How come every photo of a kitchen you look at has far less stuff in it than yours? Eye candy artistically displayed and that’s it, pristine empty surfaces gleaming in the light. A clear kitchen counter communicates calm and order and invites you to cook and create. If you are always struggling to keep your counters clutter free, some simple kitchen storage solutions might help you.
LET IT GO
I hate to say it but you probably have too much stuff. I recently went through my utensil drawer and found I had duplicates of almost everything. I took my least favorites, put them in a box and stashed them in my garage. I have to admit they are still there but I have not missed them. In my defense, I am determined to hold a garage sale in the not-too distant future! The fewer belongings you have, the easier they are to organize. Assess what you really need and use, and bid the rest a fond farewell.
LIBERATE CUPBOARD SPACE
If you want to move some of your gadgets off the counter, you have to create space to store them. Empty your kitchen cupboards of all the awkward items that you use maybe once or twice a year, such as a turkey roasting pan, pasta maker, bread machine, tiered cake stand, food processor, ravioli crimper, fondue set, ice cream maker….you get the idea.
Next, assess whether you really want to keep any of them. Look long and hard. If you do, is there another space they could go such as the basement or garage? Or will they fit all together on a top shelf? It is better to experience a little irritation occasionally as you drag out your spaghetti extruder, than daily frustration.
ADJUST THE SHELVING
Now that some of your bulkier items have been removed, readjust your shelving heights to make better use of your cabinet interior space. You’ll be amazed at the difference this can make.
KEEP YOUR FRIENDS CLOSE
You know what they say in real estate – Location! Location! Location! The same goes for any favorite implements that you use all the time. They earn their home in the prime storage spots like top drawers and the front of cabinets. If they are handy, you are more likely to put them away.
DIVIDE & CONQUER
Store similar things together so you know where they are. The moment different items start mingling together, mess is inevitable. Keep similar food items together so you don’t re-buy because you think you have run out. Just repeat to yourself ‘Birds of a Feather Flock Together’ as you are reorganizing.
SEPARATE YOUR SPACE
It is almost impossible to stop items rattling around together without dividers or inserts. There are myriads to choose from. The key is to not purchase any until you have determined exactly what you need. My two most valued purchases are cabinet shelf inserts from Ikea for less than $20 to stack mugs and cups, and a wooden rack for holding pot lids.
If you can’t see what you have stored, you will forget all about it. This goes for food in the fridge, staples in your cabinets and cookie cutters in your cupboards. Baskets are very pretty but unless you have sliding shelves or drawers that open so you can look down on the contents, use glass or Perspex so you can see the contents at a glance. Decant frequently used baking or cooking ingredients into elegant glass jars so if they are left out, they look attractive and can be instantly identified.
USE A TRAY
You may want to keep some things on the counter for practical reasons. Smaller items will look neater and more organized if they are kept together. Choose a square white tray to corral olive oil, salt and pepper mills, favorite spices or tools to grab, and add a little life with a fresh basil plant. The tray will make cleaning easier.
PAPERS IN PROCESS
Most people have some sort of filing system for paperwork once it has been dealt with, but it is harder to manage paperwork while you are still dealing with. You don’t want to hide it away too soon or you will forget about it. Papers are messy and they seem to breed. You need an action box.
There are some very attractive file boxes that have dividers inside that you can label in a way that works for you: receipts, bills to pay, coupons. A box looks neat and can match your décor. As you go through your mail, immediately allocate the papers to their appropriate slot. You still have to commit to dealing with them, but you now know where there are without having to look at them piling up on the counter.
KEEP YOUR KEYS IN THE SAME PLACE
Keys lurking on the counter can easily get lost. They need a nest! Whether you choose a key rack or a container in a drawer, keep them in the same place so they are tidy and to hand.
PRETTIFY YOUR TOASTER
If you want to keep your toaster and kettle out on the side, upgrade to a pretty version if you can, so they actually enhance your décor.
COMMIT TO THE CHALLENGE
Now you have cleared your counters of excess clutter, what you leave out will be more eye catching. Your favorite rooster cookie jar can be fully appreciated. It’s not easy, but discipline yourself to keep it that way. Set up a reward system for yourself whenever you clear the counters at the end of the day. Mine is a glass of wine.