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Clear your kitchen counter – best advice ever

You know those days when you clean and clear for hours but nothing ever looks tidy? Those days when the house is a bombsite, but by the time everything has been picked up and put away the house still doesn’t look like you have been cleaning for hours? The best advice I can give for this is to clear your counters. This gives the instant illusion of a tidy and clutter-free home.

We all tend to live with our counters and tables full of knick-knacks, and well…stuff. The kitchen is the worst for this, especially as we often have to store appliances on the counter-tops too. In my house the kids like do homework in the kitchen, so their homework gets piled there along with pens and pencils, plus extraneous pieces of laundry, shopping bags, dirty crockery for the dishwasher…you name it, it  all somehow ends up on the kitchen worktop.

I am quite used to living like this. Nearly everyone I know was lives this way. If you are short of space, finding homes for things can be difficult and they will end up in a pile somewhere. Usually the kitchen.

I learned the instant effect of the clear counter when we were on holiday. We had rented a villa and when we saw the kitchen we were wowed. Why? Because it was completely clear of stuff. There were a few appliances out but that was it. Long, shiny worktops abounded! It felt clean, tidy and dare I say it, minimalist. We had never seen this outside of a kitchen showroom before. Seriously, never.

I wish I could say that as soon as I returned home I did the same thing to my kitchen. But, no. Of course I didn’t. However, over the years I have found that clearing the kitchen counter is therapeutic and immediately makes a difference. This is even more so now that we are getting rid of the things we don’t use or need. We only have a few things permanently on the counter; the kettle, toaster (with a chopping board underneath) and a coffee machine. On the island we have a fruit bowl, a box for bits and pieces and some tealight holders. So when everything is put away it’s like being in a brand-new kitchen all over again.

So how do you do it?

The easiest way to keep your worktop as clear is to keep as few items on display as possible. Everything else should have a home in a cupboard or drawer. If this is a struggle maybe it is a good time to go through and purge a drawer or cupboard to make room for the things you tend to leave out on the counter. It’s amazing what you find when you start. And it usually takes no time at all to free up some space.

Try and keep the dishwasher loading up-to-date. Dirty dishes pile up quickly (well they do in our house and it’s gross). If you have an empty dishwasher they can go straight in instead of sitting on the counter.

Another tip is to put away tea and coffee making things or anything that’s been used to make a meal or snack straight away. I know if I leave anything out it tends to stay on the counter for ages. I’ll admit that I am the worst for leaving the milk out of the fridge when making tea. The Clutterbug suggests the one minute rule for this. If a job takes one minute or less do it immediately. It’s amazing how many tasks fall into this category.

I like to have a container in the kitchen for my diary, important post and forms, pens and little things that get left lying around that I haven’t had a chance to put away and may get lost – Cub badges are often found here! I think this is called a ‘catch-all’ in the US. It really is very useful, but you need to remember to go through it often and have a clear out or it can overflow (very easily done).

Once you have cleared your counter, a quick wipe is all that’s needed to keep it looking lovely. You will be amazed by the difference it makes.

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My kitchen before I cleared up

tidy kitchen

A beautiful, clear worktop

untidy kitchen island

More mess!

tidy kitchen island

Much better. Thank goodness the car bin has gone!

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