cluttered kitchen counter

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Kitchen Countertops

The kitchen is another hardworking space that gets a lot of daily traffic, and kitchen counters and islands in particular can accumulate clutter at an alarming speed. I find that stray pieces of paperwork, such as unpaid bills and receipts, mysteriously migrate to my kitchen countertop—I have no idea how—along with a motley selection of items "on their way to somewhere else." Here are a few tips to keep surfaces clean and tidy.

Have an inbox
If letters, bills, and homework tend to migrate to your kitchen counters, set up a box or tray to keep these things tidy and together. A slim tray is better, as a large box will only encourage paperwork to build up, making the problem worse. Use it as an active inbox, to be sorted through daily, and it will keep everything in one place and prevent individual letters and bills from drifting across the countertop.

Maximize wall storage
Clutter attracts more clutter, so clearing your countertops of anything that is nonessential will allow you a clean slate from which to start. Many items that clutter up kitchen counters can usually be hung on the wall with a little creative thought. Try hanging utensils from a bar or a series of hooks, storing spices and herbs on a wall-mounted rack, and placing vegetables in wall-hung wire containers.

Limit food containers on countertops
It's nice to have a few everyday essentials out on the counter, such as a bowl of fruit, but when food containers start to take over, it's time to be ruthless. Store most food items in cupboards or out of sight, choosing just one or two items that you like to display or see every day.

Text excerpted from Happy by Design: How to Create a Home That Boosts Your Health and Happiness, by Victoria Harrison (Weldon Owen, June 2018). Copyright © 2018 by Victoria Harrison. Excerpted with permission by Weldon Owen.