When people come to our house or see pictures of our kitchen, they often ask, “How on earth do you keep your kitchen countertops cleared off?”
Yes, I might be weird, but I like to have really, really clean countertops without almost nothing on them.
I’ve always been like this. I grew up in a home where my mom modeled this. Other than a basket of towels and occasionally some bananas, there was never anything on the countertops.
And I grew to love those clean countertops so much that I knew it was what I wanted in my own home someday.
Now, a lot of people have said to me, “If I had a big kitchen, I could totally have clean countertops.”
I found this picture of when Jesse and I were first married and lived in a little basement apartment during our lean law school years. This apartment was small enough where you could plug the vacuum into one outlet and vacuum the whole apartment without switching to another outlet.
Here’s a picture of our kitchen in that basement apartment…
Yes, it was harder to keep the countertops cleaned in this kitchen because it was so tiny and when you made a meal, it messed up the entire kitchen. However, I loved a clean kitchen and clean countertops so much, that I made it a priority to have my kitchen look like this most of the time.
Now some people think that our kitchen is too clean and too minimalistic. I’ve been told before by people online that our home seems sterile and not warm at all because it’s too cleaned off. And I get that. What works for us, won’t work for others and that’s okay!
I’m a big believer in creating a space that works for you and your family and that makes you happy and encourages you to thrive. However, if you’re wondering how we manage to have clean countertops, here are four tips that help us keep our countertops cleaned off:
1. Only have a few appliances.
Okay, so I’m probably going to step on some appliance-loving toes here, but I don’t think you need to have an appliance for everything under the sun.
If you have a doughnut-making business, by all means, have a Doughnut Hole Baker (is there even such a thing? I may have made up a new appliance!), but if you’ve never made Doughnut Holes and never plan to, please don’t go get yourself a Doughnut Hole Baker and then have it collect dust for years.
Appliances take up a LOT of space and are usually one of the biggest reasons people need to have items on their countertops — because they have so many appliances that there isn’t room to fit all of them in their cupboards.
We stick with a few quality appliances that have multi-purpose use (in most cases) and that we use weekly, sometimes daily! These are things like: a Vita-Mix, a hand-held mixer, a Bread Maker, a toaster, a KitchenAid, two Crock-Pots, and a Keurig. That’s it!
The kitchen in our first non-rental house, the house we paid cash for — I loved this kitchen so much because it was so much bigger than any kitchen we’d ever had in the apartments and duplexes we’d rented in the past. I did a tour of this kitchen and where we kept everything in it here.
2. Don’t keep what you don’t use.
I go through my kitchen very regularly and ask myself, “Do I have more than I need? What can I get rid of? What am I not using?”
If you’re just hanging onto an item because you think you might use it or if you’re just keeping it because there’s some nostalgic reason but it’s serving no purpose, taking up space, and not bringing you joy, get rid of it!
If you don’t love it and you don’t need it, find another home for it. Because there’s no point in it taking up valuable real estate in your kitchen cupboards or on your kitchen countertops!
3. Regularly clean out your pantry.
I’ve talked about having Eat From the Pantry weeks where we challenge ourselves to see how long we can go without going to the store. If you want to have some creative meals, save some money, and use up what you have, this is great way to do so.
Then, once you’ve gone as long as you can go on your Eat From the Pantry Challenge, go through the extra items and get rid of what you’re not going to use. If you’re not going to eat it and it’s not expired, donate it to a local food pantry and bless someone else.
Our current kitchen in TN — my favorite kitchen of all the houses we’ve lived in, even thought it’s a rental house!
4. Train yourself to put it away.
Want to know my best tip to get rid of stuff on your countertops? It’s simple: Train yourself to put your appliances away. Find a place for it — not on your countertops (!) — and start developing the habit of putting back what you got out.
When we lived in the basement apartment, I had to get creative when it came to where to store things. I ended up putting some of less-often-used appliances at the top of the coat closet that was right next to the kitchen. It was unconventional, but it worked and it allowed us to use that closet space fully while also enjoying clean countertops.
Try the 30-Day Clean Countertop Challenge!
Having clean countertops might seem like a lot of work and effort and it might be something that’s just not a priority to you. I totally respect that! What works for us won’t necessarily work for others.
That said, if you’re frustrated with the current state of your kitchen countertops, I want to challenge you to do a 30-Day Clean Countertop Challenge. Here’s how it could work for you:
- First, go through your kitchen and get rid of items you don’t love, need, and/or use. (I highly recommend reading or listening to The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up for some encouragement to pare down and make your home a space that you love and that brings you and your family joy.)
- Then, find a place for the items that are currently taking up residence on your countertops. If you can’t find enough space, go through your items again to see if there’s anything else you can get rid of. Or, get creative and find other places to store items that might not necessarily be in your kitchen (i.e. my coat closet example above).
- Finally, commit to 30 days of clean countertops. 30 days where you’re committed to put away everything you get out once you’re done with it. At the end of 30 days, you will likely find that you just naturally put things away — without even thinking about it!
If you hate your clean countertops at the end of 30 days, you can go back to however they looked before the challenge. But maybe you’ll fall in love with it and realize you love clean countertops, too! And if you do, I will be so happy because my mom inspired me with it and I’d love to be able to inspire you, too, because it’s made such a difference in our home!
What helps you keep your countertops cleaner? Leave a comment and tell us!