Home Organization

Kitchen Counter Organizing Ideas: How To Keep Your Small Kitchen Counter Clear At All Times

Keeping your kitchen counter clear at all times is really a challenge for most people. Fortunately, with just the click of a finger, there are a lot of organizing ideas that you can follow (thanks to the internet). With a little bit of creativity and help from your amazing organizing products, keeping your small kitchen counter clear at all times is possible.

Your kitchen counter is an essential part of the kitchen because this is where you prepare your meals, place many of the items that you receive such as mail, where you bake your favorite cookies and if you have kids, this is where they finish up their school science projects.Therefore, it’s important to keep the space clean and organized.

In my article, Why Cleaning Keeps Your Home Organized, will feel tired immediately if you wake up to a messy kitchen and a sink full of dirty dishes.You will feel like you’ve done too much work and you will be done working for a day. This is definitely a No! No! You need to keep your kitchen clean because your kitchen can set the tone for the day. On the other hand, waking up to a clean countertop allows for a fresh start and allows you to move freely and find what you need quickly.

Below are some kitchen counter organizing ideas that I personally use to keep my small kitchen counter clutter free at all times. See also my article, How To Organize Your Small Kitchen, to know the 3 Basic Kitchen Organizing Rules and the 7 steps to know what item to place where so you can have a functional and well organized small kitchen and 17 Easy To Follow Cabinet Organization Ideas to know the different ways to utilize every inch of your kitchen cabinet space.

5 Practical Kitchen Counter Organizing Ideas To Keep Your Space Clear

1.  Keeping Everything Out Of Sight As Much As Possible

You can organize your counters by keeping them as empty and clutter-free as possible. Store all of your kitchen tools in cabinets, drawers, or shelves. I know it’s easier said than done!  You are  probably thinking that this rule would never be applicable to a small kitchen, but that is not true at all.  You do not need to have a bigger kitchen to keep your counters clear at all times. You just need to remove everything that does not belong in the kitchen and only keep items that are essential. Identify kitchen tools that you and your family use everyday and find a place to store them in your most accessible cabinet or drawer. All the other kitchen tools that are not frequently used can be stored in your pantry or in the uppermost or inner part of your cabinets.

As for kitchen tools that you use everyday and are too big to put inside the cabinet like your toaster oven, position them as far away as possible from the gas stove to avoid fire tragedies or far from the kitchen sink to avoid water damage. Below are some creative kitchen counter organizing ideas to place your toaster:

  • Under Cabinet – buy a toaster oven that can be mounted under your kitchen cabinet to save your counter space. Kitchen Counter Organizing Ideas
  • Wall – identify a wall in your kitchen that is near to the power outlet that you could use to hang your toaster oven. You can buy a shelf bracket that is specifically made for toaster ovens and microwaves. Kitchen Counter Organizing Ideas
  • Toaster Oven Rack – if you have no other option but to place your toaster on your counter, then it’s better to make use of the space by using a toaster oven rack. You can place your toaster oven underneath the rack while you can use the table to store your other kitchen essentials such as spices, spatulas and other small kitchen appliances. Kitchen Counter Organizing Ideas
  • Use A Decorative Wooden Tray – place a wooden tray on top of the oven toaster and utilize the wooden tray to store your small kitchen essentials. A toaster oven is unlikely to set fire to a wood surface. You can also buy a cutting board that is also design to be placed on top of the oven. Kitchen Counter Organizing Ideas

2. Give Your Kitchen Tools A Home Where They Belong

Giving a permanent home to your essentials is always part of the organizing process. When designating a home for your essentials always follow the F-F-L (Function, Frequency and Location) Method, group your essentials based on their use and then put all the frequently used items in the most accessible cabinet or drawer in your kitchen. See the Organizing 101: How To Put Things In Order The Japanese Way, to know more about the F-F-L method.

Just like any of your essentials, your kitchen tools need to have a home in your kitchen where you use them. Why? You don’t want constant back and forth movements just to get a job done so it’s better to have the kitchen essentials right where you use them. You should be able get all the necessary items in one place. For example, if you drink coffee on an occasional basis only, your coffeemaker should not be placed on your kitchen counter but instead find a home for your coffee maker in your cabinet or in your pantry. But in my case, I drink coffee every morning and I use a coffee french press and a kettle to make coffee. So I designated a home for these two essentials (french press coffee maker and kettle) together with my sugar containers  in the cabinet below my coffee mugs cabinet. I then store my coffee in the drawer underneath, which is also near to the stove. This is like adopting the concept of a one stop shop! So when the time comes to make coffee, I only need to go to one spot of the kitchen to get all of the items needed to make coffee.

3. Maximize your Cabinet Storage Space

You can minimize the items placed on your kitchen counters by maximizing your cabinet storage space or using your backsplash or walls to store your kitchen essentials. However, if you have a small kitchen like mine, your backsplash area or wall area will also be small. Therefore, if you will be using the wall to add additional storage space and not be careful about it, your kitchen may end up looking cluttered. In my case, I chose not to utilize my kitchen backsplash and instead I maximized the use of my kitchen cabinet storage space.

Below are the most common kitchen items found on the kitchen counters. However, with the application of some kitchen counter organizing ideas, you will realize that the majority of the kitchen items can be stored in your cabinets.

