One of the busiest places in the home, the kitchen is not only a hotbed for those random non-kitchen items that pile up on counters, like mail and car keys, but also those everyday kitchen essentials: the coffee pot, the toaster, that super awesome smoothie maker you got last year, the drying rack, the canisters of flour and sugar, spice jars, a crock to hold all those cooking utensils, a decorative bowl or two, the bread box (if you are able to indulge in gluten products), the electronic mixer, the sponge and scrubber brush, the dish soap, the hand soap-- and that’s just what’s on top of the counters!
If you are craving a more peaceful kitchen environment, here are five clutter culprits to be on the look-out for:
The Refrigerator Doors
It’s easy for the refrigerator doors to become the catch-all for paper clutter: invitations, ticket stubs, photos of family and friends, kids’ artwork and special papers, holiday cards and greetings, maybe even a shopping list or two. As in other areas of the home, individually these items may be special and visually pleasing, but altogether they create visual clutter, making it difficult to see and appreciate each one.
TIP: Take a picture of your refrigerator before and after clearing everything off. You’ll see right away what a difference it makes!
If a bare refrigerator door seems too stark for your tastes, or if you use the fridge as a mini command center, check out these Pinterest ideas on how to create an organized and simplified refrigerator display:
2. The Kitchen Sink
Taking the extra minute or two to clear dirty dishes away makes a huge difference in the way your kitchen feels and functions. When I am tempted to place a cup or plate in the sink and come back to it later, I remind myself that it will take less than one minute for me to rinse and load it into the dishwasher or drying rack. In most cases, an extra minute won’t make or break my plans for the day, so I resist the urge to use the dirty and ditch method. If you really want to put the clutter culprits to the test, consider storing your sponges, scrubbers, etc. under the sink instead of in the sink. (I know, let’s not get too crazy now!)
TIP: The One-Minute Rule works for almost every mundane chore around the house. I use it every time that little voice tells me to just leave something right where it is instead of putting it back!
3. Cabinet Tops
A common place to display decorative items or store excess kitchenwares is on the very top of the kitchen cabinets, filling the space between the cabinets and the ceiling. Because kitchens are already such busy places, keeping cabinet tops clear creates a clean line, giving the eye a place to rest and making the room feel more open. (It’s also one less area you have to dust!)
4. Open Shelving vs. Cabinets
Open shelving is very popular in kitchens right now, but before choosing this option for your home, be very honest with yourself about how you and others who share your household use the kitchen cabinets. It can create a lot of visual stimulation and can easily overwhelm the eye, making it feel busy and chaotic. If you do opt for this style, having one neutral color scheme for all of your dishes, glassware and serveware works well to avoid visual fatigue.
5. The Countertops
Full disclosure, my husband, who does the lion’s share of the cooking in our family, is actually the one who made the case for clearing the counter tops in our household. I’m really good about not leaving keys or papers out on the counters, but I do like to decorate with accessories, like a cute crock for the cooking utensils and a pretty bowl with wine corks in it; however, we have a smaller kitchen and every time my husband made a meal, he had to move my cute decorative items from one counter to another. Then I would come behind him after dinner and move them around again in order to clean the counters.
I finally saw the light when we had to replace our over-the-range microwave and little bits of sawdust collected on every item in our kitchen. I cleared everything off the counters—Kitchen Aid mixer to salt and pepper shakers— to do a deep clean, and, wow! Our kitchen felt so much bigger! We actually had quite a bit of counter space once all of our little gadgets and decorative items were cleared away AND it was super easy to wipe down the counters at the end of the meal.
Inspired by the changes, we decided to do a two-week trial run with our newly cleared counters and we loved it! With some purging and reorganizing, I made room in the cabinets and drawers for our countertop clutter culprits. (We chose to leave the coffee pot out because it’s on a timer and we like waking up to fresh coffee in the morning… priorities! And the decorative bowl of corks now houses our fresh fruits and veggies: practical and cute.)
If you feel overwhelmed in your kitchen, pick one or two of these ideas to try and do a little two week trial run. Then assess how it’s working for you and your family. You can always go back to the old way, but I have a feeling you might end up like me, won over once again by the power of minimizing!
If you do a trial run or snap some before & afters of your newly streamlined refrigerator doors and cabinets, I’d love to hear about it! Tag us on Facebook or Instagram @seasidestyling to share your story. And if you could use a little help getting started, I’m only an email away.
Until next time,