My kitchen is well-organized. (I know, it’s a cool brag.) I can tell you where to find anything you need, meaning everything in the kitchen has a specific place. I’ve devised ways to store difficult items, I’ve taken precautions to keep things off my countertops, and I’ve had several years to tweak and reorganize our kitchen space.
Even with all of these tricks, my kitchen can still appear cluttered because a few organizing mistakes (that many of us make!) can make a space seem more chaotic. Fortunately, I’ve learned how to stop these things and use them to force a reset. And I’m happy to share my list of repeat offenders. Let us investigate.
Leaving an excessive number of extra items on the counter
When it comes to crowded-looking kitchens, having too many items on the counter is probably the worst offender. Keep small appliances and other items in cabinets or drawers as much as space and convenience allow. Items frequently used, such as the coffee maker, can remain visible but tuck away as much as possible while maintaining accessibility and efficiency. I recently moved my utensils from a crock on the counter to a drawer, and I love the streamlined look it gives a whole section of my counter. Other suggestions include moving mugs from a mug tree to inside a cabinet and switching from a countertop knife block to an in-drawer unit.
Using no trays or plates
Some items, such as soap dispensers, salt cellars, ring dishes, and so on, must remain on your counters. Adding a tray, cake stand, or plate prevents these smaller items from appearing to float. A tray gives these items a designated location (a home base, if you will). When they’re present, your kitchen is perfectly organized.
Allowing paper clutter to accumulate
I have a habit of leaving mail and other papers on the counter. It immediately makes the kitchen appear cluttered. Worse, it tends to accumulate. While it’s unrealistic to ban pieces from the kitchen, clearing them off regularly can help you stay ahead of the problem. If you have a routine for closing the kitchen, include clearing away papers.
Anything overflowing appears untidy, even if it is technically in order. This is true for the utensil caddy, the small tool drawer, and the fridge and pantry. Try decluttering your tools (remember, you don’t usually need duplicates) and developing habits like clearing out leftovers from the fridge before grocery shopping. Including a weekly pantry, clean-up can help you take inventory and avoid over-buying.
Keeping an excessive number of items on the fridge.
Affixing papers and photos to the refrigerator gives your home a lived-in, homey appearance. Too often, however, these papers become “invisible,” and we end up doing nothing more than making the exteriors of our refrigerators look shaggy. Digitize what you can, look after the action items represented by others, and keep that one masterpiece, so it shines brightly.
Using no cabinet organizers
What makes a kitchen appear and feel cluttered? Having to unload items to get to what you need. Avalanches of baking dishes and spices spilling out of cabinets do not make for an enjoyable cooking experience. Invest in space-making organizers like turntables and shelf risers to bring order to your cabinet interiors.