21 Easy Ways to Declutter and Organize Kitchen Counters Now

20 Ideas to Declutter Kitchen Counters Now

The kitchen is the heart of the home for many of us. It’s where we cook, eat, congregate, do homework, share heartfelt conversations over coffee…and so much more.

It’s also often the most cluttered of spaces, simply because it’s the most used. That counter can become a dumping ground for mail, empty cereal boxes, school permission slips and car keys (not to mention dirty dishes, small appliances and cooking utensils.)

And let’s be honest: those cluttered counters probably aren’t getting cleaned as often (or as thoroughly) as they should. Am I right?

If your kitchen countertops are looking a bit chaotic, this post is for you. It’s time to take back control and declutter those kitchen counters now. I promise it can be done! I’ve rounded up my favorite simple tips and organization ideas to whip that space back into shape and keep them that way.

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1. Remove What Doesn’t Belong in the Kitchen

Removing items that don't belong helps declutter kitchen counters.
Photo Credit: Canva.com

The first idea should be the easiest!

Decide what will live in your kitchen counter space and what belongs in another area of the house. Laundry, dog leashes, mail and bills probably don’t belong. Take them off the counters and put them in their proper place.

Psst…if paper, junk mail and bills are an issue in your household, check out my tips to organize mail and bills here.

In addition, remove anything from the counters that is broken. If you’re planning to repair a small appliance or gadget, put it in your garage, on your workbench, or in the trunk of your car and set a reminder to get it fixed. Let’s say 30 days.

If you haven’t repaired it in the chosen timeframe, it’s time to trash it!

2. Keep Only What You Use on a Daily Basis on Kitchen Counters

Coffee Station Organization
Photo Credit: Organizenvy

One of the best ways to declutter and organize kitchen counters is to pare down what gets stored on them.

A smart rule for small kitchens is to keep only daily-use items on the counter:

  • Coffee maker and canisters for coffee and tea
  • Toaster
  • Crock for cooking utensils
  • Cutting board
  • Knife block
  • Paper towel holder
  • Hand soap and lotion next to the faucet

Place items you use on weekends (like that waffle maker) in a nearby, easy-to-access cabinet. Store items you use seasonally or just for special occasions in the back of your cabinets, above the refrigerator, at the top of the pantry, etc.


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3. Donate Duplicates & Unload Unused Items

Declutter kitchen counters by removing duplicate or unused items.
Photo Credit: Canva.com

The next step is to declutter duplicate or unused items.

First, sort all of your kitchen counter items by type.

Do you see duplicate items? I went through this exercise in my kitchen recently and discovered I had four ladles and about a dozen spatulas. I have no idea why.

Aim to pare down and donate, sell or give away the extras. Store duplicates that are part of a seasonal set (or used on special occasions) in a cabinet or pantry.

Look at the items that remain. How many haven’t been used in a while? Be honest. Anything that hasn’t been touched in at least a year has overstayed its welcome. Time to sell or donate.

4. Create Zones For Easy Access to Kitchen Items

Declutter kitchen counters by assigning zones for items and storing them in groups.
Photo Credit: Canva.com and Organizenvy

Counters look cluttered when they lack organization. A great way to organize is to create zones (areas where specific items are stored) to keep the space efficient and orderly. In fact, creating zones is one of my favorite organization tips.

Here are some common kitchen zones:

  • Cutting boards and knife block for food prep
  • Spices
  • Utensils for the stovetop
  • Baking tools
  • Coffee/tea station

Plan your zones for maximum efficiency. For instance, keep the food prep items near the refrigerator and stove. Put the coffee station underneath the cabinet that stores mugs. (And so on.)


Why Zones Are the Best Way to Organize Your Home

5. Maximize Countertop Space With Multi-Purpose Kitchen Appliances

Declutter kitchen counters with space-saving multi-purpose appliances
Photo Credit: Organizenvy

Fewer “things” on the kitchen counters make the space feel peaceful and decluttered. Consider investing in multi-use appliances that take up less space than their individual counterparts.

For example, the photo above shows my beloved Cuisinart Convection Air Fryer Toaster Oven. It comes with settings for air frying, toasting, convection baking, and traditional baking. It gets used every day and fits perfectly under my corner cabinet. A lovely way to declutter kitchen counters and maximize countertop space.

