The Best Kitchen Counter Organization

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If you are like me, your kitchen counter organization flew out the window over the holidays. Well, today is the day, so let’s organize!

Today I am sharing tips on kitchen counter organization. I always think of two things when I organize … function and style, not necessarily in that order, hee, hee, hee.

Let's Organize a Kitchen

As much as I think I don’t like to organize, what I don’t like is clutter. The start of a new year is the perfect time to declutter and organize!

white house with black shutters and green lawn
Make it Pretty

Kitchen Counter Organization

Summer Kitchen Refresh 13

Our kitchen is easily the most used room in our home. Over the holidays, my house was full and I cooked a lot of dinners. And breakfasts. And lunches. I loved every minute of it, but my kitchen (and butlers pantry) took an organizational hit. That is code for “it’s a mess!”

Let's Organize a Kitchen

How to Organize your Kitchen

There are two things I always think about when I want to organize, function and style. While a kitchen needs to be functional, it also needs to embody a sense of style. Each is equally important.

To start the organization process, I spend some time in the room to evaluate each area, and then I use two different colored post-it notes to mark the areas. In this case, any area in need of a function update is marked with a light pink post-it note, and any area in need of a style update is marked with a dark pink post-it note.

Evaluating the Functionality in your Kitchen

Let's Organize a Kitchen

Make a list of the top four or five areas that need your attention the most.

Here is what I came up with:

#1 – The biggest area in our kitchen that needs help is an entire counter in our kitchen that has rarely been shown in a photo. Like almost never.

#2 – The counter next to our stove always looks great. It’s always full of decor and very pretty. But there is never enough counter space and it’s got to change. I need more of that counter space for cooking.

#3 – Just above that drawer is our “appliance cabinet” with a toaster and Cuisinart that has slowly collected items it doesn’t need. We can barely even use the small appliances in the appliance cabinet anymore so they always end up sitting out on my counters. That is not a good thing!

#4 – I have to mention a drawer because this one is totally underutilized. There is a drawer just underneath my “Bakery” sign and appliance cabinet. For two years it has been full of hand sanitizer, masks, and tests. This drawer needs a new purpose.

Ready, Set, Organize!

How to Organize Your Kitchen and Simplify

The Unseen Part of Our Kitchen

The photo above is the wall adjacent to our large farmhouse sink on the left side. It had way too many small appliances, such as a blender, toaster oven, 20-year-old microwave, juicer, and a Sonos speaker. I never ever shared this area of the kitchen because it was too cluttered and messy. This area is #1 on my list and it’s all about kitchen counter organization.

There also used to be a twenty+-year-old microwave on this counter. I finally replaced it because we couldn’t live without one, but stashed it in the butler’s pantry. The other small appliances went downstairs to the basement since I was using them only about once a month. The blue screen is my friend Alexa on an Echo. She is very helpful with measurements, substitutions, and setting a timer.

I forgot to take a “before” photo but just trust me that this area needed some help.

How to Organize Everywhere in Your Kitchen

This area was driving me crazy and needed both kitchen counter organization and styling because I was tired of hiding it and editing it out of my photos! The photo above is the after photo and it looks amazing.

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The Counter Top Next to Our Stove

Look how much decor is typically on the countertop next to the stove. I can barely fit a cutting board or bowl or pan here (#2 on my list). Remember when I mentioned function and style? Well, this is an instance where style got in the way of function. And it had to be changed.

Everything was moved from this area and now I have all of the space I need. I love it.

white kitchen with clean counters and a stove

Organizing the Small Kitchen Appliances and Drawer

I knew my kitchen needed a lot of organization. There are some pretty unorganized situations hiding behind those cabinet doors of mine! My next fix was #3 and #4.

This involved repurposing the catch-all drawer and organizing the small appliance cabinet.

Okay, here is the before photo. Yes, it was a little challenging to make toast amidst the masks, hand sanitizer, and gloves.

How to Organize Your Kitchen

I bought my husband a new toaster for Christmas so cleaning out and reorganizing this space was the perfect excuse to create a clean space for its new home.

Doesn’t this look better?

