Organization elevates any kitchen — but a clean, sparkling cooking space never happens by accident. For many homeowners, some of the biggest challenges to the ideal of a neat, decluttered kitchen are the countertops and pantry. These areas all too easily become catch-all storage spots, attracting everything from junk mail and school papers to leftover cooking supplies and snacks that never got put away. To help you get on top of these notorious problem areas, here are some strategies for decluttering and beautifying your space.
Clear the Counters of Everything but the Essential
Unlike the pantry, the countertops are not primarily storage space; they are work areas where daily meal prep and cooking takes place. Making this shift in mindset can help you change how you use them: Developing a habit of clearing them off is key. It opens up valuable prep space and makes the kitchen function better.
Strategically Create Zones of Keepers on the Counters
Anything that does live full-time on the counter has to earn its place by being a daily used item. Think cooking utensils or condiments, not holiday cookbooks or specialty ingredients. Even then, you’ll visually declutter the kitchen by creating zones for the items you constantly use, grouped by purpose and organized in containers or trays. This might mean a small turntable near the stove, for example, to house oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.
Create New Storage Spaces for Stuff That Had to Go
Whatever you removed from the countertops — spices, decorative items, pantry ingredients, etc. — needs a new home, which you may already have in cabinets and a pantry, or you may need to create one. If you have an open wall in the kitchen, consider adding new open shelving. Or, if there’s an unused area not actually in the kitchen but adjacent to it, you might add a storage solution there. Think creatively about organized ways to store supplies so that they’re off the counter but accessible.
Create Pantry Zones, Too
The kitchen’s true storage workhouse, the pantry tends to hold the bulk of dry goods, kitchen appliances, serving ware and more. To make the most of yours, start by grouping like things together. Then, create zones such as a shelf for baking items and a shelf for cooking items, baskets for chips or cereal, an area dedicated to sweet treats, etc. Use containers to designate clear groupings and stick to the system to stay organized.
Make It Pretty
Whether you’re talking about the counters or the pantry, if at all possible, choose organization solutions that are attractive. On the counters, anything that does stay on display will stand out, so you want it to look good. For the pantry, a visually pleasing storage space will be much easier and more enjoyable to use each day. From baskets and bins to trays and canisters, seek out the storage solutions that will look pretty, while also organizing your essentials. Stick to your style and choose the shelf baskets, modular storage, jars, lazy Susans and other products that fit it. Labels and/or markers can enhance the aesthetic, too.
Eliminate What You Can
Setting up a better organizational system becomes worlds easier when you’re not storing more than you need. Could you clear out some cookbooks you never use or that appliance you only reach for once a year? Are there expired condiments lurking in your shelves or counters? Decluttering your stuff opens up space, too.
Every kitchen benefits from thoughtful organization. To get yours set up with a practical, helpful system, start with the simple tips above. Once you’ve got the counters clear and the pantry organized, your entire kitchen experience improves.
Currently serving as Vice President of Brand at Michael Aram, David Lindberg is known for his analytical prowess and strategic thinking, which have contributed to his reputation as a skilled and innovative executive. With more than a decade of experience in the retail industry, Lindberg is a seasoned business executive with a proven track record of success. Throughout his career, he has held leadership positions in technology and retail management, leveraging his expertise to drive growth and profitability for businesses.