How to Declutter Kitchen Counters Quickly

These tips for how to declutter kitchen counters are perfect if you are in serious need of a kitchen organization overhaul. Use these kitchen decluttering tips to clear your countertops once and for all.

Clutter = Mess, and Mess = Stress.

That’s why I’m a big proponent of keeping clutter and knick-knacks to a minimum. Although, I have to admit it can be really difficult with two kids’ worth of toys/clothes/birthday party favors/bubblegum machine toys/lifetime supply of crayons… you get the idea. And not to mention, a husband that drops his dirty shorts right in front of the hamper instead of IN the hamper.

And I don’t know about you, but my kitchen is a prime spot for collecting clutter. It’s why I made these awesome printable Kitchen Cleaning Checklists!

As one of the most used rooms in the house, the kitchen takes the brunt of our clutter. It’s natural to walk in the door and go straight to drop our stuff on the kitchen counters. If that sounds like you too, then here are some easy tips for how to declutter kitchen counters.

*This post contains affiliate links, which means I may earn a commission from these links at no additional cost to you. Read my full disclosure here.

1. Use a tray to store frequently-used cooking items.

This tip for how to declutter kitchen counters is number one on my list because it is the easiest and most effective way to keep your kitchen counters clear.

My husband is a culinary genius… not exaggerating. Every single dish that he whips up is delicious. But, he also makes a huge mess in the kitchen, and he has so much kitchen countertop clutter! Which I guess is a very small price to pay to not have to cook dinner by myself. 🙂

I felt like I was always trying to push his olive oil, butter, salt and pepper into a small corner of the kitchen counter so that it looked semi-clean…

Until we were at Hobby Lobby one day and found a gorgeous wood tray on sale.

We brought it home, and in literally TWO MINUTES, out kitchen counter looked way less cluttered.

By the way… yes, that is an old Siracha bottle filled with olive oil. He likes to use that bottle because it has a convenient squeeze cap which he says is easier than pouring the olive oil straight out of its own bottle.

If you want to try the same thing to declutter your kitchen counters, then you can find some great trays HERE!

2. Create a contained coffee station.

The tray method of containment also works great for kitchen counter clutter from your coffee supplies.

If you have clutter from K-Cups, Splenda packets, sugar, and coffee mugs, then all you need to declutter kitchen counters is a large tray.

I LOVE the Coffee Station that Feeling Nifty created on her kitchen counter using a thrift store, basket-style tray. Doesn’t this one simple trick make her kitchen counter look nice and clear?

3. Move the dish drainer to the inside of the sink.

Yes, we have a dishwasher. But for some reason, I prefer to wash dishes by hand. Our dishwasher pretty much only gets used on holidays, so I always have dishes out that are drying.

I have tried using my dishwasher as a “drying rack”, but I found that putting the wet dishes in there to dry without any airflow just caused them to smell bad. And then I just had to wash them again… no fun!

So for a long time, I used a countertop dish drainer with a fabric draining mat underneath. That worked fine, but it made my kitchen counters look even more cluttered.

Then I found this dish drainer that I LOVE that fits perfectly in one side of my sink. Just by moving the dish drying rack to the inside of the sink, I was able to declutter the kitchen counters.

4. Get your knife block off of the kitchen counter.

Knife blocks are usually one of the bulkiest items on the countertop, besides a coffeemaker or a microwave.

You can swap out your countertop knife block for an in-drawer or wall mounted, magnetic version to neatly store your knives off of the counter.

Here are some great options from Amazon:

16 Inch Stainless Steel Magnetic Knife Bar:

In-Drawer Bamboo Knife Block:

5. Add floating shelves to the sides of cabinets.

This idea is a genius way to use forgotten space to declutter kitchen counters.

By adding floating shelves to the sides of your cabinets like The Chronicles of Home did here, you can clear clutter from your countertops while still being able to easily access your stuff.

