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Simplifiying and Decluttering: The Kitchen Counters!

I’ve been following along with some of my favorite bloggers as they declutter and simplify their living areas. Both Simple Mom and Modern Parents, Messy Kids are tackling their kitchens right now and I was thrilled for a chance to tackle some of the problem areas in our kitchen.

Yesterday I showed you some of my progress with our food storage cabinets. Today I tackled one of my Big Bad Kitchen Wolves, the kitchen counter tops. We’ve been in our home for about a year now and while we’ve made great strides in making it our own, we are still struggling with finding enough storage space for all of our things. Certainly some of this is about having too much stuff but a lot of it is simply that we don’t have as much storage furniture as we’d like to.

Our kitchen is a prime example of this – as the heart of our home, we use our kitchen for cooking, eating, homework, craft projects, coloring and more. It’s where we bring the mail each afternoon until it can get sorted and it’s often the home for things we use often but haven’t defined a permanent place for yet. The counter tops are the work horse of this room, serving a LOT of purposes and lately it’s become simply overrun with STUFF and I knew it was time to really whip it into shape!

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Here is the counter around the kitchen sink. I’ll admit, I purposely took the picture before doing dishes to make the big reveal feel more impressive! But if we’re going to be honest, my sink looks like this a lot. Too often I’d say. And if my sink is this cluttered, the counter tops hardly stand a chance and the room feels messy before I’ve even begun to think about tackling everything else. Most days if I can just get the sink empty, I’m happy, and I’ll likely ignore the rest of it.

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So the first order of business was to get my sink clean and empty and get the dishes done so that I could focus on the rest of the mess. I bought some new tupperware recently and have been slowly hand washing all the new pieces before introducing them to the tupperware cabinet. I’d do a small stack here and there in between the rest of our dishes and have been humming and hawing on the final stack. Well I finally got the rest of it cleaned today in addition to the rest of the dishes, so now they can start being productive members of the household and not just take up valuable counter space!

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So here’s my final result in this corner. With the dishes out of the way I was able to clearly see what I was dealing with – like empty peanut butter jars and wine bottles that I’d never bothered to deal with, knives with no home and other random odds and ends that I didn’t even know were there.

So the things which stayed are : the blender (for now), the spice rack (for now), our digital food scale – now in a new location, we’ll see how I like it there. The kitchen timer – this moves all the time but it’s small, so I don’t care. The knife block and cutting boards, our cooking oil and spray, salt and pepper and utensils, a jug of water that I like to use when I’m cooking, a container of toothpicks so I can tell when my cakes are done – and a spoon rest. I honestly still feel like this is almost too much but it is organized and most of it gets used a LOT so for now I’m okay with it.

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So this is our main prep counter where I do most of my assembling and cooking and plating. It’s also the unofficial mail center where I leave letters for the hubby to look at – and it’s where my son puts his homework each afternoon briefly before storing it back in his backpack when he’s done. Homework out means it’s not done yet.

This picture doesn’t look too bad – the kitchen aid lives there because it’s too heavy to move around. That spot is where I use it when I’m baking and that’s where it stays. Other residents on this counter included bills that were ready to be filed, a sack of potatoes, a bird house / piggie bank, crayons and a bowl of fruit. And the toaster oven.

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So this was mostly about sprucing up and a quick tidying. I put the files in the file cabinet, I moved the crayons to a new home but also brought in my son’s school supplies -a little yellow caddy that holds his pencils, glue, etc. I put the potatoes in the fruit bowl and put the bananas on top. The scale, timer and green water pitcher moved to the sink counter as you saw and the brita water filter moved also. The red plate was put away though I may put it back simply because it’s pretty – maybe it can hold the mail until it’s sorted?

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This is the microwave counter, also known as “everything else” – it’s not in high usage so all our other miscellaneous stuff ends up there whether I like it or not it would seem. That picture frame? I need to hang it. But does it need to be on the counter in the meantime? The top of the microwave is covered with stuff that may or may not be necessary. My iPad is buried somewhere under all the stuff – I use it for looking up recipes while I’m cooking.

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Much better. This counter now holds: the microwave (obviously), tissues and our microwave plate cover. The brita water filter, our sugar jar (I think this might work better than it’s old home, we’ll see), a bowl for holding odds and ends like tape and things that need a home soon and a napkin holder that I converted into a pen holder. Lastly is the iPad (look you can actually see it!) and our hand vac.

So the end result is I still feel like we have maybe too much stuff, but I also feel like we do use most of it and that now it’s organized and accessible, which is awesome. Now the key will be to keep up with it and not let it slide back into Before Pictures world…

 

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4 thoughts on “Simplifiying and Decluttering: The Kitchen Counters!”

  1. Great job decluttering! Why don’t you put your pens/tape/mail together (and maybe on your desk)?

    Also, you should totally DIY a iPad stand!!!

    I love that you washed dishes and it made a huge difference. I need to do that too.

  2. From the looks of it, we have LESS counter space than you. So, one night of dishes fills the counters.

    I finally made space for our toaster in the cabinet and that helped..and then, I got a magnetic strip for knives that goes over the sink on the wall…got the knife block off the counter…it helped a lot!

    Looks good there, too!

  3. @ Amanda: Our ipad cover doubles as a stand so that’s not really necessary. Our desk is in the back corner of the house – convenient for me, but not for mail sorting because Dan would never see it. We have pens and pencils at my desk also obviously.

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