How to Declutter Kitchen Counters (and KEEP Them That Way!)

When you are trying to organize your home, a good place to start is your kitchen counters. I’m going to show you how to declutter kitchen counters AND keep them that way!

Sometimes we organize an area of our home, but then next week, it’s a mess again! It’s time to break the cycle and declutter your kitchen for good!

You’d be surprised at how much more in control you will feel when your kitchen counters are clear and organized.

Feeling overwhelmed by the clutter and not sure where to start?

Check out my 9 Effective Decluttering Tips when You Are Feeling Overwhelmed post. I make it easy (and kinda fun!) to get started with decluttering your home.

declutter kitchen counters

Declutter Kitchen Counters – 6 Easy Steps

The steps to decluttering your kitchen counters and keeping them that way are very simple.

  • Clear Your Counters Completely
  • Wipe Down Counters
  • Sort Through Clutter
  • Keep Only What You Need
  • Organize What’s Remaining
  • Start a New Habit

1. Clearing Your Counters

The first step in the process is to completely clear your counters. You want to carry everything from your kitchen countertop and place them on your dining table (or anywhere else you have space).

You want your counters to be totally clear, so remove EVERYTHING! Yes, I know it seems like a lot of work, but it’s worth it! I promise!

2. Wipe Down Counters

Now that your counters are completely clear, it’s nice and easy to give them a good clean.

You can use your favorite cleaner or try using a DIY vinegar cleaner (like the one I recommend in this Quick Cleaning Tips post).

While you’re at it, don’t forget to wipe down your backslash and cabinet doors too!

Clean kitchen counters

3. Sort Through Clutters

Now that your counters are sparkling clean, you can tackle your pile of kitchen counter clutter.

Go through everything and make piles of similar items. Put all small appliances together, all paperwork, all cooking utensils and so on.

It’s much easier to know what you have and organize it if it is sorted into piles (that’s a Professional Organizer’s secret tip!).

4. Keep Only What You Need

Now that you have your piles, you will need to sort through each one and decide what you are going to keep on the counter, what can be put away somewhere else and what can be trashed or donated.

If you have trouble deciding what to keep, then check out my post about the KonMari method of sorting through possessions.

You want to only keep on your counter the items that you use EVERY DAY. Otherwise, find a new home for it in a cabinet or other area of the house.

Our counter space is valuable real estate, don’t waste it on items that aren’t essential.

Keeping your blender out all the time is great if you use it every morning to make a smoothie, but it’s just taking up space if you only it occasionally.

5. Organize What’s Remaining

Once you have put away any of the items that you don’t want to return to your kitchen counter, all you should be left with is a pile of stuff that is going to remain on your counters.

organized kitchen

Before you return these items to your countertop, I want you to think about how you use it. Does it make sense for your coffee maker to be the opposite side of the kitchen to your mugs?

You want to create ‘zones’ to make your counter space more useable. For example:

  • Keep utensils, oils, and herbs next to your stove (if you use those things daily).
  • Have your coffee maker near where you store your mugs and coffee.
  • If you have a knife block or chopping boards, then keep those in the areas that you like to prepare food on.

Another way to keep your supplies organized and make it easier to clean is to keep similar items on a tray or in a basket or box. For instance, I have my cooking oils, salt, pepper and spices on a small tray. When it’s time to wipe down my counters, I just have to move the tray, instead of each individual item. (Read this post for more smarter cleaning tips)

6. Start a New Habit

Congratulations! You’ve got beautifully clear, clean and organized counters! Now what?

decluttered kitchen counter

How are you going to keep them clear and decluttered? Well, you need to first figure out WHY they got so messy in the first place.

Do you often dump your mail on the kitchen counter? Do you leave out spices or other ingredients once you’re finished with them? Are you terrible about loading and unloading the dishwasher?

You need to identify WHY your counters got cluttered before, and then form new habits to stop that happening again.

For example: If you tend to dump your mail on the kitchen counter, then practice the new habit of sorting through your mail as soon as you bring it in the house. Trash anything you don’t need and file the rest (or have a basket to keep bills etc in util you’re ready to pay them).

Or if you have a lot of plastic containers that never seem to be put away, then make a habit of tidying them away every morning while your coffee is brewing.

Resist the urge to pile dirty dishes on your counter or in your sink. Instead, try running your dishwasher every night and then emptying it first thing in the morning. That way, all your dirty dishes during the day can go straight into the dishwasher.

Practice Makes Perfect

It might take time for you to get into your new habit of keeping your kitchen counters clean, but it’s worth the effort!

Don’t beat yourself up if you forget sometimes, just tidy up and start again! Eventually, it will become a habit to always have decluttered kitchen counters!