6. Hang cooking utensils on the wall.

There are other ways to store your frequently used cooking utensils besides in a canister on the countertop. If drawer space is limited, then you can use a simple towel bar and “S” hooks to hang your utensils on the wall and out of the way.

You can also find some great utensil hanging racks HERE!

7. Use a dish soap and sponge caddy.

You don’t have to go out and buy anything fancy, but even a simple cube-style plastic bin can work to corral your dish washing supplies and help to declutter kitchen counters.

8. Relocate small appliances that are not used frequently.

Yes, I know that your KitchenAid stand mixer is a show piece. But how often do you actually use it? If you only use it once a month, then get it off your countertop. (Assuming that you can lift it easily… those suckers can get heavy!).

The same goes for blenders, toasters, waffle makers, etc. If you only use something occasionally, then it probably isn’t worth leaving it out on your kitchen counter.

9. Declutter kitchen counter decorations.

Relocate items that are purely decorative to the living room or dining room. Don’t use your valuable countertop space for items that are not functional or useful.

Having too many decorative knick-knacks out is a surefire way to make your kitchen counters look cluttered.

10. Create a command center to declutter kitchen counters.

Before I invested a little bit of money to create my family command center, the kitchen counters were my drop zone for all sorts of paper clutter.

Even though I tried to keep it tidy by neatly stacking important papers into piles, those piles were still on my counters.

Kids bring home field trip permission slips? Add it to the pile.

Coupons come in the mail? Add it to the pile.

Husband brings home important work invoices? Add them to the pile.

Creating a command center with baskets for my kids’ school papers, mail, coupons, and other important documents was one of the best things I did to declutter kitchen counters.

Plus, you can take it a step further and organize paperwork using this easy home filing system! I recently redid my family papers organization system, and I’m sharing it with you here!

11. Mount your paper towels to the wall.

Try a wall-mounted paper towel holder to get yet another thing off of your kitchen counters. Or, if you don’t like the look of the paper towels mounted on the wall, then you can mount them to the inside of a cabinet.

12. Wipe your kitchen counters every night.

I picked up this tip from my Mama, who can’t stand to go to bed if she has a dirty kitchen.

And, yes, believe it or not, even a few crumbs from dinner can make the kitchen counters seem cluttered and dirty.

Take two extra minutes each night to wipe your kitchen counters to instantly make your kitchen seem cleaner and decluttered. *You can also check out this post for FREE Printable Kitchen Cleaning Checklists to hang on your fridge!

printable cleaning checklist for the kitchen

13. Have a “Junk Drawer”.

Yes, I know… it sounds counter-intuitive to have a drawer designated for “junk” when you are trying to declutter your kitchen… but think of it this way…

Would you rather have a “Junk Drawer” where all of your miscellaneous clutter is hidden from view, or would you rather have a “Junk Countertop”? Just saying. 🙂

And if your junk drawer is a HOT MESS too, then check out this post: Junk Drawer Organization – Keep it Clean Once and For All!

office supplies in drawer organizers

14. Relocate canisters to the pantry.

It’s tempting to buy the cute, decorative canisters for flour, sugar, etc to display on your countertops. Heck, the sole purpose of those decorative flour/sugar bins is to have them out on the counter.

But, most of those decorative canister sets take up A LOT of space. Instead of having those dry baking items out on the counter, store them neatly in the pantry in labeled, airtight containers.

Plus, I don’t know about you, but it’s been a while since I’ve used plain old flour or sugar. And if I don’t use something on a regular basis, then I don’t keep it out in view.

15. Try other mounted or hanging storage.

Depending on what your own kitchen counter clutter looks like, you may want to try one of these other useful organization products to declutter kitchen counters:

  • Hanging or wall-mounted fruit baskets
  • Wall-mounted spice racks
  • Hooks for keys, dog leash, etc.
  • Wall hooks to store coffee cups
  • Cutting board racks mounted on the inside of cabinet doors
  • Pegboard for kitchen organization

Get my FREE Printable 30 Day Decluttering Challenge!

