The kitchen is not dirty, just really busy.
I will be the first to admit that I am particular about organization in my home. I have been known to obsessively straighten the throw pillows on the couch and compulsively refold the hand towel on the bathroom counter. My kids tell me that I get “crazy eyes” when I tell them to store their shoes properly.
However, when it comes to my kitchen…I fix my gaze downward and try not to make eye contact with the countertops. With a family of 5, I have ceded the kitchen space to the clutter gnomes. This is not to say that the kitchen is dirty. It is just really busy. The dishes get washed twice a day (at least), the floor is swept and mopped several times a week, and the counters are wiped down three times a day.
The kitchen is the hardest room in the house to keep uncluttered. By its nature, it is a high traffic- mess producing- gathering place for the family. Add to that all of the nomadic items like mail and homework that find a home on the counter and you get clutter.
The good news is that you don’t have to live with the clutter. With a few simple changes, you can have a magazine photo quality countertop. Here are five tips to kill the kitchen clutter!
1.Relocate anything that does not belong
It seems like all of the odds and ends in your home slowly migrate to your kitchen countertops in the middle of the night. Random items like mail, homework, purses, keys, cameras, books, phones, and water bottles find a home on the kitchen counter. The trick is to create a place for these items somewhere else! Create a landing strip near the front door where mail, keys, backpacks, homework, and purses can live happily. If you have kids in the house, set up a convenient backpack/shoe cubby area by the front door to contain kid mess.
2. Get rid of the knife block
It’s not as much of a necessity as you may think. Save counter space by storing individual knives on a magnetic wall strip or with blade covers in a drawer.
3. Store small appliances
How often do you REALLY use your toaster? The only appliance that I use every day is my coffee maker and woe to anyone who comes between me and my coffee. Anything else can easily find a new home in between uses. A good rule of thumb is if you use it a few times a month, store it in a kitchen cabinet. If you use is a few times a year, store it in a garage cabinet. Make sure that whatever you do keep on the countertop is functional and essential to your daily cooking.
4. Don’t use the refrigerator as an art gallery
My kids love putting artwork and spelling tests on our refrigerator. Then we have coupons, sports team magnets, announcements, shopping lists, invitations, and the list goes on and on. Before you realize it, you can’t even see your refrigerator for all of the paper covering it. Simple concept, but so true: Remove excess paper, notes, photos, lists, and magnets from the refrigerator, and just let the refrigerator be, and your kitchen will immediately look neater.
5. Let yourself have one messy drawer
Okay, so not every clutter-free kitchen is, well, clutter-free. Every clutter-free kitchen needs a cheat spot, a free-for-all place to stash something until you’ve found a better location or purpose for it. This is the spot for pens, lists, stamps, coupons, and announcements. There are truly some items in your house that never really have a “proper” place. In my house we call it the “junk drawer”. The key is to be very specific and intentional about where that spot is. Choose just one shelf or drawer, and don’t let it spill out into the whole cabinet.
You can have a clutter free kitchen. Clearing off those countertops will make the room feel so much more spacious and impart a feeling of peace each time you enter the room. Give it a try, it is easier than you think.
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