How to Organize Your Kitchen Cabinets

The drawer underneath this space has now been repurposed to hold all of the serving spoons, forks, and serving utensils I have accumulated. (Note to self: Do not buy any more of these at flea markets!)

I bought the bamboo drawer dividers and they are the best. Wow.

kitcehn drawer with dividers and six areas for serving utensils

Junk Drawers

Let's Organize a Kitchen

After I redid what I use to call the all-purpose drawer, I realized the three drawers in the kitchen were a disaster. Every kitchen has a junk drawer, but we had three! I am pleased to say that these drawers are now cleaned out and now contain batteries, pens and pencils, and post-it notes. I plan to keep an eye on these drawers so that they don’t get out of control again!

Technology in the Kitchen

Another item that I moved from the countertop into the shelves next to the sink is our Sonos speaker. I found the perfect space for it.

How to Organize Your Kitchen with Style

Can you see it hiding behind the wire locker basket? I had forgotten that we had a plug hiding back there!

Look below. You can barely see it!

How to Organize Your Kitchen and Simplify

There it is!

How to Organize Your Kitchen Countertops

This is such an improvement. And the music sounds just fine with the onions in front of the speaker.

Areas in Need of Styling

Because of my profession, I do have to focus on styling areas so that they are camera-ready. This also includes, what needs cleaning, replacing, or updating.

The two rugs in our kitchen were at least 20 years old and last year I finally replaced them. I waited because I hadn’t been able to find anything I liked, in a similar style, that was affordable. I was looking for hand-hooked rugs, and I found them on Amazon!

But it was time for a good cleaning and that I did! I pulled out my carpet cleaner and made sure the rugs looked new again!

This has been a long time coming and I am so happy the rugs look amazing. They are hand-hooked premium wool and just like my older ones. They also have every color I think I may ever need in my kitchen!

I ordered two Safavieh Chelsea Collection rugs in two different sizes, 2’9″ x 4’9″, and 2’6″ x 4′.

Let's Organize a Kitchen
Sage Green Summer Kitchen Refresh

This area in our kitchen is perfect for styling. I love to use an accent color, like green, and style this area so that I always have a spot ready to go for a photo. The morning light through these windows is a little bit magical.

Something New

This is one of my favorite Christmas presents from last year. It’s a glass rinser and is a relatively low-cost and easy-to-install gadget that will change the way you do dishes! You can install it on the counter at your sink, often utilizing or repurposing an existing hole.

The glass rinser is hooked up to our hot water and I can now wash twenty wine glasses in no time at all! The item is linked below!

I hope these kitchen organization tips are helpful. Remember to take little steps and focus on fixing things that aren’t working. You don’t have to do this all in one day!

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  1. Good inspiration and you have inspired me to overhaul my kitchen storage drawers. I totally empathise with the storage container lid problem . Tupperware and zip loc, where do they go. I think they are in the same place as about 36, at last count, socks !!!!

    1. Ha, right Angela, lids and socks, where do they go? 😂 It feels so good to have gotten in and reorganized it all! Have a great day!

  2. Your organizing tips are great but the rug you have in front of your sink is gorgeous. I have to ask where you bought it. It reminds me of a crewel tapestry. Thanks. Lily

    1. I know it feels so good to have a place for everything. Thanks for the inspiration! I am taking on this challenge beginning today. By the way, where did you put the microwave? Your kitchen is gorgeous!

  3. Your new rugs are BEAUTIFUL but would not be very practical for me. The rug in front of my sink needs washing too often. How do you plan to keep your “wool” rug clean… Especially with so much White?

    1. Sheryl, the manufacturer recommends spot cleaning and you can wash in the washing machine on cold and hang dry.

  4. I love the tips: style and function! My post-its are going to run out, lol. Thank you so much for this post and for keeping it “real”.

    1. You are so welcome Dahlia! I really do try to keep it real, there is no such thing as perfect! Have a great day!

  5. Funny you mention the kitchen rugs. I was thinking how much I liked them in your photos! I too am looking for new kitchen rugs and it’s been really hard to find something I do like that can be machine washed and fit the spaces. Might be a good feature for your blog? I do need to replace mine soon!

