I am decluttering our house like a crazy woman because I believe, like you, that less is more. But I still struggle in the kitchen. I see your kitchen photo when you do your freezer cooking and I can’t believe you have only crock pot on your counter. How do you do it? -Nami
Growing up, my mom never liked to have anything on the kitchen countertops, so I’m pretty sure that’s where my love of clean countertops originated. I try to have mine completely clean and cleared off as much as possible. Sometimes, when we’re in the middle of homeschooling around the kitchen table, things will pile up. That’s life–and I’m okay with it.
However, I try to make sure the countertops are clutter-free every night before dinner and then again before bed. At least in our home, I’ve found that if I purposefully clean everything off the countertops and put it away at least twice per day, they never pile up beyond control.
To give you a little peek into my kitchen, here’s how I try to have it look every afternoon and evening (try being the key word there, believe me, it doesn’t always happen!)
And here’s a view from the other direction (don’t ask me why the lighting is so bad; I still have a hundred thousand things to learn about photography–as is very apparent from all the pictures I post!):
I keep our weekly menu  on the side of the refrigerator. Having it there has been working so well for us to stay organized and to remind me of what I had planned to fix! I just print off the menu I format for my blog post each week  and then cross things off as we make the meals:
I don’t keep a lot of cookbooks, since many of the recipes I make are online (thank you, Pinterest !). However, I do have a few favorites that stay on the shelf. And then I have a few others that are kept in one of the cupboards.
This house is the first we’ve lived in that has an actual pantry! It’s taken some shuffling and re-shuffling for me to determine what works best to keep in the pantry. Here’s how it looks now:
Our Busy Bags  are on the top shelf in separate tubs. Jesse’s protein stuff and vitamins are on the second shelf. The third shelf holds the crock pot and lunch bags that we use when we take a field trip or have a picnic. The fourth shelf has my bread machine  and a canister of oatmeal on it. The floor has the juicer, food processor, and some bulk items.
Since we do much of our homeschooling around the kitchen table, I wanted to have some place handy to keep all our current school books and notebooks, but I didn’t want it to take over our kitchen/dining room. I finally decided upon these storage tubs:
They don’t match our kitchen, but I got them free and they are fun and functional. We store the rest of our homeschooling items on the shelves in our school room/exercise room down in the basement and I just bring up what we need each week. I’ll probably need to revisit and revamp this system as our children grow and our schoolwork/books multiply, but this is working well for us right now.
We do keep a tea kettle out on the stove at all times since I use it often. But other than that (and the knife set you see in another picture above), all other appliances are stowed away when not in use. The built-in Lazy Susan serves as a perfect place for the Vita-Mix , toaster, grain mill , popcorn popper, and a few other items
It might seem like a lot of work to put appliances away when you aren’t using them, but I honestly have found that the extra seconds it takes are worth the clutter-free look it brings to our kitchen. This system might not work for others, but it works well for us. An added benefit is that I have a lot more countertop space to use when working in the kitchen!