After you’ve finished decluttering your kitchen counters, maybe you want to move on the WHOLE HOUSE! I can help you with that, too!

I created this awesome 30 Day Decluttering Challenge which breaks the monumental job of decluttering your entire home into small bite-sized decluttering jobs… like your medicine cabinet, your nightstand, and your freezer.

30 day decluttering challenge free printable

Just imagine what your home could look like after this 30 Day Challenge! Just use the form below to join my free email newsletter, and I’ll send you the printable 30 Day Challenge as a welcome gift. Plus, you’ll get access to my entire FREEBIES library!

And, if you’re stressed out about the constant clutter on your counters, then try these easy decluttering tips for the kitchen! These tips will help you to have clutter-free kitchen counters in no time.

Do you have any tips for how to declutter kitchen counters? Anything that I’ve left off my list? I’d LOVE to hear from you! Drop a comment below. 🙂

Want other cleaning and organizing ideas? Check out these posts:

15 of the Best Kitchen Organization Ideas to Inspire You

How to Keep a Clean House Even if You’re Crazy Busy – 11 Easy Tips!

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  1. Thanks for offering such excellent tips! Other than moving my KitchenAid mixer, I had already decluttered my kitchen before reading your tips. Yet I found excellent ideas here to further declutter my small kitchen. I like your coffee station idea, and I will reorganize part of a wall cabinet, rather than using a tray. I used your tray idea for the different sweeteners, s&p shakers, and snack nuts we like to have handy. I have too many pots and pans, and I will donate several of them. I’m eying my utensil caddy, and I will likely donate some of those, too. I have no room in my bottom cabinets to hold my KitchenAid mixer, and it’s too heavy for arthritic me to lug from a storage area for its monthly use. Another idea? BTW, I buy my groceries online and have them delivered, thus freeing up my time and saving my limited energy.

    1. Hi Sonia! Glad you found the tips helpful! Yes, my KitchenAid mixer is kind of a pain to get out from the bottom cabinets, but we don’t use it that much so it works… A few suggestions – 1) You can actually buy a “Mixer lift” especially for those heavy mixers. Then you mount it in one of your bottom cabinets and it’s spring-loaded and allows you to easily lift the mixer out of the bottom cabinet and it sets on a little platform table that’s built in, so you never actually have to lift it by hand. Downside is they’re about $200… Option 2) You could try a 3 tier rolling cart. If you get a sturdy one, you can store your mixer on the top shelf and mixer attachments and other supplies on the bottom shelves. Then, just use the mixer while it’s on the cart, and you can roll it back away when you’re not using it. You can find some pretty good rolling carts on Amazon for about $70. Or, of course, just leave it on your counter. If the rest of the countertops are pretty clear, I don’t see a problem with leaving it out. πŸ™‚ Hope that helps! Thanks for your comment!

  2. I have decided to buy what I need for the week (or at least 5 days up to 10 days) and cook everything for that time frame at one time and freeze it (as flat as possible) that way when some says “I’m hungry” (which my husband is notorious fir when I’m in the middle of doing something else) I can just go to the freeze at heat something that won’t take from my time and momentum of cleaning and everyone in the house can still eat. Bonus to doing this is that I will only have 1 big mess to clean and not daily (it’s a win win all the way around) and using the crock pot will help to save me time as well , I have three – one for main dishes, one for side dishes, and a flat one for meats) this way I will be able to cook more with less time….. Now to go find those counter tops so that I can start doing this!

    1. Hi Char! I LOVE your ideas! I’ve also found that trying to limit my grocery shopping to just one big trip a week also saves me money. πŸ™‚ Do you have a rolling kitchen cart to store your Crock Pots? That could be helpful… and it could give you more space in your cabinets and countertops. My Crock Pot (I only have one!) takes up a lot of cabinet space, and it’s a pain to get out because it’s way in the back of a bottom cabinet. Thanks so much for your comment!

