Tips to Get Rid of Kitchen Clutter

Jeff Peterson
Jeff Peterson
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 a source of kitchen clutter. 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, kitchen clutter 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.

Acceptable kitchen clutter

According to the Moen® survey, some items are considered acceptable kitchen 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
my 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 to avoid kitchen clutter

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

I 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 and avoiding kitchen clutter.

Seldom-used items which are common kitchen clutter 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 to minimize kitchen clutter and then anything you use frequently should go in the front.

Make your storage space work harder

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

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

To avoid kitchen clutter, use baskets to hold like items, such as plastic wrap, foil and sandwich bags, in one spot.

If your kitchen needs an expansion, here is some helpful information on expanding to an outdoor kitchen.

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