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The Kitchen Counter Conundrum


(Sounds like the title of a Big Bang Theory episode.) :)

We’ve been working in our kitchens lately. We have cleaned our refrigerators, culled our tupperware and looked at arranging our kitchen according to work zones. Let’s finish up with counter space and small appliances.

If you walked through your kitchen as a potential buyer of your home, would you think “This is a spot I could really work in.” Or would you say, “Wow. It looks like there’s not enough storage in this house.” Can I be brutally honest here? The kitchen is not a place for fake greenery or plastic fruit. (I’ve been guilty of both!) These will date your kitchen in a hot minute. Lose them. What else is on your counters that doesn’t belong? Do you have “non-kitchen” items there? Birthday cards? A bottle of Windex? Phone chargers? A stack of mail? I get it. The kitchen is “command central” - the heart of the home. But is this “heart” in cardiac arrest? Let’s break this down into simple steps.

  1. Remove all papers from your counters. Be brutal. Trash/Recycle/Shred the obvious ones (old birthday cards, grocery receipts etc. Put mail at a desk/mail center (future blog post). File, or create a file, for the rest. Don’t just shove this in a “junk drawer”. The junk drawer, while a good idea, does not necessarily have to contain junk. I actually refer to mine as “the organized drawer” because, truthfully, it’s not junk. It’s pocket hand sanitizers, birthday balloons, extra chapstick, matches. I have a pretty plate in there to corral the smaller items.

  2. Remove any “non-kitchen” items, plants (excluding herbs), cleaning supplies, dog treats. Put away whatever is not a cooking item that has landed in your kitchen and stayed.

  3. Hopefully at this point all you have left are small kitchen appliances, flour/sugar canisters and maybe a crock of cooking utensils. Now, look at your small appliances and ask yourself, “What do I NOT use?” Recently I took my blender to the basement storage shelf because it was just taking up valuable real estate on my counter. I only have a toaster, a coffee pot and my mixer on the counters. Freedom! Only keep the most used appliances.

  4. After you’ve wiped down the de-cluttered counters, take a look at your kitchen again, with the eyes of a potential buyer. Is this a place that invites you to work in it? I hope so!

The bonus of clearing the clutter from the counters is not only a good work space, but one that is easily to clean. Make the effort to wash up the dishes and wipe down the counters every night, right after dinner. When you wake in the morning, you are greeted with a cheery kitchen that is ready to take on the day!

Your kitchen, like the rest of your house, should be a place that brings you joy and peace. If it’s the heart of the home, make it a healthy heart that pumps peace through the rest of your home. While the counters may be culled and practical, they can also be beautiful. I have a lovely little container that holds my sink stopper and plastic scraper. It’s actually a tiny pet food dish that I found at Home Goods. So cute! There are always tomatoes on our counters. (My husband loves them!) They are on a thrift store plate that brings a smile to my face every time I see it. Beauty. Joy. Peace. I pray that these things permeate every room in your home. That’s my goal here at Simple Steps.

Laura ~ your organizing girlfriend

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