Clutter-Free Kitchen Worktops
Do you feel like your kitchen worktops are always cluttered?
One of the most valuable assets of any kitchen is the amount of available work space, but as one of the busiest rooms in our homes, the kitchen often takes the brunt of our clutter. It's natural to walk in the door, straight into the kitchen and dump stuff onto the surfaces. which is one of the reasons why kitchen surfaces tend to accumulate clutter faster than any other spot in your home - and clutter is always a magnet for more clutter!
Once you place one item on the worktop, your brain sees it as a good place to put another and pretty soon it multiplies. Over time the clutter builds up, making the kitchen a less relaxing place to be and can also affect our ability (or inclination) to make and enjoy a healthy meal.
I am not saying that you should have completely clear kitchen counters - even I wouldn't go that far!
This post is all creating space and streamlining to create a calm and functional space in your kitchen.
THE BENEFITS OF CLUTTER FREE KITCHEN WORKTOPS
A clutter-free kitchen makes a big difference in your daily life. (Click to read all the benefits).
We all spend so much time in the kitchen, so having clear surfaces can make a big difference to our mood, our productivity and our motivation to prepare a meal at home.
It's a decluttering task that you feel the benefits from straight away.
Cluttered worktops subtly fight for our attention whenever we enter the room. Visual clutter might not seem like a big deal, but once you get it cleared off, you'll feel so much better (I didn't think it would have made such a difference, but now if too much ends up on worktops and island - I really notice how it affects my mood).
Preparing meals is much easier with more space. Which also leads to fewer unhealthy convenience foods, eating out and saving money.
A clutter-free kitchen is easier to clean. You don't have to move things out of the way. A quick wipe down and it's clean.
And if you only have a small amount of surface space, to begin with, it's even more important to keep it as clear as possible.
Plus, you can invite a friend in without notice to share a cup of coffee with any worry about the mess!
WHAT'S ON YOUR WORKTOPS
Despite my best efforts to keep the worktops clear in our home, some things always end landing on them (keys, watches, school stuff, paper, post and half-eaten snacks are our biggest culprits).
The first step to clutter-free kitchen surfaces is to address the non-kitchen related clutter and identify all the catch-all spots.
What type of things regularly land and settle in your kitchen? and where do they tend to build up? Is there a particular part of your kitchen that is a perpetual drop zone?
Focus on these things first. Create homes, storage and habits to keep these items off the worktop space so that you can concentrate on the things that need to be in the kitchen.
DECLUTTER THE CUPBOARDS TO CREATE EXTRA STORAGE SPACE
Most of us have cupboards that are full of gadgets and appliances. But it is very common for them to be full of gadgets that we don't use and have been put in the cupboard to store 'just in case' we might need them someday. Which means the items we do use regularly sit on the worktops because there's no room left in the cupboards or drawers.
Go through you your cupboards and to see if there is anything that can go, or moved into storage elsewhere. If you have a bread maker in your cupboard, but you haven't actually made bread in the past ten years, let it go and make better use in your cupboards for the things that are used.
So, give your kitchen cupboards a declutter and you may be surprised how much space you have to store some of the things cluttering up your worktops.
Save the worktop space for appliances and items that you use every day - if that (even items used daily can be put in easily accessible drawers and cupboards).
BE INTENTIONAL ABOUT WHAT LIVES ON THE SURFACES
Completely clear worktops may seem like a nice ideal to some, but it's not realistic in most kitchens. There will always be items that it makes sense to keep out - such as the large appliances that you use daily.
We are all different, and so are the homes that we live in and our lifestyles, so you have to ask yourself the questions and do what works for you in your kitchen.
What deserves a permanent home on your worktop? What do you really need to keep out 24/7?
If you currently keep items on your worktops - Are you consistently navigating around them to clean or cook? Do they get dusty and dirty in between uses?
We tend to keep things out in plain sight because we believe it makes our kitchens more convenient. But, as a result, worktops fill with tea, coffee, cooking utensils, cookbooks, cutting boards, oils/seasonings - as well as all the other non-kitchen related clutter!
