This One Small Change Instantly Decluttered My Kitchen

published Apr 28, 2020
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Credit: Lauren Kolyn

A lot of people say that living in New York will change you. But the truth? It’s living in a New York apartment with a miniscule kitchen that will really do a number on you. If you cook every day, or even just once in a while, having a single counter top that’s the size of a shoebox will eventually drive you just a little bonkers. My New York kitchen taught me to be creative, though. I added a tabletop that came out from the wall and folded down, a rolling island that I wheeled in and out of the kitchen, and a giant cutting board that I put over the sink—all to eke out more countertop space. I became an expert at creating surface space for chopping and mixing out of nothing.

So when I moved to a different city and home that had a kitchen that was… well, normal sized, it was revolutionary. And I quickly started filling the counter tops.

Credit: Olivia Muenter

I had never even owned a toaster before because of lack of space, so I bought one and plopped it right on the counter. An electric kettle? An indulgence that I never would have had room for in New York. After receiving a light blue KitchenAid kettle as a gift, I put that on the counter, too. I intended to look at it every day, just because I could. The same went for bowls, cutting boards, miscellaneous spices. You name it, and I put it on the counter, despite the fact that I also now had ample cabinet space. It felt good to actually have space to move around in the kitchen while cooking, but soon things started to look cluttered

As much as I loved having access to it all, the mere sight of all the stuff started to drive me a little nuts, just like the lack of counter space had in New York. It was around this time that I stumbled upon some simple organization advice on Instagram from blogger Jules Hunt that changed everything for me.

Why I Stopped Keeping Appliances on My Kitchen Counter

Hunt explained that if you don’t use a kitchen appliance every day (or even if you do), you should put it away. Whether it was a food processor or a toaster, the rule was that you should never leave it out when you aren’t using it.

Credit: Olivia Muenter

So into my cabinet went my toaster, electric kettle, and InstantPot. It took roughly one minute of work, but instantly it felt like I had changed the whole kitchen overnight. No longer was I looking at a bunch of things, but clean, open space. These days, I still keep cooking utensils and staples like salt and pepper on the countertop (along with, of course, a coffee maker), but otherwise, it all gets put away after I use it. 

Looking at a clean, clear countertop not only helps me feel like things are tidier, but also gives me space and energy to enjoy cooking at home, which is always a good thing. So if you’re sick of staring at your countertops and feeling like there’s just too much stuff, take two minutes of your day and put the appliances away. You may be surprised by the difference it makes.