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5 Things That Don't Belong On Your Kitchen Counters—And 3 That Do!

Countertops always seem to collect clutter, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Here’s how to organize your counter space and make the most of it, no matter how much—or how little—you happen to have. Plus, smart storage ideas for all of it.

5 min read

Whether you have two feet of countertop space or 20, chances are it doesn’t feel like nearly enough. And that’s probably because of your kitchen counter organization (or, well, the lack thereof). It’s easy to fall into the habit of piling tons of stuff on the counters, while crowding out the stuff that needs to be there most. Sound familiar? Here are 8 kitchen counter organization ideas that will help you figure out what to keep in that coveted spot—and what to get rid of. 

Banish: Appliances You Rarely Use

Banish: Appliances You Rarely Use

NationalCoffeeDay SmallImage    X
NationalCoffeeDay SmallImage X

Find another spot besides the countertop for appliances you don’t use on a regular basis. Sure, if you drink coffee every day, your coffee maker can stay out on your counters. (If you rarely make toast, though, your toaster should probably find a home in a cabinet or in your pantry. Same for that juicer, your slow cooker, and any other once-in-a-while small appliance that’s currently taking up space on your counter.

Banish: Mail and Other Paper Clutter

There’s something about the kitchen that attracts piles and piles of paper. Tell your family there’s a new rule: No paper allowed on the counters or kitchen table. The most important, must-deal-with-now papers—bills, permission slips and reminders—can go in our all-purpose clips and get hung on the fridge, so you’ll see them. Everything else gets sorted in another easy-to-grab spot besides the counter—or better yet, it gets dealt with, tossed or filed immediately.

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Keep: Canisters of Pantry Staples

You don’t want to go overboard here, but a few canisters (say, three to five) on your counter can do a few things. For one: The canisters add a little decorative touch. Two: They give you a place to store your most-used pantry ingredients. Three: They free up pantry shelves for other things that definitely do need to be stored there. Our iconic POP Containers do all of the above, plus they just got a super-smart redesign.

Banish: Wine Bottles

Your kitchen counter is actually the worst spot to store bottles of wine. Why? Because your kitchen’s temperature tends to fluctuate, and that’s not good for the vino. Steal space from your dining room to set up a little cart or shelf with all your extra bottles and your favorite wine opener.

Keep: Utensil Crock

Fill a crock with all your favorite tools—wooden spoons, tongs, a whisk —and let it live next to your stove. This way, you’ll be able to grab what you need at a moment’s notice. If you’d rather not assemble your own arsenal, we’ve got a great 15-piece set that’s complete with everything you’d need. Crock included.

Banish: Spices and Olive Oil

Banish: Spices and Olive Oil

Spice Organizer
Spice Organizer

Heat and light are the two worst things for your spices since they can degrade the flavors, and they can also make your olive oil turn. You’re better off storing spices and olive oil in a cabinet where it’s cooler and darker.

Banish: Cookbooks

We understand the impulse to want to keep your favorite cookbooks within reach, but storing them on your counter is just asking for trouble. Even the most careful cooks end up getting spills, splatters and stains all over the pages, so you’re better off keeping your go-to tomes on a shelf where they’re safe.

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Keep: Sinkware Organizer

Cramming a bunch of stuff on the counter can look junky—but that same stuff corralled on a tray or in a caddy? Suddenly, it looks like a purposeful vignette. Get a in-sink organizer, a caddy, or even a cute tray or cake stand to hold your dish soaps, sponge, scrub brush, ring dish and anything else you need for a dishwashing session.

Now that your counters are decluttered, are you motivated to do more? Check out these organization tips for the rest of your kitchen, plus our guide to organizing your cabinets and drawers.


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