October 21, 2017

Clutter Countdown: Clear the Counters


In the kitchen where memories are made

The words I penned above are heartfelt. Our kitchen has always been the heartbeat of our home. It’s where many memories are made, stories shared, hugs given and of course, delicious meals enjoyed. It’s my favorite place in our house, besides our new front porch.

While I’d love to bond over this Norman Rockwell moment, it’s also where clutter collects, so I am spending this first week decluttering in the kitchen.

When people first walk in the house, most congregate in the kitchen and those flat counter surfaces get us every time, don’t they?

Envision the scenario. (Not that it’s ever happened to you, of course.)

You walk in the door with a handful of mail, the other hand dangles keys, while grocery bags line your arm. Your handbag is thrown over the shoulder and somewhere tucked under your chin is your child’s artwork for the day. You are exhausted and it all gets dumped as soon as you enter the door.

Ahhh!! Finally it’s out of your hands and it feels so good. You’re so tired, so there it sits and then the next day, the same thing occurs and now there’s two days of mail, along with your month magazine, a few bills tossed that get buried under the pile and…..

You get the drill.  It’s become a habit that needs to be changed, but don’t go running for the hills yet.  We will save setting up a system that will help break that habit for tomorrow.

15 Minute Counter Clean up

As promised on Day 1 of our Clutter Countdown Challenge, this is about just starting. Baby steps. Let’s set the timer together for 15 minutes, blast the music, dance a few steps to warm up and race against the clock. 

We are focusing on one counter right now – that “hot spot” where everything lands.

Yes, its clear the cluttered kitchen counter day. If you can make through more than one surface, that’s ideal, but just keep going until the timer ends. That surface may be your cluttered island, I can’t decide for you, but just identify one flat surface where items get stacked.

I thought I could get more done in 15 minutes than I did, but when I got down to 3 minutes, I could see that I wasn’t going to finish in time. It caused me to start running around trying to beat the clock. You can do the same. Make it a game, don’t get side tracked and just stick to it.

Items you will need to get started:

  • 2 boxes or baskets
  • two file folders – one folder you will put any papers, bills, school work that needs immediate attention and the second folder for items that you can get to next week.
  • all purpose cleaner, rag

Remove everything from the counter.

Yes, remove everything, which means appliances, papers, tissues, books, pens….everything.

As you take things off, throw away as much as you can or add to Goodwill bag. With the two boxes/baskets, put the items that will remain in the kitchen in one box and the items that do not belong in the kitchen, in the other.

As to papers, sort them as you take them off the counter and be BRUTAL!!!! I threw away three magazines and it was kind of painful. I had them sitting there because I wanted to cut out recipes,  but THIS IS ABOUT DECLUTTERING!!!  It wasn’t happening and I can probably find them online, so just get rid of it. I had been saving multiple sheets of “to do” items, but I just threw them all. It hadn’t gotten done in three weeks, so it’s trash.

Now that your counter is completely empty, quickly wipe it down and get rid of the dust that’s gathered under the stacks.

Your time may be up, but if it’s not, return the non kitchen items to the spot they belong. If you can donate them, even better.

Keep your counter empty, well unless you need your phone there. 🙂 

I cheated and put back a few other items which still make it look cluttered, so I include that in the picture to learn from me. Keep it empty until tomorrow when we get our system in place and enjoy the freshness of a perfectly empty spot.

Tips to decluttering kitchen counter

 If your counters are not a problem, then just set the timer and attack another surface area in your home.

How did you do with your Clutter Countdown?

I’d love to hear.  Post your before and after pics over on my facebook page or on instagram and tag them #cluttercountdown

Clutter Countdown begins now! Come join us. Just 15 minutes a day with revolutionize our homes. Let's hold each other accountable.

Clutter Countdown begins now! Come join us. Just 15 minutes a day with revolutionize our homes. Let’s hold each other accountable.



  1. I had started following the “Flylady”, which you may have heard of as well. She actually starts with the kitchen sink, but the counter is next on the list. Bit by bit, unless I’m in the middle of a painting job, I have made our counter remain clutter free.

    When junk mail or flyers come into our home now, I don’t put them down to deal with them later. I deal with them then! That removes a job for me later.

    We also have several other “hot spots” in our home, and I’m pretty much keeping them clutter free as well. Only, I’m not so much into organizing it, as I am into just getting rid of it – and not replacing it with more stuff two weeks from now, lol!

    Yes, getting rid of, has definitely become my motto. If it isn’t in your home, it doesn’t take up your time organizing or tidying it. And you save a heaping pile of money at the same time, whoo! hoo!


    brenda Reply:

    @Sue@house pretty, nice seeing another flybaby. I am constantly working with this 15 min. thing. occasionally, family illness, surgery or electronic meltdown that has a time limit on its reconstruction will still get things a bit behind. BUT the idea of jumping back in wherever one finds themselves is a lifesaver.


  2. Flat surfaces are our absolute nemesis! And my husband contributes at least as much as I do, maybe more. he expects me to deal with it all. At least I am aware of the problem. Pretty soon you don’t even see it–but there it is in all its “glory.” 🙁


  3. That “before” photo could be my counter on a good day. Okie. Getting a basket and getting to work. Thanks!


    Jen Reply:

    You got this. It feels so good and honestly, I took that picture in the morning and by the time I got to it at least five more things had been added to it. 🙂


  4. What a great first challenge! I did it–and blogged about it. Thanks for kick in the pants.


  5. While cleaning the counters in the kitchen, I decided the microwave needed to move to another spot. So much better. The cleared counter where the microwave used to be looks so much better.


    Jen Reply:

    Isn’t it amazing how just a little change like that makes all the difference? Great job!


  6. I’m in! Spent half an hour tidying my writing room/guest room, which was starting to become a storage room. Went through a large bag of hand-me-down clothes from my sister-in-law for my son, threw a few items out, put some in a bag for the local thrift store (already in my trunk to be dropped off tomorrow) and put the rest away.
    Feels good! I’m in for a minimum of 15 mins a day. Tomorrow, the laundry room.


  7. I love your kitchen words/photo, and the rest of your post as well! I’m doing a series on Simple Organization this month – it’s fun to read like-minded posts 🙂


  8. I managed to get the counter done but our kitchen table is our bad spot. We have big clutter issues with a very tiny apartment and two little kids. If anyone has great storage ideas for small spaces I’d love to hear them.


    Jen Reply:

    Good job on the counter. Maybe today, you attack that table. What items do you normally keep there that’s leading to the clutter and I’ll brainstorm ideas.


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