  • Coffee Maker – If you are a coffee lover, there is no better place to put your coffee maker but on your kitchen counter. Designate a coffee zone where you place all your coffee essentials within the same area like mugs, coffee and sugar. However, you can minimize the use of your counter space by using a space saving coffee maker and with the use of a coffee pod drawer, you will able to maximize the use of the space. Kitchen Counter Organizing Ideas Kitchen Counter Organizing Ideas
  • Use A Decorative Dish Drying Mat Instead of a Drying Rack – If you are just like me, you do not run the dishwasher everyday and prefer to wash by hand all pots, pans and big containers. If this is you then a dish rack is a must. However, a dish rack can make your kitchen look cluttered especially for a small kitchen. So use a decorative drying mat instead and make it a habit to dry all the dishes right after you have washed them and put them back right away to their designated cabinet. In this way, even though you can see the drying mat, your kitchen counter will still look empty or clear and definitely will not look cluttered.
  • Mixer – There are very few cabinets or drawers that can store a large kitchen appliance like your mixer and if there is such a cabinet, they are most likely a customized. In my case, I do not have a mixer because I am not really a baker but I do have a hand held blender with stick mixer that gets the job done for my once in a while baking activities.  The good thing about this is that the hand held blender requires very little space in my cabinet drawer. If a customized cabinet is not an option for you, spend a few hundred bucks to buy a good mixer and make it a statement piece in your kitchen. Kitchen counters are really an ideal place for mixers if you bake often. If you are looking for a good mixer, a KitchenAid mixer comes with different happy colors that you actually cannot help but to look at it all time.

    Image Source: Pinterest

    However, if you have money to give your mixer a space by customizing your kitchen cabinet below are some of the Kitchen Counter Organizing Ideas that you can use:

    • A Sturdy Pullout Drawer – If you do not mind bending every time you need a mixer, a sturdy pullout drawer will work for you. This sturdy pullout drawer keeps your mixer in reach without taking up too much space on the kitchen counter. Your cabinetmaker should know that you intend to store heavy items here, so they can verify the weight rating of the drawer slides.

      Image Source: Pinterest

    • Rev-A-Shelf-Mixer/ Appliance Lift Soft-Close Mechanism without Shelf – You need to have quick and easy access to your mixer. Using the Rev-A-Shelf Mixer Soft Lift you can open the cabinet door and voila, you can easily pull the mixer out and put it on the shelf. Then, you can also store it away with ease.

      Image Source: Pinterest

  • Paper Towels – They should be easy to reach! It’s important to be able grab them easily when you need them. They should be kept in a convenient place which is near the kitchen sink. In my case, I place our paper towels beside the oven toaster which is also near to the kitchen sink. One good thing of having a small kitchen is that everything is within reach.
  • Salt and Pepper Shakers and Olive Oil – Although these items are the most frequently used essentials in your kitchen and ideally they should be stored on the counter. However, it is still better if you keep them out of sight by storing them inside the cabinet beside the stove. That’s what I did. I designated a cabinet as a “garage for my most frequently used items”.  I also store fruits that can not be refrigerated in the same cabinet. This is also one of our ways to keep fruit flies out of our kitchen by keeping fruit inside the cabinet.
  • Cutting Boards – Don’t you think that large cutting boards look great on kitchen countertops? It’s great if you have the space for it but if you don’t have space in your kitchen just like my kitchen, it is best to store it away until you need it so that it doesn’t clutter your countertop. I store my cutting boards in the upper cabinet where I can easily access them.

    In the picture all the items on the 3rd shelf are all items that are used only on occasional basis.

  • Rice Cooker – If you cook rice once a week, the rice cooker does not need to take up counter space. Find a place for your rice cooker in your pantry or if not, place it in the inner part of your blind corner cabinet. However, I store my rice cooker in the most accessible area of my blind corner cabinet as I usually cook rice at least 3 times a week. All the cooking pans that I use when I need to cook large quantities are all placed in the innermost part of the blind corner cabinet. And to fully maximize the usage of my cabinets, I placed a plastic basket in front of these cooking pans to store all used hand towels. See How To Organize Your Blind Corner Cabinet to know how to fully maximize the usage of your blind corner cabinet in an organized way.
  • Entertaining Dishware, Serving Plates and Appliance You Rarely Use – These items should never be placed on your kitchen counter. Store these items in the uppermost shelf of your upper cabinet or your pantry or if the item is bulky and heavy store them in the bottom part of your pantry for safety reasons.

4. Use Beautiful Containers

There are some instances when you cannot avoid putting some items on your counter, such olive oil, salt, pepper and spices. You can dress them up with a stylish wooden elegant tunable tray. A tray serves two purposes. The first is that a tray helps to keep the category organized and the second, it gives easy accessibility to the entire category.

Image Source: Pinterest

In my case, I took this opportunity to add decoration to my kitchen by utilizing the space above the toaster oven. I placed a decorative wooden tray above the toaster oven so I could add some decorative kitchen pieces.

5. Designate A Place For Your Future Clutter

Whether you like it or not, there is always one part in your kitchen that will serve as a drop zone for your keys, toys, and mail especially your junk mail. Junk mail can take up space on your counter if you are not be proactive in getting rid of it. If you cannot designate a drawer in your kitchen for your junk also known as junk drawer, you need to make it habit to get rid of your junk as soon as it is received or at least before you go to bed.

Kitchen Counter Organizing Ideas: Final Thoughts

Your kitchen counter should be treated as your work space not as a storage space. This is because when you prepare food, which is at least 3 times a day,  you actually need a good amount of space so you can move freely to be able to get the job done without any restriction.  You want your stay in the kitchen as pleasant as possible so you will be able to get the job done quickly and efficiently. Just like in any workplace, when employees are working in a clean and organized workspace they will be able to stay focused on a task and therefore, will lead to an increase in productivity. The same is true in your home, especially your kitchen counter.  A clean and clutter free kitchen counter will always gives you a nice starting point to be productive because you can start cooking without spending time clearing off your kitchen counter. Nobody wants to waste time!

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