How to Have a Clutter-Free Kitchen

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A clutter-free kitchen is the foundation to a stress-free and functional kitchen. And we all know that a kitchen that works well for you and doesn’t add to your stress is a treasure. It really is possible to achieve and maintain a clutter-free kitchen with these simple tips.

clutter kitchen counter by sink and window

How Do You Get Rid of Clutter in the Kitchen?

  • Establish your goals for your kitchen.
    • This will guide you in deciding what to declutter and where to locate the items you choose to keep.
  • Declutter, declutter, declutter.
  • Make every item earn its place in the kitchen.
  • Critically examine the number of each type of items you have.
  • No take-out plastic ware.
  • No take-out menus, phone books or any papers or information that can be found online.
  • Tear the recipes you use out of a cookbook or make copies and then declutter the cookbook. Even better, keep recipes electronically and declutter all hardcopy recipes and cookbooks.
Stack of cookbooks next to stack of individual recipes with text overlay reading Declutter cookbooks and only keep the recipes that you use. Or scan recipes and keep them electronically.
  • Choose multi-use items.
    • For example, choose mixing bowls that can also be used as serving bowls.
    • Choose solid color serving pieces rather than multiple holiday-themed ones.
  • Only keep appliances that you really use and purge the other appliances.
  • Keep the front of the refrigerator clear.
  • Declutter expired items.

How Do I Make My Kitchen Counters Clutter-Free?

  • Start by decluttering ruthlessly.
  • Don’t have decor items on the counter.
    • If you want clutter-free counters, you have to remove everything that is extraneous, including your favorite decor items.
    • You don’t have to throw them away, simply relocate them.
  • Designate a home for everything.
    • Be purposeful in assigning homes to every item on your counter.
    • Place them where it makes sense in how you use your kitchen.
  • Minimize the appliances on the counter.
    • Ideally, you’ll have zero to one appliance on the counter.
    • Store appliances that are not used every single day in a cabinet, closet or even another room, if necessary.
  • Outlaw paperwork or mail on the counter.
    • No more dumping papers on the counter.
    • Designate a magazine holder or paper bin to hold papers in a cabinet or ideally, in another room.
  • Contain Items on Counter.
    • Use a tray to contain items like napkins, salt and pepper and oils you choose to keep on the counter.
    • The tray creates boundaries to how much can be kept on the counter.
Blue tray holding bowl with napkins, salt & pepper shakers and plant on black granite kitchen countertop
  • Use vertical space
  • Don’t allow unauthorized items on the counters.
    • When family comes home from school or work, don’t allow them to dump items on the kitchen counters.
  • Clean and straighten up the counters every evening.
White kitchen with clutter-free counter and organizer on the wall

How to Have a Clutter-Free Kitchen

Ruthlessly Declutter

Yes, there’s a reason why this is the third time decluttering is listed. Most of us have way too many items in our kitchen.

  • Declutter any items you haven’t used in the last year.
  • Declutter items that you have more of than you need.
  • Declutter aspirational items that you’ve been holding onto.
  • Relocate items that belong in other parts of the home.
  • If you’re having trouble letting go of items, think of the person who will be happy to receive it and put it to use.

Establish Zones

Setting up zones in your kitchen makes your kitchen work more efficiently for you. The zones also make extraneous items obvious so that they’re easy to declutter.

A zone is an area organized around a specific task in the kitchen that requires special equipment or supplies.

Typical kitchen zones are:

  • Coffee
  • Baking
  • Breakfast
  • Lunchbox
7 easy tips for an organized lunchbox drawer. It's back-to-school time and time to organize your kitchen. These tips are encourage your child's independence and are earth friendly.
  • Junk Drawer
  • Cleaning
  • Food
  • Pots and Pans
  • Silverware
  • Dishes

Have a Home for Everything in the Kitchen

When you use zones, you’ve already established an area for each item. Within that space, assign specific locations or homes for every item.

When assigning homes, think about what makes sense. Some common considerations are:

  • Place rarely used items up high, down low or in less easily accessed spaces.
  • Place daily use items in easy-to-access areas near where you use them.
  • Place lighter items up high. You don’t want a heavy item falling down on you.
  • Place heavy items down lower.
  • Place drippy or caustic items down low. In case they leak or drip, they won’t damage the items stored below them. Of course, always secure toxic or dangerous items when children or pets are in the home.
  • Use my experience moving into more than 20 homes and setting up kitchens in those homes to help you decide how to set up your kitchen, how to layout your kitchen and how to organize your kitchen layout.


Use containers to organize your kitchen and keep clutter from your kitchen. Containers help you with a clutter-free kitchen:

  • Containers keep items neatly in place. No more granola bars falling out of the box and all over.
  • Containers set a limit so that clutter doesn’t grow.
  • Containers make it easy to see exactly what you have so that you don’t overbuy.
  • Containers make it easier to find exactly what you’re looking for. No more lost box or can in the back of the clutter of the pantry.
  • Containers make it easy for all family members to know where to find and put items back.

Establish Decluttering Routines

Having a clutter-free kitchen requires on-going maintenance. An organized and uncluttered kitchen is definitely not a one and done task. It’s not difficult to maintain, but it does require discipline and on-going maintenance.

The keys to a successful decluttering routine are:

  • Establish the habit of putting items back as soon as they’re done being used.
  • Tidy the kitchen after each meal and before heading to bed at night.
  • Schedule routine kitchen decluttering as frequently as makes sense for your lifestyle, but quarterly or twice a year at a minimum.

It really is possible to have a clutter-free kitchen when you follow these tips. Pin for later when you need inspiration to declutter and organize your kitchen.

Find all my best Kitchen organizing ideas, printables and favorite products in the table below. You can scroll though the table and look for ideas or search for specific ideas with the magnifying glass in the upper right-hand corner (on desktop). Click on the topic and then click through the specific article.

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One Comment

  1. The kitchen is my favorite room to organize. I agree with all. Love that you mentioned cookbooks. I think these are still around, but many of my younger clients keep their recipes online in apps. Just another aspect of life that is evolving. I still love my physical books, but I have gotten rid of the cookbooks that have only one or two recipes I like. So much easier to just copy those two and keep them in my file.

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