While it may seem easier to grab those items when needed, we don't think about the other conveniences we are sacrificing by keeping them there.
For example, the toaster. Yes, you may use the toaster 3 or 4 times a week, but it's only for 5 minutes, does it need to sit on the counter 24/7? Could you place it in an easy access cupboard and make it easy to wipe the counters down?
If you have a kitchen mixer, and only use it twice a month, but you have to wipe it down twice a week from all the other cooking activities - can you store the mixer in the cupboard (if not too heavy to move easily) and cut down on the work that you have to do around? (If you spent a lot of money on a KitchenAid and it's a showpiece - keep it on there and enjoy it, but move everything else).
This applies to anything that you have sitting on the counters - appliances, canisters, utensils etc. Think about how often you use them and ask yourself if they genuinely justify taking up space on your worktops.
It might seem strange at first to put away the things that we use regularly, but it doesn't take much effort to get them out and put them away after use.
Keeping your counters clear does take some effort. It isn't a one time job, and then they remain clear forever (wishful thinking!); once you've decluttered and organised you then need to focus on creating routine and changing your habits.
Put things away
Don't leave things out after you have used them, thinking that you will save yourself time by doing it later. It takes more time and mental clutter to have to think about and set aside time to come back and tidy up after ourselves later.
If we get into the habit of putting things away as we go, we never have to play catch up. If the dishes are done, and things are put away, life seems a little more manageable.
It's the small things that tend to pile up and overwhelm.
Create a reset routine
When you have a routine in place (just like you brush your teeth every night without considering how much time it's going to take), the kitchen remains tidy(ish) with minimal effort.
The thought of doing the work is much more exhausting than actually doing it most of the time, so when you have little routines built into your day and week, you do it without thinking about it.
My simple kitchen reset routines are in the morning after breakfast and evening after dinner - wash dishes, quick kitchen tidy up and everything back in its home and then finish off by wiping down the hob and surfaces.
It's very basic and takes 10/15 minutes or less on most days - quicker if you get everyone else in the home involved. It's part of our family routine, and I get the kids to help as much as possible.
Including this reset as part of my daily routines means that nothing piles up and becomes overwhelming.
The dishes stay manageable, the surfaces are never a disaster, and you feel in control. If you miss a morning or evening, you can pick up again at the next one. It doesn't have to be perfect, just keep the momentum going so that you can enjoy your kitchen and move onto something else.
STORE + style
These are my favourite storage items that will help you to maximise the space on your worktops for the things that you do need or want to keep out and help you to stay clutter-free.
Lazy Susans and Turntables
One of my favourite organising and storage products. They make things much easier to access as you don't have to reach behind other things to get what you need - and probably knock them over in the process!
Baskets and Containers
Although not technically making the space clutter-free, it gives the feeling of being more organised. Plus, it's a lot easier to move a container around when you need to clean or use the space for a while.
Trays are a fantastic way to contain items that you want on show, but also need to be moved easily (to another part of the kitchen, or for cleaning). It's a quick win - corral and display all the smaller items and your kitchen will instantly feel less cluttered.
Save the worktop space for appliances and items that you use every day - if that (even items used daily can be put in easily accessible drawers and cupboards).s on hook rails or self-adhesive hooks in or on your cabinets.
Can be used for knives and mini space jars. Just attach to the wall under your cabinets. They free up counter space and are a great way to stay organised.
If you have space above your worktops, or on the side of your cabinets, you could add shelves to take things off the worktops but still keep them handy. If you don't have space for fitted shelves, you can use shelves risers on the worktops to give you an extra layer and additional storage space.
If your kitchen is always full of bits of paper - notes, shopping lists, vouchers - add a memo board to organise them and keep them visible, without cluttering up your worktops.
Getting rid of excess, creating home for things, tidying as you go and establishing daily routines means that your surfaces can stay clutter-free, or close to it.
Completely clear worktops may not be possible in your kitchen, but see what you can put away to create more space. You'll love the new uncluttered look.
Let me know how you get on, or if you have any tips that I have left off my list!