Tips to get rid of kitchen clutter

Tom Khorram
Tom Khorram
Published on May 20, 2019

The junk drawer. Love it or hate it, most of us have one and most of the time it’s in the kitchen. NPR’s Linton Weeks says they serve “as a Rorschachian reflection of your life.”

That’s rather distressing, isn’t it?

While the garage is the most cluttered room in the house, according to a
Moen® Consumer and Market Insights Group survey of homeowners, the kitchen comes in second, tied with the home office.

Surveyed homeowners complained of mail cluttering the countertops
and small electrical appliances hanging around, taking up space.

Weeks goes on to describe the kitchen junk drawer as “The drawer
of detritus. The has-been bin. That roll-out repository where you toss your
odds and ends.”

And, that’s ok, until the detritus, the odds and ends and the
has-been start cluttering the kitchen counters. Let’s look at some ways to
bring order to the kitchen.


According to the Moen® survey, some items are considered acceptable clutter. These include dish towels, cutting boards, dish soap, scrub brushes and those small electrical appliances that we often leave out on the counter.

These appliances, if not used daily, really should be put away, in
our opinion, especially if your home is on the market. Not only does doing so
make the room look less cluttered but it helps free up valuable counter space.

Many professional organizers say, however, that if you use
something every day, like the toaster, it deserves a spot on the counter or
you’ll drive yourself batty by having to drag it out every morning.

“If you make toast every morning for breakfast, it’ll take roughly 3 minutes to toast your bread. After that, the toaster will sit unused for the next 23 hours and 57 minutes. You use it far less than you think you do,” say others.

Where to put everything

Of course, you’re going to need to pull
everything out of every cupboard to get this project done right. Then, you’ll
need to figure out the most organized manner of putting everything back.

We love author and baking expert Alice Medrich’s description of how to allocate kitchen space—it’s so very real estate-ish.

She divides kitchen items among three
storage areas and calls them:

  • Prime real estate: which includes the
    counters, utensil crocks and cabinets that are within easy reach
  • Suburbs: a pantry or closet that is
    located close to the kitchen
  • Outlands: think of these as the rural
    areas and they include the garage, basement and those shelves or cupboards that
    you need a stepladder to reach.

She suggests starting with the prime real
estate first so you get some instant gratification going. Wherever you decide
to start, you’ll be putting things away according to how often they are used.

Seldom-used items should either be stored in another room or placed in the back of the cupboard. You might also want to install shelves to store some of the more decorative but lightly-used items.

Those appliances you use once a month
can go toward the middle of the cupboard and anything you use frequently should
go in the front.

Make your storage space work harder

A pantry in the kitchen is a major bonus
and most of our home-buying clients agree with us on that. The roomier the
better, but even a small pantry can be forced to work hard.

The broad “zones” used in the pantry may
be baking items, pasta and rice, breakfast items and snacks. Then, organize
each of these zones by placing seldom-used food items toward the back of the
zone and those used daily in the front.

Use baskets to hold like items, such as
plastic wrap, foil and sandwich bags, in one spot.

For additional pantry organizing tips, visit Woman’s Day, Better Homes & Gardens and HGTV online.

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