Cuisinart Air Fryer + Convection Toaster Oven, 8-1 Oven with Bake, Grill, Broil & Warm Options, Stainless Steel, TOA-70

I also love this retro compact breakfast station with built-in toaster oven, griddle and coffee maker. It’s great for small countertops:

Nostalgia BSET300RETRORED 3-in-1 Family Size Breakfast Station, Red


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6. Clean As You Cook

Declutter kitchen counters by consistently cleaning as you cook.
Photo Credit: Canva.com

This clean kitchen tip came from my sweet great-grandmother, Verna, who passed it to my mother, who passed it to me. In fact, I can hear my mom say it in my head as I’m preparing dinner or baking brownies:

Clean as you cook.

It’s so simple. Put ingredients away as soon as they are used. Start loading the dishwasher while dinner’s on the stove. When you do this consistently, there will be less clutter to clean every night.

7. Organize Spices in a Rack

People who cook a lot tend to use spices. And when space is lacking, spice jars and bottles end up cluttering the counters. One way to combat this is with an attractive countertop spice rack:

Belwares Revolving Spice Rack Organizer - Spinning Countertop Herb and Spice Organizer with 12 Glass Jar Bottles and Labels (Spices Not Included)

I like this option because it’s compact and the spice jars are all uniform in size. And I’m a huge fan of the Lazy Susan-style spin function. With two tiers it offers plenty of space to store all of your commonly-used spices and herbs.

8. Store Everyday Spices on the Inside of a Cabinet Door

Spice Storage for a Small Kitchen: declutter kitchen Counters by storing everyday spices on the inside of a cabinet.
Photo Credit: Organizenvy

It’s ok to keep everyday spices like salt, pepper, and garlic powder on the counter. However, if you want to get them off the countertop but keep them within easy reach, I have a handy tip for you.

I bought these stick-on spice holders for the cabinet next to my stove, and they work like a charm. (They also free up precious cabinet space.)

No products found.

9. Use Magnetic Spice Holders on the Refrigerator

Is your refrigerator situated near your stove? If so, you’re in luck. That side of your fridge is the perfect place to keep spices – and help achieve your goal: declutter kitchen counters.

I love these magnetic spice tins! They are stylishly stainless steel and have clear tops so you can see the contents. They also come with pre-printed labels for just about every spice and herb you can imagine.

Declutter kitchen counters by storing spices in magnetic jars on the side of the refrigerator.
Photo Credit: Organizenvy


Spice Storage Ideas for Small Kitchens

10. Store Knives On a Magnetic Knife Strip on the Fridge

Speaking of fridge magnets…you can also store your knives on a magnetic strip on the side of the fridge. This keeps them off the counter and away from small, curious hands, too.

Modern Innovations 16 Inch Magnetic Knife Holder for Refrigerator, Magnetic Knife Holders for Fridge or Kitchen Wall No Drilling, Magnet Strips for Knives & Metal Utensils, Tool Rack, Stainless Steel

11. Solutions to Fit More Items in Kitchen Drawers

Sometimes, our kitchen counters are cluttered because we aren’t optimizing our kitchen drawer space. I’ve found some really nice solutions that help fit more in the drawer!

Drawer Spice Organizer

This highly-rated spice tray fits 28 spice jars (jars included!) and comes with nearly 400 labels and a chalk marker to ensure you know exactly what’s in each jar. Just measure your drawer to be sure it’ll fit.

SpaceAid Spice Drawer Organizer with 28 Spice Jars, 386 Spice Labels, 4 Tier Seasoning Rack Tray Insert for Kitchen Drawers, 13' Wide x 17.5' Deep

Spring-Loaded Kitchen Drawer Dividers

Drawer organizers are great, but occasionally the pre-formed compartments won’t fit our larger kitchen tools and gadgets. As a result, those tools and gadgets end up on the counter.

Instead of trying to make your tools fit the drawer, make the drawer fit the tools– with these super-handy spring-loaded dividers. They allow you to completely customize your kitchen drawers so you can fit more in them!

Utoplike 4 PCS Bamboo Kitchen Drawer Dividers, Adjustable Drawer Organizers for Socks, Spring Loaded, Works in Drawer for Bedroom, Kitchen, Dresser, Bathroom, Desk

Stacked Silverware Organizer

This clever contraption stacks silverware in a compact tray, creating space to store more kitchen tools in the drawer:

Joseph Joseph DrawerStore Compact Utensil Organizer For Kitchen Drawer Silverware, Flatware Tray, Small, Grey


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12. Put the Dish Drying Rack in the Sink

A stack of drying dishes can take up a ton of counter space. Consider a drying rack that sits IN the sink instead of next to it. This option is expandable to fit a range of sink sizes:

MAXCOOK Expandable Dish Drying Rack, Dish Drainers for Inside Sink, On Counter or Over The Sink, Rustproof Stainless Steel

13. Ditch the Fruit Bowl and Install a Hanging Fruit Basket

Take that fruit basket off the counter, and free up precious space. Try a tiered hanging fruit basket instead. Bonus points if you can find a spot that everyone will see, so the fruit gets eaten before it’s overripe!

