Decluttered kitchen counter

Decluttering small spaces | Goals

Cluttered kitchen counter
Before decluttering (Image: Outside In Organizer and Makeovers)

Decluttering small spaces requires extra creativity. For example, stack infrequently used items on the bottom of the stack. Sounds obvious but observe what you have to lift or move to get to the daily items when you need them.

Decluttering small spaces can be achieved when you think vertically. Replace the knife block that is encroaching on counter space with a magnetic knife bar on the wall instead.

Decluttered kitchen counter
After decluttering (Image: Outside In Organizer and Makeovers)

When you live or work in smaller spaces you generally want to minimize clutter and maximize open spaces. This is especially true of the horizontal spaces such as the floor, countertops, and open shelves. Do you really need to keep the juicer, blender or jar opener on the counter all of the time? Think creatively and store the appliance nearby. For instance, the jar opener can be stored in the pantry and taken out when you take out the jar of tomato sauce!

Decluttering small spaces helps to make the spaces feel larger than they are. For those of you who are sensitive to clutter you know that it creates a feeling of heaviness or claustrophobia. Observe how you feel after you declutter and organize. Do you feel lighter and less overwhelmed?

Decluttering small spaces | My kitchen

Recently I decided to walk the talk and declutter my kitchen space. Living in an apartment with a small kitchen and a passion for cooking is sometimes incompatible.

My goals for decluttering the kitchen were to create more counter space in order to:

  • Increase available workspace for cooking preparation.
  • Increase space for serving food.
  • Increase counter space for easier clean up.
Cluttered kitchen counter
Before decluttering (Outside In Organizer and Makeovers)

Decluttering small spaces | Storage options

Decluttering small spaces begins with the decision about which items make more sense to leave on the surface. I knew that the coffee maker and toaster oven would need to “live” on the counters.

Consider storage options for infrequently used items. This included seasonal appliances such as the blender (I don’t usually make smoothies in the winter), and my large mixer (used more often during the holidays).

Identify alternative locations for frequently used items that are currently stored on counter tops. My larger appliances were moved to a rolling cart in the hall closet.

Decluttering small spaces | The process

Decluttering step by step:

  1. Start with a clean slate. Remove everything from the counter tops.
  2. Know your work flow? Where to you prepare food, what do you need access to in that area? Which electrical outlets do you need easy access to?
  3. Is there storage space near the kitchen that can be decluttered to make room for infrequently used plastic and paper goods as well as appliances?
  4. Identify reasonable alternatives for items that take up too much space. For example, I stored the dish drain and tried using a microfiber drying mat. This motivated me to dry and put away items after using them.

Decluttering small spaces | Changes

Decluttering small spaces involves easy to make changes in location, access, purchases and decorating.
Change location. Just because something has been in a spot doesn’t mean that’s the optimal spot. Give yourself time to adjust to even the smallest changes and see if after a reasonable amount of use the results are beneficial.

Change access. Retrieving items from a new location may not be as difficult as anticipated and enable you to declutter other spaces.

Change purchases. Limit purchasing larger sizes and quantities of items if your storage is constrained. If you want the benefit of better pricing on such items, share the purchase with a friend and split the cost.

Minimize decorative items. Aesthetics are important however too many chotchkies can clutter counters and shelves. Try my “3 ONLY” Rule…no more than three decorative or sentimental items per horizontal space. Remember that you can rotate those items with stored ones after 3 months.