Less Is More

Less Is More

The ultimate guide to organizing your kitchen counters.

Your kitchen counters could be the most valuable real estate in your entire house. Whether you’ve got a tiny, no-frills cooking space or a designer kitchen with an island the size of Borneo, there never seems to be quite as much kitchen counter space as you need to unleash your culinary potential.

An efficient, well-organized countertop, says Susan Fisher, professor of food and nutrition at Meredith College in Raleigh, North Carolina, “sends a signal that says, ‘What would you like to do today?’ It sets a tone for how you feel about the space and probably influences what you do there.”

Do something amazing in your kitchen - no matter what size it is. Start organizing your kitchen counters to make the most of every square inch of space you’ve already got. Here are some creative ideas.

Clear the decks

Remove everything from your kitchen counters and give them a good scrub. Then throw away anything that looks suspicious - the spice jars that have gathered dust for years, the old birthday-party invitations, the outdated catalogs.

Assess the appliances

Look at everything that used to live on your countertop and ask yourself this question: Have I used this item in the past month? If not, find a new home for it. Don’t like toast? Put the toaster in the back of the closet. Haven’t touched the blender since 2004? Donate it to the neighborhood yard sale. Nothing goes on the kitchen counter that you don’t use just about every day.

Purge the paper

Chances are there’s a forest full of paper sitting on your kitchen counter. Keep the clutter at bay by organizing a filing system in one of the cabinets, with a folder for each member of the family. Set aside time each week or month to deal with the contents.

Divide and conquer

Think about what you want to do in your kitchen, and divvy your countertop accordingly. For example, put utensils like spatulas and whisks in a piece of crockery next to your stove. If you enjoy baking, designate one area for storing your mixer, rolling out dough, and stacking your mixing bowls.

Go vertical

Your horizontal kitchen counter space is at a premium, but chances are you’ve got plenty of untouched vertical space that would be perfect for organizing your kitchen. Try a Peg-Board and hooks for pots and pans or buy a pull-down under-cabinet organizer for your spices.