so much easier.
While I was cooking, I would use my ‘downtime to clean up after myself.
While my water was boiling, or something was frying, I would put some of the dishes in the sink to soak, or put away the ingredients I wasn’t using anymore.
This helped me keep my countertops from getting too cluttered, and always allowed me to feel like I never had too much on my kitchen countertops.
5. Consider Meal Prepping For The Entire Week
Something that a friend told me they do was they do all their cooking on one day a week – and only heat stuff up each day.
I haven’t personally tried it yet, but meal prepping is a great way to help simplify your life and your kitchen countertops.
How meal prepping works is you set a day or two of the week aside and cook or ‘prep’ all the meals you are going to have for that week.
My friend found this to work great for her because it was only one day then that she needed to spend a large amount of time cooking in the kitchen.
While I’ve never had to do that yet, meal prepping would be a great way on how to declutter kitchen countertops.
6. Wash, And More Specifically, Dry Your Dishes
Tip number 5 has been the most helpful tip for me on my countertop decluttering ventures.
For a while, I was washing my dishes, and leaving them out on a towel to air dry over the night.
I found out quickly that this system didn’t work out well for me. I was someone who wanted to wake up immediately and start my day off with a clear counter.
So what I started doing was immediately drying my dishes after I washed them. I was able to then put them away that night, and wake up to my clean counter (My hubby got me these cute towels to use – I especially like the loop on it so I can hang them up!)
Drying the dishes and putting them away really doesn’t take that much time at all. Since there are only two of us in the household, it takes me no more than a minute or two after washing all my dishes to have a cleared and clean countertop.
7. Invest In A Dish Drying Rack
If you’re like me, and don’t currently have a dishwasher, and you have too many dishes to dry, with a busy bee schedule reducing the time you can invest in drying dishes close to none, then maybe you should invest in a dish drying rack.
When I was visiting my in-laws earlier this year, I found that they had bought a very simple, yet effective drying rack. The rack was over the sink, high enough to use the sink, but still low enough to stack dishes in them (and have any water on the washed dishes drip into the sink.
If you have the space to be able to set a dish drying rack above your sink, it would be a great investment to do so.
Bonus Tip! Use Vinegar To Clean!
I know, a lot of you are thinking that vinegar smells terrible, and you wouldn’t want to use it to clean, but it actually works great!
Vinegar helps soften food, and I love having it around to spray down anything that I can’t immediately wash so that no food will crust onto my pans.
I put about 50/50 vinegar-water mixture with a dab of dish soap, and it does the trick.
Also, I’ve put some essential oils in it as well to make it smell more appealing. I’ve used lavender, lemongrass, and even peppermint. Each of them worked well to give the vinegar a more attractive odor.
Ready To Start Decluttering Your Entire LIFE?
If you’re like me, the kitchen countertops aren’t the only thing you need to get decluttered. That’s why I created the declutter checklist to help others in need of getting their homes back in order.