5 Little 3-Minute Tasks That’ll Make Your Counters Way Less Cluttered

updated Apr 15, 2020
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Credit: Lauren Kolyn

You know how people talk about making the bed like it’s the most important thing anyone can do when it comes to a tidy home and peace of mind? Well, I honestly believe that clean countertops are more important. The kitchen really is the heart of the home; we likely spend more of our (waking) minutes in there than in our bedrooms. So waking up to or working around cluttered counters is going to add some stress to your day — whether you realize it or not.

This is my way of saying we could all use a bit of a countertop cleanup. But you don’t have to spend an entire afternoon doing it. (We all have enough going on at home these days.) Instead, aim for some little changes that don’t take much time.

Here are some easy things you can do to clear your counters off, and help clear your mind, in just a few minutes.

1. Put a tray under a group of items.

The three bottles of oil to the side of the stove or the coffee-making accoutrements that don’t fit in your cupboard? They’ll look deliberate if you put a tray under them. Alternately, you could use a plate, a small cutting board, or a cake stand. Getting items off the counter and corralled onto something will make them look less like clutter and more like a purposeful vignette.

2. Gather items that belong in other areas of the house.

If your house is anything like mine, you have papers, LEGO bricks, medicine bottles, keys, and loads of other things on your counters that need to be put away. Grab a small basket, pick up every single thing that doesn’t belong on the counters/in the kitchen, and put away as much as you can in the few minutes you have to devote to the task. If there’s still stuff in the basket when it’s time to switch gears, leave it at the bottom of the stairs and continue to fill it with more out-of-place items throughout the day.

3. Check your counter for items you don’t need anymore.

When things are sitting out in plain sight day in and day out for months, we tend to not notice them anymore. Take a look at your countertops with fresh, objective eyes and see what you might be able to say goodbye to and put them in donation boxes.

4. Re-home items that don’t need to be out on the counter.

Keep looking with your newly objective eye — even at the items that serve you. Can anything that’s sitting out be put in a drawer or a cabinet instead? Take a few minutes to put pantry staples in the pantry (they’ll do better in the darkness of a cabinet anyway!) or to move your rarely used toaster to a cabinet.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

5. Put your dish rack away.

Dish racks are totally necessary because, even if you have a dishwasher, there are always going to be plenty of things you have to wash by hand. But that doesn’t mean you have to look at yours all the time. Ideally, you’re in the habit of washing all the dishes at night before bed, which means they’ll be dry by the morning. While you wait for the coffee to brew, put clean dishes away and then tuck your rack in the cabinet under the sink.

Got any other tips to add? Leave your ideas in the comments below.