    1. Deborah,

      I too wash my kitchen rugs. I love the 100% cotton rugs from Dash and Albert. I have a long runner in front of the stove area and a smaller one at the kitchen sink. Just give a good shake outside and drop them in the washer..cold water to prevent fading and you can dry them or hang them over a rack for a day to prevent shrinkage. They have a website online.

  6. Good morning Leslie, I’ve been like a mad woman too, cleaning all my cabinets and drawers throughout my townhouse. And for the last year I have been trying to find a rug for my kitchen I have a very small kitchen but I did like the choice of rugs that you had purchased could you tell me what company so I can check that out. Thank you so much and have a great day. Cheryl

  7. Your new rugs look great with the color of your cabinets. Thanks for showing us pictures of your problem areas. It’s nice to know that real life happens even in the perfect looking home of a decorating blogger.

  8. In all my kitchens I’ve only put drawers in the lower cabinets. These drawers are usually big too. I put flour, sugar etc in canisters in one of those drawers where I bake. Pull out the drawer pop off the tops, measure it out, pop on the lids, shut the drawer and I’m done.
    I make sure my storage of often used items is set up so I can stand by the dishwasher and put 80% of my stuff away without taking a step. We’ve just completed another remodel and my dishes are now in a drawer. Love it, so much easier on my sore shoulder. That took a lot of arguing with my husband who thought it would be harder on our backs.
    You have to have zones. Pots, pans, pancake turners, hot pads etc next to the stove. Zig zagging across the kitchen doing a cardio workout doesn’t make cooking fun.
    I’m not a naturally organized person, I’ve just learned that the easier I make things, the more I enjoy it.

  9. Hi Leslie,
    I read your post about using your home in movies and South Pasadena caught my eye! I grew up there- across the street from the library. It was always fun watching shows and movies being filmed. I think I know your street too. Curious too who your husband is… I graduated in ‘81. I don’t expect you to share all here. Just wanted to say hi to someone from home!

  10. One of the best things I ever did was throw away ALL plastic containers, except for Three very large casserole size ones. I found different sizes of glass containers with pop on lids at Marshall’s and bought 7 of them. I swore I would never have more leftovers than those would handle. Best thing I ever did. Organizing is on the top of my list for January👍

    1. Oh my gosh Rebecca, I am so happy that you got a rug. I am loving mine so much! Thank you for reaching out and for following along!

  11. Hi Leslie. I just joined your blog. I’m so excited! I love your home. I love all your posts and all your beautiful, creative ideas. Your pantry is amazing. So cozy!!!! I’m a plate lover myself. Christmas dishes, Easter dishes, Thanksgiving dishes, and just because dishes. Looking forward to more posts and your blog.

    1. Welcome Carmela! I am so happy that you found my blog and are now following so that you don’t miss anything! Thank you for reaching out to me, I am so glad you are here!

  12. Leslie, love what you’ve done as I too am an organization freak. Lol. I keep my plastics all in a deep drawer nested inside of each other. The lids are put into one of those things you put on your desk with different slots for letters, kind of filed, and placed in the same deep drawer. I am very curious though, as to how you use your lazy Susan cabinet. This is my problem area. Thank you for sharing your beautiful home with us.

  13. Wow, amazing. I am such a farmhouse girl myself. Could it be because I grew up on a farm? Who knows, right? All I know is that I love any and all things, ‘farmhouse!’ You kitchen is beautiful, so many things i love about it. Thanks for sharing

  14. Hello Leslie,
    I love your beautiful kitchen.
    I have been looking to replace my spice rack for years. I love the one you have and decided that thats the one I have to have. May I ask where you found that one?
    Thank you,

  15. Hi,
    kitchen rugs soo pretty; when I Google that brand rug @ wayfair, overstock, etc., numerous reviews all state that brand rug, made in turkey, has a distinct odor, and not a good odor, lol.
    it has made me hesitant to purchase that brand, although I see it is a popular brand.
    obviously, you have not had that issue?!
    any thoughts abt safeviah brand?

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