Wednesday, February 27, 2008

5 steps to organise your kitchen counter

I often get asked, "how do you keep the kitchen counter neat, tidy and organised?"

A kitchen counter can get out of control very quickly because of all the different things happening, like children's papers, meal preparation, cooking, homework/ crafting, shopping, etc.

Because of this, I don't think you could ever just leave the kitchen and hope it would stay neat and organised!

However, here are a couple of tips to help you at least try:

1. have clearly designated areas for each activity
We have one little corner just as you enter our kitchen where we pack and unpack lunches, sort papers and so on.

The rest of my smallish kitchen is for meal preparation and cooking.

2. remove anything you don't use on a daily or weekly basis
The more stuff you have on the counter, the more you have to clean and wipe down those appliances.

If you only use your slow cooker once a month, then store it in your pantry and enjoy all that wonderful counter space.

3. keep things where you use them
When your utensils are stored far from your stove and you have a lot of back and forth, that's when your kitchen starts getting disorganised.

4. have a method of dealing with the paper
The more paper you throw away, the less you have to file ;) Use a plastic drawer system and clearly label the drawers. Once you have this set up, there should only be paper on your counter for a maximum of 5 minutes a day (only while you're sorting and checking you have all the notes from school, etc.).


This picture is from my study but I always suggest to clients with children that they have one of these in the kitchen and use a drawer per family member (mom and dad can also share a drawer).

5. maintain regularly
This will depend on how busy your kitchen is. When both of us are at home the whole day (like when we're on holiday), I do a quick 5-minute tidy and wipe-down of the counters after each meal and also before I prepare supper.

For more help organising your kitchen (and the rest of your home), check out the Organise your Home e-course.

For more great tips, visit Shannon at

Edited to answer Tami's question in the comments...

No, Tami, the picture is from my study. I don't have space in my kitchen at all for paper, so I sort my paper as I walk in the door and throw the junk away right there and then.

The rest goes straight to my study where I put it in my in-tray (which lives on top of those drawers, incidentally ;))

I attend to my filing about once every week or two, depending on how much there is. Remember I'm ruthless about only keeping stuff I actually need, so there's never very much.


Minkydo said...

Good ideas :)

Anonymous said...

Great ideas, I struggle with the paper issue! I will have start using some of your ideas.

Angie @ Many Little Blessings said...

Paper clutter is just the worst! I swear, those kids bring home a tree's worth of paper each week from school. I may have to try your drawer idea -- I have a long counter, and it is always gathering stuff.

Michelle said...

Thank you! I struggle with counter clutter. If I have it cleared off it will usually be covered in papers and chaos by evening. It's one area of my home that does not work for me... yet!

Anonymous said...


We must be kin to each other. lol

I have little "stations" set up in my kithen.

Coffee pot near the sink with cups nearby in a cabinet along with the coffee, powdered creamer etc.

Baking items are kept in an area that has cabinets on the wall in which I put baking supplies. A counter under that that I use to roll out dough etc. with my rolling pin hanging on the wall there. A drawer with baking utensils, cookie cutters, and sprinkles in it. And a cabinet underneath with mixing bowls and baking pans.

Just works well for me. I have other little stations set up as well.

CC said...

This one is big for me since I have so little counterspace and so much ends up there!

Britni said...

I do this same thing. I have one counter that is specifically for when I pack lunches, bake, roll out dough, etc and nothing ever goes there.

Jen said...

Good ideas. My kitchen is ridiculously tiny!

Anonymous said...

Would love a little more details about your drawer system for the kitchen. Do you put things there temporarily until you file it?

ExMi said...

definitely going to try some of these tips.

my kitchen and lounge are open-plan, so get messy very quickly!

anyway, just wanted to invite you to join The South African Bloggers Network -

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sign up, so we can all hook up!

Jenny said...

I like your ideas. Since spring is so close, and that brings the nesting feeling, hopefully I can organize a few rooms in my house. I'm starting with the hall closet, but the kitchen is a close second. I need to reevaluate all the cookware and china I have.

Fia said...

Thanks for the amazing tips! I think maintenance is really important in organizing a kitchen. Sometimes, due to lack of time, we tend to forget to regularly tidy up our kitchens. Practical kitchen organizers, such as drawers can truly be a big help in arranging kitchen stuff. Not to mention, it’s cheap yet functional.

Leslie said...

Wonderful ideas, very helpful! I had a floor to ceiling pantry installed in place of a couple of small cabinets by Kitchen Cabinets Dallas you wouldn't believe the difference this simple change made. Thanks and keep these helpful tips coming.

Kitchen Cabinets said...

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