Organizing Checklist for Conquering Kitchen Clutter

Kitchens tend to be clutter magnets. Because they see so much activity on a daily basis, keeping them clean and clutter-free can really be a complicated chore.  Here’s a simple organizing checklist to help you keep kitchen clutter at bay.

Getting Started

  1. Determine what activities you want to do in the kitchen. Try not to choose more than three or four, unless it is absolutely necessary (e.g. eat, prepare food/drinks, wash dishes, and handle the mail).
  2. Decide what needs to stay in the kitchen in order to do those activities—everything else needs to be stored elsewhere.
  3. Design your activity centers (beverage center, baking center, cleanup center, dining center, etc).
  4. Frequently used items should be the most accessible.  Occasionally used items should be reasonably accessible.  Seasonal items can be stored in the recesses of the cabinets or elsewhere.
  5. Clear the horizontal surfaces (like the countertops and table) first.
  6. Make sure 2/3 of the counter space is clear (this gives you room to work).
  7. Keep only appliances that are used every day on the counters.
  8. Get rid of the excess—duplicates are for very frequently used items only.
  9. You only need one set of casual dinnerware and one set of formal dinnerware.
  10. Use your vertical space to store things (cabinets, shelving, ceiling pot racks, hooks, etc).
  11. Buy multi-functional furniture (they make the coolest tables with built-in storage these days).

The Refrigerator

  1. Store like items together just like the grocery store.
  2. Package leftovers in clear containers and store them in the front of the refrigerator.
  3. Do a quick clean out of refrigerator weekly.  Wipe down the outside and any spills on a daily basis if needed.

Cabinets and Pantry

  1. Set the pantry up like a grocery store.
  2. Make sure the most frequently used items are accessible.
  3. Clean out the pantry every six months.


  1. Create an inbox for incoming mail and papers.
  2. Clear table by dinner time (yes before dinner) each night.
  3. Clear table immediately after dinner each night.
  4. Create rules about what can be stored in the kitchen.
  5. Wash and put away dishes daily.
  6. Wipe counters nightly and as needed.
  7. Sweep nightly.
  8. Mop at least weekly
  9. Limit gadget purchases (How many Salad-Shooter-type gizmos do you really need?).
  10. Work with you natural habits and needs to create routines.

Good luck and conquer that kitchen clutter!

2 Response to “Organizing Checklist for Conquering Kitchen Clutter ”

October 22, 2010
5:46 pm

Comment :

Put like things together. That’s a winning piece of advice. It’s how we naturally do things. I find if I try to think up something grandeur, it makes it more complex and doesn’t work as well.

Thanks for this article Tiffany.

October 27, 2010
7:55 am

Comment :

Thank you, Kenn. I agree-it’s always best to work with your natural tendencies when creating an organizing system.

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