CAXXA 3-Tier Hanging Basket Fruit Organizer Kitchen Heavy Duty Wire Organizer with 2 Free Bonus Metal Ceiling Hooks, Black

14. Mount Paper Towels Under the Cabinet

Every item that comes off the counter helps keep it clutter-free. This includes the paper towel roll. Try an under-cabinet mount like this:

YIGII Paper Towel Holder Under Cabinet - Self Adhesive Paper Towel Rack Wall Mount for Kitchen, SUS-304 Stainless Steel Brushed

15. Install a Hanging Shelf

A well-placed set of floating shelves adds storage and style to an empty wall. And it’ll help you declutter the counters, too. This option includes a bar for paper towels or a kitchen towel:

BESy Floating Shelves Wall Mounted Storage Shelves with Towel Rack Rails Bar, Paper Towel Holder with Shelf for Kitchen, Bathroom Tissue Roll Hanger, Matte Black Metal Frame, Set of 2 Brown

16. Use Cup-Hangers

The right cabinet storage frees up tons of space on the kitchen counters!

Use cup hangers to keep coffee mugs and teacups off the countertop. They can be installed inside a cabinet or underneath, and they can slide over a shelf or be drilled into the wood.

Organize glassware in cupboards to help declutter kitchen counters.
Photo Credit: Organizenvy


Gorgeous Ways to Organize Glassware, Cups and Water Bottles

17. Maximize Vertical Space in Cabinets

Open your cabinet. Do you see empty space above items stored there? You’re missing out on valuable storage! A few strategic expandable shelves in the cabinet can literally double your storage space and get those pesky items off the kitchen counter.

Deco Brothers Expandable Cabinet Shelf Organizer for Kitchen Cabinet and Counter, Silver

18. Clear Off Those Cookbooks

I rarely use cookbooks these days. I have a handful of recipes I like for the holidays or large gatherings, but I use those only occasionally. Instead, I find myself often using my iPad to look up and cook from recipes.

Be honest: do you need all of those cookbooks on your kitchen counters? Can they be stored in a cabinet or pantry (or donated to the library) instead? Try taking a picture of your favorite recipe, or see if it lives somewhere online. You can refer to it from your phone or tablet instead.

One solution my sister-in-law came up with was to install these rustic magazine holders on the wall next to her pantry. She keeps copies of her favorite recipes, magazines and cookbooks in them.

Photo Credit: Kim Breitegan

19. Hang Utensils From the Backsplash

You don’t have to store cooking utensils on the countertop. Consider hanging them from the backsplash instead. There are a few ways to do this. You can install a wall-mounted hanger if you don’t mind drilling:

Kitchen Utensil Rack,Wall Mounted Hanger,Space Saver Stainless Steel Rack Rail Storage Organizer Kitchen Tools for Hanging Knives, Spoon,Pot and Pan with 8 Removable S Hooks, 20 inches (50CM 8 Hooks)

Or you can try adhesive or suction-mounted hooks on a smooth tile backsplash.

iRomic Suction Cup Hook Hanger Holder Rack Rail Towel Bar Organizer(2PCS for Bathroom Shower Wreath, Loofah,Robe,Towel,Coat,Cloth,Kitchen Utensils,Wall Mounted on Glass Door,Window,Tile Wall

20. Store Dish Soap & Sponges in the Kitchen Cabinets Under the Sink

Another way to keep counters from looking cluttered is to free them from bottles of dish soap, sponges and scrubbers around the sink. Instead, use organizers to store them under the sink (but within easy reach):

Easiest Way to Organize Under the Kitchen Sink
Photo Credit: Organizenvy

Check out my post on the easiest way to organize beneath the kitchen sink for ideas and links to products!

21. Create a Daily Habit: 5 Minutes to Declutter Kitchen Counters

I like to gamify my cleaning and organizing, especially when I’m tired or feeling unmotivated. Give this a try: set a timer for 5 minutes of straight kitchen countertop organization. During that time, see how much you can declutter and clean from your counters. You might be surprised how quickly they start to look better!

Repeat this process throughout the course of a day or two until your counters are clear and chaos-free. Once you’ve got them where you want them, simply repeat that 5-minute declutter once a day.

Happy organizing!


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Last update on 2024-05-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API