How to Banish Kitchen Clutter in 4 Easy Steps

Liz Merritt
October 17, 2017
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My inbox pinged with a shocking email yesterday. “69 Days Until Christmas!” That can’t possibly be. For busy Boomers with seemingly busier schedules, thinking about all the preparation that goes into the holidays can be overwhelming.

That realization lit a fire under my fanny to get the kitchen clutter under control before everything else gets out of hand. Here’s how I narrowed the task to four areas to save my sanity and some time.

Keep the Counters Clear

banish kitchen clutter

Cluttered countertops can quickly overtake your kitchen.

Countertops are the centerpoint of your kitchen. If you can succeed in keeping clutter off of the counters you are already most of the way there! To keep your counters clear and clutter free, start here.

  • Keep small appliances in cabinets. My only exception to this rule is my coffee maker because it gets used daily. Stow all other small appliances in cupboards, cabinets or the pantry when not in use. This helps keep your counters clear and free for meal prepping.
  • Create a place for keys and mail. How many of us walk into the house after a long day and toss our keys and mail onto the kitchen counter? I know am guilty from time to time. Instead, hang a key hook and/or mail organizer near the door or in a main entryway. Walk in. Deposit the items in your hand and never worry about losing or misplacing them again.
  • Always unload the dishwasher immediately after it’s done. This way, any and all dirty dishes can be placed straight into the dishwasher stacking up in the sink or counters.
  • Skip the knick-knacks, or keep to a bare minimum. Our kitchens should be considered the tchotchke-free zone. Stow the stuffed roosters and salt-and-pepper shaker collection.
  • Stow cutting boards away in the drawer under the oven with your baking pans. They’ll stack nicely and not occupy any unnecessary counter space.

Designate a Junk Drawer

Banish Kitchen Clutter

Pick one drawer and designate it the junk drawer.

When we talk about decluttering our kitchens, there’s one staple that can save our bacon on a daily basis: the junk drawer. It’s that drawer you open up and toss stuff when you are in a rush or you simply don’t know what else to do with it.

The key is to only allow one drawer to be used like this, and commit to cleaning out that drawer every six months. I’m always astounded by the junk that collects there, and most of it goes straight into the trash can.

Keep Cabinets Closed

Something as simple as making sure your cabinets are closed really does help your kitchen look neater. What’s hidden inside the cabinets doesn’t have to be perfectly ordered and will provide at least a visual break from the clutter.

For those open-shelving or glass cabinet types, this will be a little more challenging. You’ll need to be more attentive to what’s behind the glass, which will likely compel more decluttering over time.

My dog actually loves to nudge open the pantry door (where her treats are stored) if I leave it open even a tiny crack. Before I know it, she and her little Yorkie friend are in there rooting around and have left the door wide open for all to see.

Clear the Fridge

banish kitchen clutter

Display refrigerator art temporarily, and then store safely in a scrapbook or memento box.

Many of us have quite the collection of the grandkids’ artwork stuck to the refrigerator with colorful magnets for all to see. The moment our young Picassos lovingly hand them to us, we grab a magnet and proudly hang them on the fridge for all to see.

Keep doing that, but after one week, transfer the treasures into a special box or scrapbook just for the grandkids. Show them how you are collecting their precious mementos. And tell them how much joy it brings to look through all the beautiful things they have made.

Finally, get rid of whatever you have lurking on top of the fridge. Then climb on up there and wipe down the dust. I’m guilty of putting random stuff on top of the fridge when I just don’t know what else to do with it.

So look up when you’re scanning the kitchen for clutter and either store, sell or donate whatever you find on top of the fridge.

With these four easy steps, our kitchens get the “all-clear” for the holiday season. And  we can welcome family and friends to share the treats that surely will emerge from our ovens.


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