  3. Love your ideas as I have a tiny kitchen and like it that way. I hang a whole drawerful of utensils on cup hooks on the inside of my cabinet doors. Also, inside the upper cabinet doors, I tape fav recipes, coupons, telephone numbers, small papers I want to keep.

    1. That’s a great idea to tape up your misc papers to the inside of your doors… a great way to eliminate the paper clutter that always seems to build up in the kitchen! Thanks for sharing! πŸ™‚

  4. I use the tiered hanging wire baskets for produce storage like onions & sweet potatoes. I use another of same for larger utensils like oversize spoons, ladles & tongs.

    Also, have injured shoulders & couldn’t get up to the lay Susan of spices in my upper cabinets. Got another lay Susan for the counter to hold just my most commonly used spices. Hugely helpful.

    1. That’s a great tip to use the hanging baskets for stuff besides produce! What a great way to store your oversized utensils that always get stuck when you try to put them in a drawer! Thanks for sharing. πŸ™‚

  5. Hi, those are very useful tips, thanks. Now my problem was pots and pan lids, BUT I came up with a solution. On a wall that holds my microwave was a blank space sooooo I mounted cheap curtain rods that stuck out a couple of inches And now they fit right in the space between the wall and rod. I also made a little wall ladder and put baskets on it for my veggies. And I lined the baskets with burlap so NO MESS!,

    1. Hi Cathy! These are GREAT ideas! I keep meaning to get some sort of produce storage for the veggies that I pick from my garden. Great idea to make your own! Thanks for sharing. πŸ™‚

  6. During a major cabinet cleaning project, I put a dated slip of paper inside pitchers, pots, and serving dishes when I put them away. It made me aware of how seldom I really use that item.

    1. Hi Monica! This is a GENIUS idea! I’m going to add this to the post… but not before I hunt down my post-its and stick a note inside some of my dusty, hardly ever used dishes and appliances. Thanks so much for your comment! I’m sure this will help a lot of people! πŸ™‚

  7. Great ideas. My 2 additions to this list would be take a mail/magazine sorter and use that for all the spatulas, spoons, and other kitchen items. Also I have a big knife/can opener/ice cream scoop etc drawer. What I do is take cutting boards and store them on top of the knives in the drawer, then they are next to the stove when I need them.

    1. Hi Kris! I love the ideas for sorting your kitchen utensils and cutting boards! Thanks so much for your comment! πŸ™‚

  8. Great ideas and very useful. Just wanted to say, my cabinets and my counters are organized, however; I like having my appliances, utensils, coffee supplies, plants, cooking oils and spices on my counter ready to grab. Minimalism isn’t for everyone. Thanks for the tips.

    1. Yes, Elsie! It is nice to have some stuff on the counters… my husband is the cook in our family, and he is quite messy! But I LOVE the little wooden tray that holds all of his salt and pepper shakers, butter dish, oil bottle, etc. At least it LOOKS organized, even though it’s still on the counter. Thanks for your comment!

  9. We have little bench space and not much room in cupboards. It was nice to know some of your ideas we have in place but one area collects junk the very day I clear it out. I will try those that will fit my kitchen and see how it goes. Thanks

    1. Hi Pam! I totally understand about spaces getting dirty the same day you clean them… two kids… haha! πŸ™‚ Hopefully some of these ideas work for you! Thanks for your comment. πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Lesley! Yes, but it’s a good trade-off, right?! I tell everyone on the days that I “cook” that we have salad for dinner. I can “cook” a mean salad. πŸ™‚

    1. Haha! I’m super grateful to have a husband that does the majority of the cooking, but he sure does dirty up the kitchen in a hurry! I guess that’s a small price to pay for great meals prepared for me, though. πŸ™‚ Thanks for your comment!

      1. my hubby makes noodles and uses 3 pots happens quite often I ask why and he says not big enough the thing is they are very close in size maybe 2 are same size.

        1. Haha! Sounds like my husband! But I guess I can’t complain since he cooks. πŸ™‚