3 Simple, Hard-and-Fast Rules to Follow If You Want a Neater, Clutter-Free Kitchen at All Times

(Image credit: Emily Billings)

Any of you who have ever thrown a party at home (or attended one at someone else’s home!) know that people are drawn to gathering in the kitchen. It’s the same for other things, too — mail, pizza boxes, your partner’s dirty dishes, etc. For this reason, the kitchen is the one space that is most in need of a rigid plan to keep it clutter-free around the clock. So here’s a little tough love, in three easy-to-follow rules.

1. Errant “stuff” should never touch the countertop.

There are certain things that collect in the kitchen (in my house it’s drinking glasses, mail, and pet supplies) and that’s the way things will always be. But your rule, from here on out, will be that none of those things can ever make direct contact with the counter. Instead, give them a tidy home. Dishes in the sink (always!), mail in an organizer, and pet supplies in a basket or tray.

2. Never set anything next to the trash can.

Leaning something on the trash can is not the same thing as putting something in the trash can. If you’re getting serious about this clean-kitchen thing, you have to vow to always tear boxes down for the recycling bin and to take out the trash as soon as nothing else will fit (and, yes, the lid has to close). No exceptions.

3. Empty the sink each night or every morning.

Things pile in the sink — it’s inevitable (see rule #1 above). But what you can control is how often the sink pile gets handled. Make it a part of your morning or evening routine to wash the dishes (or move them to the dishwasher) and things will never get out of hand.

This post originally ran on Apartment Therapy. See it there: Tough Love: 3 Hard-and-Fast Rules for a Cleaner Kitchen, All the Time

Do you have any strict rules to keep kitchen clutter at bay?