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Andrea G




January 3rd, 2021


Written by Shifrah Combiths on

My kitchen is pretty organized. (Cool brag, I know.) I can tell you where to find anything that you need, which means that there’s a specific place for everything in the kitchen. I’ve thought out ways to store tricky items, I’ve taken measures to store things off of my countertops, and I’ve had several years to tweak and reorganize our kitchen space.

But even with all these tactics, my kitchen can still end up looking cluttered sometimes, because there are a few organizing mistakes (mistakes lots of us make!) that can make a space feel more cluttered than it is. Luckily I’ve learned to stop these things and use them to trigger a reset. And I’m willing to share my list of top offenders. Let’s take a look.

1. Keeping too many extra items out on the counter.

Having too many items out on the counter is probably the biggest offender when it comes to crowded-looking kitchens. As much as space and convenience allow, keep small appliances and other items in cabinets or drawers. Items that get used frequently, like the coffee maker, for instance, can stay out, but tuck away whatever you can while still maintaining accessibility and efficiency. I recently moved my utensils from a crock on the counter to inside a drawer and I’ve loved the streamlined look it lends to a whole section of my counter. Other ideas include switching from a countertop knife block to an in-drawer unit, and moving mugs from a mug tree to inside a cabinet.

2. Not using trays or plates.

Some items — such as soap dispensers, your salt cellar, ring dishes, etc! — will have to remain out on your counters. Adding a tray, cake stand, or plate keeps these smaller items from looking like they’re floating. A tray gives these items a specific place to be (a home base, if you will). When they’re there, your kitchen looks perfectly put in place.

3. Letting paper clutter linger.

I’m guilty of setting mail and other papers down on the counter. It instantly makes the kitchen look messy. What’s worse is that it tends to accumulate. While it’s unrealistic to ban papers from the kitchen, at least in my world, regularly clearing it off can help keep you ahead of the issue. If you have a routine for shutting down the kitchen, make sure clearing off papers is part of it.

4. Overstuffing anything.

Anything that’s too full looks untidy, even if it’s technically in order. This is true for the utensil caddy, the drawer of small tools, and the fridge and pantry. Try decluttering your tools (remember, you usually don’t need duplicates) and build in habits like clearing out leftovers from the fridge before you grocery shop. Adding a weekly pantry tidy-up can help you take stock of inventory so you don’t over-buy.

5. Keeping too many things on the fridge.

Affixing papers and photos to the refrigerator certainly gives your home a lived-in, homey look. Too often, however, these papers become “invisible” and we end up doing nothing more than making our fridge exteriors look a bit shaggy. Digitize what you can, take care of the action items represented by others, and maybe keep that one masterpiece so it really shines.

6. Not using cabinet organizers.

You know what makes a kitchen look and feel overwhelming? Having to unload items to get to the thing you need. Avalanches of baking dishes and spices that spill out of cabinets do not make for a pleasant cooking experience. Invest in instant space-making organizers like turntables and shelf risers to infuse your cabinet interiors with order.