Day 4: Kitchen Counter Tops
Hi guys! Welcome to Day 4 of Organizing Your Entire Home in 20 Days!
I hope you guys have learned a lot of tricks for keeping your home clutter-free in the past 3 days and I hope Day 4 brings you just as much satisfaction as the previous day's projects.
Let's get started!
Today we're going to keep working through your kitchen and tackle another project in this room. Day 4 will be focused on decluttering your kitchen counter tops.
Although the main focus will be the counters, the process from today can (and should be!) applied to any flat surfaces in your home.
Kitchen counters are an easy spot in your home to become cluttered because, just like your kitchen cabinets and drawers, there are many people passing by them and using them throughout the day.
No worries though, after we finish today's project, we're going to be talking about some additional tips to ensure the flat surfaces in your home stay clutter-free.
Since all of the items we will be working with today are already on the counter tops, we can skip the process of pulling them all out. Let’s move along to the next step which is categorizing everything into groups.
What are the items that are currently on your counters? Is it stuff leftover from a kids art project? Is it bags of groceries that need to be put away? Is it a lot of small kitchen appliances?
Whatever it may be, start putting all of the items into like item groups. By grouping together similar items, you will be able to easily see which of these items really belong in your kitchen and which ones do not.
As you're grouping together items, throw away any trash you come across.
Once you have everything grouped together, start making decisions on which items you should keep, donate or trash.
Items you want to keep are items that your family still uses on a regular basis and still add value to your families lives. These are going to be things like small appliances (toaster, blender, coffee machine), kitchen tools (knife block, fruit basket, paper towel holder), and food that is still in expiration (fruit, vegetables, butter).
Items that need to be donated are going to be items that no longer serve a purpose for your family or items that you have too many of. This could be something like a coffee maker if you have two but only use one or if you have a toasted but never use it.
Items that are trash are going to be things your family nor anybody else's family could benefit from. These are going to be any items that are broken, expired, or any old paperwork.
If you have any tools or appliances in your kitchen that are broken, go ahead and throw them away. If there are any expired food items that were on your counter at the beginning of this process, go ahead and trash those as well.
As for any paperwork, sort through it, and decide what can be thrown away and what is worth keeping (we will be digging deeper into paperwork clutter on Day 15: The Office!).
If you are having difficulty deciding on what items should be kept or donated, ask yourself questions such as, when was the last time someone in my family used this item? A good rule of thumb on donating an item is, if you haven't used it in the last six months, you don't need it. Does this item still serve its original purpose for me? How many of this one item do I have and is more than one really necessary? Would someone else better benefit from having this item than I would?
By asking yourself these questions about items you aren’t sure of, you are opening your mind and being honest with yourself about the needs of your family. Any items that you keep but you don’t need will continue to add to the clutter around your house for no reason.
When you give away these items, you are not only clearing the mess from your house, you are also allowing someone else to use the items that may need them more than you.
Once you have made decisions on all of the items, it's time to clean the counter tops!
Start by wiping all of the counters down. Now is the perfect time to be able to scrub in those hard-to-reach corners and wipe underneath where the small kitchen appliances usually sit.
It's also a good time to make decisions about what stays on the counter and what can go in the cabinets.
You can get cabinet drawers to use some of the appliances without keeping them on the counter.
It’s also a good time to wipe down all of the builtin appliances, these things are usually skipped on a day-to-day cleaning so let’s go ahead and clean them while we can.
To continue on with our cleaning, sweep and mop the kitchen floor and wash any rugs that may be on the kitchen floor (if you skipped this part yesterday!).
Once the kitchen is cleaned, its time to start putting the remaining items back in their places.
Ideally, the only items that are on your kitchen counters are items that are used daily like your coffee maker, utensil jar, fruit basket and decorations.
By having only commonly used items on your counter tops, it will prevent them from getting cluttered with too much stuff.
For any items that you do leave on your counters, contain them if possible. Using cute trays to place you stuff in keeps them looking neat and tidy. Check out the picture below and note how all of the utensils on the counter are kept in a serving tray.
If you're anything like me, you want your kitchen to be equal parts functional and cute to look at. If you also feel like your counter tops look too empty, add decorations like cute vases, candles or plants to fill the space so you will feel less inclined to let clutter fill the spot.
After you have put away the items you want to remain on your kitchen counters, let's look at all of the items that are still there from when we started this process.
These items don't belong in your kitchen and need to find homes somewhere else in your house. This could be things like homework that your kids left out, backpacks that need to be put away, or laundry baskets of clothes that need to be folded, whatever it may be let's put it where it goes now.
All done! Now doesn’t that feel good? Now that you have completed decluttering another area of your home, let’s talk about a few habits to start building to prevent surfaces like your kitchen counters from getting messy again.
The first habit to embrace is preventing it from happening to begin with. Similar to a junk drawer, it's easy to put something down on the counter and think to yourself “I’ll come back for this later.”
In reality though, with how busy life can get, you're not going to come back to it later and it's just going to become clutter in your house. It's best just to deal with things now instead of having them build up, and build up, and build up to where it starts to feel too overwhelming.
The next habit to get into is to start building themes or patterns of where the stuff is coming from or who this stuff is coming from.
If all the items on your kitchen counters seem to be coming from the same person in your household, have a conversation with that person about how leaving their stuff out in common areas affects the family’s well being in the home. Help that person start to build better habits about decluttering as well.
The last habit that you should be building is having a rule for yourself and your family about how long clutter can stay on the flat surfaces in your house.
For example, this can mean items on your kitchen counter have to be dealt with and put away by the end of the day. For other surfaces that aren’t used as much, like a coffee table, items need to be put away and dealt with by the end of the week.
Find a system that works best for you and your family and hold everyone accountable for these rules.
Again, it's easy to set things aside and think you’ll put them away later but the truth is, it's better to just do it now.
The longer you wait to clean it up, the worse the clutter will become.
If you are still feeling overwhelmed with the organizing or would like extra help, please reach out to the Clutterless Home Solutions Team.
Clutterless Home Solutions