November 23, 2017

Tips for Clean Kitchen Counters


Decluttering Kitchen Counters

In the hub of our home, the kitchen is the one area that announces “congregate.” When you have company, that’s where everyone first meets, don’t they? With everything from people gathering, to clutter congregating, the kitchen is an area where we love to spend time, therefore, it’s the first place I tackle when I’m trying to declutter, organize and decorate.

I want a kitchen that says, “Welcome,” not “WHOA, she’s had one tough week.”  🙂 In addition, it’s one of the most important areas to make functional and work best for you.

Therefore, I started on the kitchen for our Clutter Countdown Challenge and yesterday I began with the “simple” (highly debatable choice of words) task of clearing the counters. 

Read my “Clear the Counters” post first.

Just having de-cluttered counters is such a huge step towards more freedom in the kitchen. In fact, you have just received so much more counter space, haven’t you? They are clean. It feels great.

Utilize bins on top of cabinets for storage

(For those with just a little counter space, this is a unique idea to coral objects above the cabinets in wire baskets.)

 Visually, a kitchen looks so much bigger when the counters are clean and cleared. I know that many of you have mentioned very small workspaces, so today, I want us to be as creative as we can when we put everything back. 

Now that we have them cleared, the only things that should go back are those items with a set purpose. Do not put any paper items back. Those need to stay in the file folders until you sort them. Stash the folders in an upper cabinet if that work, but don’t lay them on the counter. We’ll work on a system for paper clutter later in the month, so hold onto those or get rid of them now. 🙂

If you use an appliance daily, keep it out.  I keep my coffee pot out because it’s an extension of my arm, but if you only use it for company, find a lower cabinet to house it.  If you only use the toaster once twice a week, let’s find another spot for it (and for me, that meant getting rid of some items in a lower cabinet to make room for appliances.)

Behind the scenes of cooking with incourage

If you browse any minimalist blogs, they encourage you to keep the counters completely empty and then they give you five reasons why it’s important to do this.

I don’t agree at all, yet I’m the one dealing with clutter. 😉 Honestly, those kitchens are impeccably neat, but they look sterile to me.  I want to see a cute basket with fruit, a few candles and yes,  I love seeing a Kitchen Aid, but there’s a balance and one that I struggle to strike correctly.

A few months back, I taped a few food videos and let me tell you that there’s nothing like a camera crew coming to your house to make you aware of how much clutter is out. (You can read about it here and see the GREAT counters on the video.) In the above picture, you can see how we cleared all the counter surfaces on the video behind me. It was amazing and our house never looked so good “through the eye of the camera”. Why didn’t I keep it like that?  Slowly put items back, even though they didn’t belong.  I painted bottles and vases that got stashed with no purpose.

Clearing the Counters

Now, look at what’s out of site of the camera next to the fridge.  SO much clutter. It’s all going. While I love the large white mason jars in the corner next to my flour container, it’s just too much. I will be working on finding a shelf for them. In my 15 minutes today, I through away some water bottles and found homes for the rest. The Soda Stream is on a top shelf. Tea cups are heading to my hutch and the cake plate will be put away and I’m leaving only the white milk glass bowl with some added lemons.

Clearing the Cluttered Counters

It’s important to find creative solutions to all the appliances and knick knacks we store so cutely on all our surfaces because they just equal clutter. Especially for those with limited space, kitchen counters are prime real estate.

Decorative touch for storing kitchen knives; Clutter Countdown

I love the unique idea of using magnets for knives. I still have a 1993 butcher block on my counter and this is a great option because I only use a handful of those knives.

Kitchen Catch-all for decluttering

I also love the idea of over the door organization for your kitchen “hot spot.” When you come in the door, train yourself to not drop everything on the counter, but redistribute it to other spots. Depending on your door, this may not work, but come up with a system to stop the dumping.

Over the door pantry organizer clutter countdownThis Over The Door Pantry Organizer is a wonderful space saver if you are tight on storage.

Small kitchen solutions

This homeowner took advantage of some empty wall space and added an additional shelf. That is a great idea and would definitely hold appliances as well. Ideally, the coffee pot or those two storage containers could fit up there.

Our 17 year old son has been walking in and dropping his keys and watch on the counter, so I bought these magnetic baskets on clearance (thus the pink color) and am slowly training the whole family to deposit any important items immediately when they walk in. NO MORE LOST KEYS!!

Tips for never losing keys again

It’s perfect because the fridge is right on his way out the door, so I think he’s almost making it a habit (and we’re “helping” him along. I also bought a few magnetic holders for the side of the fridge. I need to see how functional they are, so I’ll get back to you on what I think as we hit the pantry and spice shelves in a few days.

Your challenge is to finish up the kitchen counters or flat surfaces. Your kitchen will be like a whole new room once they are cleared off and wiped down.

I’d love to see some before and after shots, so make sure you snap a before, so that you can see for yourself the huge progress you’ve made.

Let me know how your first two days have gone.

What did you get done?

We can do this together!! 15 minutes a day or just jump in whenever you can.

To see all the posts in our Clutter Countdown Challenge click on the button below.

31 Days Clutter Countdown


  1. Fabulous ideas. You know that bottom shelf below the one holding the dishes in that second to last shot is a dish drainer, right? I saw that when I was travelling in Italy–and it is such a brilliant idea (and space saver!) Really, you could just leave the plates stacked upright instead of laying them flat. I will definitely have that in my perfect dream cottage one day.
    I just recently decided to take all the canisters off of my surfaces. So glad I did. Now all I have out is my drain board and the toaster and coffee pot. Mine is an extension of my arm, too!


    Jen Reply:

    I didn’t put two and two together on that drainer. Now I love that creative idea even more!! Yes, canisters can be so cute, but ultimately clutter up the space. I am leaving the green and white canisters on the counter, but removing the FIVE that I don’t use. (think I like canisters much? 😉


  2. I love this! Where did you find the magnetic key holder? That is a problem area for us- the keys, and if we didn’t use it for keys, it might be big enough for some other small mail collection as we walk in. Lots of great and inspiring ideas here!


    Jen Reply:

    I found them on clearance at Target for under $2. I was excited! Hope they have them at yours. 🙂


    Barrie Reply:

    @Jen, Thanks!


  3. Martini Q says:

    I have completed kitchen counters which were long over due. It took well over 15 minutes but so worth it. I also struggle with clutter but agree that a sterile kitchen is no fun either. I can’t say this has been fun so far, but I am inspired;)


    Jen Reply:

    SO thrilled to hear that and I am with you on the “fun” part. Nope, it’s not fun, but it is giving me such a sense of satisfaction that things I’ve put off for too long are getting done. Yes, it took me much longer than 15 minutes for all the counters. That one counter took me 15 and then I had more to do. 🙂


  4. Oh I definitely need to do this…we’re crammed into a house that’s too small for us, and then on top of it, the people who “remodeled” the home before we moved in, made some bizarre decisions that affect the space. And sadly, we have no above cabinet space…our last house had that, and I really miss it…it was a great place to put rarely used things like the cake platter/punch bowl, extra vases, etc.


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