With the rise in open space floorplans, having a neat and tidy kitchen has become increasingly important. If not kept in check, kitchen clutter can soon take over the entire space. And a cluttered kitchen is a sure fire path to frequent take-out ordering. Here are tips for keeping your kitchen clutter-free and ready for meal prep.• Keep the countertops clear
– Coffee maker, toaster, mixer, blender ... so many little appliances, so little space. Keep out only the essentials and find room for the rest behind closed cabinet doors.
• Adopt the urge to purge – Take a look through your cabinets and assess which items are really necessary. Do you really need that bagel slicer you haven't used since the Clinton administration? If you haven't used it, get rid of it. You can always find another way to use the cleared out space in your cupboards.
• Your refrigerator door is not an art gallery – Covering your refrigerator with magnets and papers is a quick way to make your kitchen look cluttered, even when it's actually quite clean. Keep the front of the refrigerator clear to avoid this messy look. If you rely on the fridge door for notes, opt for a well placed bulletin board.
• Embrace the junk drawer – In an effort to keep the kitchen looking tidy, it can be really helpful to have a place where your junk can rest. Having one drawer where you scoop all the takeout menus, bottle openers and screwdrivers will help keep the mess contained.
• Make the most of cabinet space – Cabinet organizers from the likes of Container Store can help you utilize every inch of your kitchen cabinets.
• If it doesn't belong in the kitchen, move it — Does that pile of junk mail really need to live on the kitchen counter? If you can't cook with it or eat it, move it out of the kitchen.
• Give the kitchen a once over at the beginning and end of the day – After you've finished breakfast and you're about to start your day, take ten minutes to tidy the kitchen. Load the dishwasher, wipe the counters and take out the garbage. Do the same thing at the end of the day. Of course at some point you'll need to really clean the kitchen, but that's what dinnertime is for.
• Ambient lighting can fix a multitude of sins – Just as everyone looks better by candlelight, a kitchen will look better with subdued, indirect lighting. Installing lighting under and over the cabinets can help the kitchen feel cozy and warm. You can use rope lighting for a quick DIY.
• Pretty containers are better than ugly packaging – If you lack storage and really must keep packed goods sitting out, whether on the counter or on top of the refrigerator, transfer the goods to attractive containers. A row of identical containers will look much neater than a row of mismatched packaging.
(Image: Jeff's Resourceful Remodel)