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How to Declutter Kitchen Countertops and Keep Them Clear

Brick Kitchen with White Pottery and Cluttered Countertops
By:Meghan Paynter| Last Updated:03/22/2024
Time to Read: 4 min
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How to Declutter Kitchen Counters

How many times have you stood in your kitchen and thought, “I need more counter space!”?

Kitchen counters are valuable real estate, and you can always use more. The flat surfaces are necessary workspaces for cooking, baking and cleaning but also tend to be magnets for household clutter. Instead of completely redesigning your kitchen, give yourself more counter space by learning how to declutter your kitchen counters and taking steps to keep them clear in the future.


Steps to Decluttering Kitchen Countertops

Cluttered Kitchen Countertops

1. Completely Clean Off Your Counter

The first step to decluttering your counter is to thoroughly clean them. Remove every item from your countertops, including any decorations, appliances, food and random junk. Place all items on a flat surface like your dining room table or even your kitchen floor so you can look at each item separately.

Use antibacterial spray to wipe them off so you’re starting off with a sparklingly clean surface.

2. Choose What to Keep on Your Kitchen Counters

Looking at all the items you removed from your counter, choose the appliances and items you use every day. Items you might want to keep on your kitchen counter:

  • Coffeemaker
  • Toaster
  • Dish rack
  • Crock of cooking tools
  • Fruit Basket
  • Microwave

Be selective. If you don’t use these common items every day, they don’t need to take up your limited counter space.

Once you’ve picked the items worthy of counter space, find a permanent home for them in a convenient and logical spot. Put the coffeemaker under the cabinet of mugs. Put the crock of cooking tools near the stove. This will prevent items from spreading across your kitchen when in use.

Quotation Mark Icon

"The items I find important to keep on my counter are my toaster oven (more versatile than a toaster), my blender, kettle, paper towel holder and banana tree. I also have a utensil holder for frequently used utensils near my stove. I would say anything you use on a daily basis that you do not have room for in your cupboards."
Judy Rickey, Clutter Relief Services and Professional Organizers in Canada


3. Sort and Relocate Additional Items

Now that you’ve selected what to keep on your kitchen counter, you know what doesn’t belong there. Sort through the remaining items and find them all permanent homes elsewhere.

Items You Don’t Need on Your Counter:

Where to Store:

Less Used Appliances

Choose an easily accessible cabinet for the appliances that aren’t used every day. Make sure everyone in your home knows where these appliances now live so they are put away after being used.

Unused Appliances

Get rid of them.


Hang them on the walls or move them to another room. Counter space is too valuable for decorating.

Rarely Used Housewares

If an item is only used for holidays or parties, like a turkey baster, cake tray or serving platter, relegate it to a high shelf so it’s out of the way.

Finally, get rid of any other junk that shouldn’t be in the kitchen. Move paperwork to your home office. Hang pet accessories near the backdoor.

With only daily necessities on them, your kitchen counters are now clear – for a few minutes. Read on for counter organization ideas that will keep them clear every day.

Need some more decluttering tips?
Check out our Complete Home Decluttering Guide!

Kitchen Counter Organization Ideas

Decluttering your kitchen countertops is a quick project. Keeping them that way is a major change. To prevent your counters from being a drop zone for everyone in the family, you need to create rules and add additional kitchen counter storage.

Silverware Separated in Drawer Organizer

Make Rules to Keep Counters Clear

Develop ground rules to keep the counters clear. If you can keep common kitchen items off your counters, they will be less likely to attract junk from other parts of the house.

Rules to keep kitchen counters free of clutter:

  • Dirty dishes go directly into the dishwasher or sink, never on the counter.
  • Wipe off the counters before going to bed each night.
  • Don't allow paperwork to be placed on the kitchen counter.
  • Keep kitchen cabinets and drawers strictly organized, so every item that comes into the kitchen has a place.

While enforcing these rules will take some work and adjustment, this is one of the best ways to permanently declutter your kitchen counters.

Quotation Mark Icon

"Make sure to spend 15 minutes a night placing items in their proper homes in order to wake up to a fresh start."
Judy Rickey, Clutter Relief Services and Professional Organizers in Canada

Kitchen Utensils Hanging From Countertop Storage Option

Add Kitchen Countertop Storage

One of the simplest ways to organize kitchen countertops is to add small storage options throughout your kitchen. Add a storage solution for any items that are taking up too much counter space, like a knife block, or things that keep winding up there, like keys or cookbooks.

Kitchen countertop storage ideas:

  • Wall hanging fruit basket.
  • Wall-mounted paper towel holder.
  • Magnetic strips on backsplash for knives or other utensils.
  • Hooks for keys.
  • Shelves for cookbooks.
  • Wall-mounted racks for commonly used spices.

Other storage solutions can also help keep your counters clear. A junk drawer is a great way to keep miscellaneous items out of sight. Adding a pocket on the inside of a cabinet door is great for storing a cutting board and baking sheet.

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