We haven’t done an official poll or anything, but if we had to guess the single most popular thing that most people wished for in their kitchens, we’d say it’s more counter space. No matter how much (or how little) we have, it never feels like enough. That’s why we spent some time rounding up our best ideas to help you make the most of your counters. We have ideas for how to keep them clean and decluttered, how to set them up to work efficiently on them, and yes, even how to create more space when you thought there wasn’t any.
Here are 10 of our best ideas to make your countertops a million times better.
1. Get your cords under control.
What do toasters, stand mixers, and coffee makers have in common? They all tend to sit out on our countertops. And they all have cords — long, unsightly cords! Instead of letting them snake all around, use a twist tie to bundle them up. Or try this cool hack for your stand mixer: You can get a special cord bundler, and attach it to the back of your machine.
Read more: The Smartest Ways to Deal with Cords on Your Kitchen Counter
2. Put your most-used stuff on a tray.
A bunch of stuff sitting out on the counter is bound to look junky and cluttered. That same stuff on a tray (or in a bowl, or perched on a cake stand)? Well then it looks like a purposeful vignette! While you’re doing this, we also recommend putting a cute crock or vase by the stove and filling it up with your go-to utensils (wooden spoons, spatulas, whisks, etc). This way, your tools are there when you need them.
3. DIY some burner covers for your stove.
Ever wish you could extend your countertops? You kind of can by putting burner covers over your stove! We’ve got the steps to show you how to make your own covers, custom to your specs.
Read more: How To Build Burner Covers and Double the Counter Space in Your Tiny Kitchen
4. Keep a bowl of soapy water by the sink.
Yes, this is one more thing we’re telling you to put out on your counters (rather than something to take away), but this post is also about making things more efficient. And this is super efficient. Keep a bowl of soapy water by the sink and use it as a soaking station for utensils. Then, when it’s time to do the dishes, your sink is clear (or clear-ish) and you won’t have to deal with forks with crusted-on goo.
Read more: Don’t Wash This Bowl! A Soapy Bowl By the Sink Is the First Step in Washing Up
5. Find a new home for your paper towels.
Paper towels on your countertop take up prime real estate. If you mount a holder (like the one in the photo above) on the inside of a cabinet door, not only do you get that space back, but you also take advantage of some space that would otherwise go wasted. You may even find that you reach for fewer paper towels. In that case, Mother Earth thanks you.
Read more: This $13 Gadget Saves a Ton of Counter Space in My Small Kitchen
6. Banish paper.
No matter how your house is laid out, it is way too easy to walk in the door and throw the mail, school permission slips, and all your work papers on the kitchen counter. Of course, that’s not the best use of your counter space. Instead of letting them pile up, try to deal with papers right away. Or set up a sorting system (ideally NOT in the kitchen) so that bills and important papers have a real place to live.
Read more: 3 Professional Organizers on Dealing with Paper Clutter in the Kitchen
7. Wipe as you work.
It’s simple science: A fresh splatter is going to be easier to clean than an old, hardened one. Get in the habit of wiping down your counter as you work (and make messes) and it’ll be easier to clean when it’s time for a sanitizing session.
Related: The Best Way to Clean Any Kitchen Countertop
8. Move the slow cooker.
If you use your slow cooker a lot, you might be tired of how much space it takes up on your counter. (It can be hard to make a side salad when you’ve got a “small” appliance taking up a good chunk of space!) Consider moving it to your stovetop. It’ll free up counter space, and the stovetop was actually designed to take the heat, moisture, splatters, and drips.
Read more: The Smartest Place to Set Up a Slow Cooker in the Kitchen
9. Get a dish rack that can easily be put away.
Every kitchen needs a dish rack (because, even if you have a dishwasher, there are still plenty of things that are hand-wash-only and need a place to dry). The key is getting one that can be put away so that you’re not looking at it all the time.
Related: Amazon Shoppers Are Obsessed with This $16 Dish Rack
10. And a spoon rest.
Where does that spoon go in between stirs? Balancing it on the edge of the pot is just asking for trouble. And putting it down on the counter is gonna make a mess. Instead, get yourself a nice spoon rest and then you can just pop it in the dishwasher at the end of the night. Don’t want to buy anything? Pull out a small salad plate or the lid to a storage container.
Read more: The $7 Amazon Find That’ll Help You Keep Your Countertops Nice and Clean
Got any other tips to add? Leave them in the comments below.
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