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Week #1 Organized Home Challenge
Kitchen Organization: Countertops & Sink

This week's challenge is all about kitchen organization, both overall and with specific emphasis on keeping your countertops and sink clear and clean.

In the kitchen organization challenge you'll get step by step instructions for how to organize all aspects of your kitchen, specifically focusing this week on flat surfaces such as countertops, the sink area, and kitchen table, and then the following week on the drawers and cabinets {part of the 52 Week Organized Home Challenge on Home Storage Solutions 101} #52WeekChallenge #OrganizedHome #KitchenOrganizationuse this Pin it button to save to Pinterest

The reason I chose this challenge as the first of the year is because keeping your kitchen organized (and functional) is so important to keeping our whole house running smoothly, and can have such a positive impact in our lives.

So, let's start the new year off with a bang and really do something that has a big organizational impact. This will help keep us motivated to continue on with the rest of the challenges, and start seeing the positive results of our efforts right away.

Are you new here? This kitchen organization challenge is part of the 52 Weeks To An Organized Home Challenge. (Click the link to learn how to join us for free for future and past challenges if you aren't already a regular reader).

Step 1: Think About The Functions Of Your Kitchen

Steps for organizing and clearing off your kitchen countertops {part of the 52 Week to an Organized Home Challenge on Home Storage Solutions 101} #OrganizeKitchen #OrganizingKitchen #KitchenTipsuse this Pin it button to save to Pinterest

Before we dive in to action for the kitchen organization challenge, let's make sure we're headed in the right direction to best suit the needs of our home and family as we organize.

That means we need to consider how we currently use our kitchen, either intentionally or unintentionally, and how we want to use it in the future.

Common Functions In Kitchens

There are both obvious functions of a kitchen, and the sometimes unintended functions of a kitchen, because of its central location as a hub of family life. Here are some of the most common uses and functions. See which ones you use yours for:

A Key To Kitchen Organization Is Making Each Function Of Your Space Intentional

Your kitchen can have as many functions as you want, as long as there is room for all of them, and you plan to use the space in that way. However, be very careful to make all of the functions of this space intentional, since this is the real key to kitchen organization.

For example, if your kitchen is a dumping ground for keys, mail, and other stuff that comes in the door you should consider if you really have room for this, and whether this is working for you. If you want to have your space used for this function make it intentional, by adding a bowl for keys, or a file for bills and mail to respond to, and create systems for keeping up with the stuff on a regular basis.

On the other hand, perhaps you decide you should eliminate a function from the kitchen, because you don't have room for it there anymore. Then, in that case make a space somewhere else in the house to do that task. For example, if having the kids do homework in the kitchen is causing dinner time chaos, then create a homework center somewhere else in the house so the default location is not the kitchen table.

Obviously, the functions that can only happen in the kitchen, like cooking, need to have top priority for the space, with other functions being added only if there is enough space for them too.

Step 2: Create Useable Counter Space And Clear Your Kitchen Table (Mostly)

wall mounted pot rackKeep counters clear with a wall mounted
pot rack available on

Once you've decided how you want to use your kitchen you can begin taking action to meet those goals, and to take control of the space.

This week in the kitchen organization challenge we'll focus on counter space and keeping your sink clear, and focus on other areas later in the challenge. (If you're interested check at the bottom of the page for a sneak peek for the upcoming weeks' challenges related to the kitchen).

Why Clear Counters Are So Important

There are two main reasons why keeping your counters (mainly) clear is so important to home organization.

The first is that you need clear counter space to do many different cooking activities. Since this is the primary function of a kitchen you need space to do these tasks.

The second is more of a mental reason. Seeing clear space, instead of cluttered space, is much more calming and can keep you from feeling so stressed when you enter the room.

Please note, however, that I am talking about mostly clear counters, not completely clear and empty space. I am not trying to get you to live a spartan existence where it doesn't look like anyone lives in your home. Instead, you should have a few, well chosen functional, beautiful pieces that are used frequently on your counters. It should just most likely be less stuff than you currently have there.

Declutter Or Put Away Stuff On Your Counters That Does Not Fit Your Kitchen's Functions

Once you've decided what the functions of your kitchen and its counters (or kitchen islands) you can remove any items that don't fit those functions.

For example, if you've got stacks of paper everywhere, but you've decided that your home office is a better place to store these things long term, or where you'll deal with them each week, then remove them from your counters and table and place them where they should go (or your can create a home mail organizer center for incoming papers and mail). In addition, make a plan for how you'll get those items to their true designated home from now on, on a regular basis (most likely, daily), so the same types of stuff don't start re-accumulating.

Harder Task: Decluttering And Putting Away Items On Your Counter That Do Fit Your Kitchen's Functions

magnetic knife barMagnetic Knife Bar & Hooks
On Walls Keep Counter Space Free
Click To Purchase on

Removing all the stuff from your counters that doesn't belong is really the easy part of this kitchen organization challenge, or what I like to call the low hanging fruit. You know there is a better place to put that stuff in the future and you create systems to make sure it gets there, instead of back on the countertops.

On the other hand, what about all the stuff on your counters that does deal with cooking, for example, like small kitchen appliances? These can be harder to deal with because they "go" in the kitchen, but they take up so much space that they make it hard to actually use the kitchen for cooking.

These are the types of items where you need to start really thinking about how often you use them, to know if they deserve a spot on the counter or not. Definitely, if you have room, keep out appliances that you use daily, like a coffee maker or toaster (if you truly use them daily).

Depending on the size of your kitchen, you may even decide you have enough room to keep out appliances you use on a weekly basis.

However, anything you don't use at least weekly should not be on your counter top. Instead, it should be put away somewhere else, perhaps in a cabinet in your kitchen, or in a storage area if you only use it once a year.

The rule to remember for kitchen organization, or really any organization for that matter, is that the more frequently you use something the easier it should be to get to. The converse is also true, so if you use it infrequently, don't let it take up prime real estate in your storage areas.

Declutter The Following Types Of Gadgets And Appliances

getting rid of kitchen clutter hall of fame

Some kitchen gadgets and small appliances shouldn't be stored at all, but instead should just be decluttered all together. Here's some simple guidelines to follow, to know when to just throw it away (or donate it to charity).

  • Too old
  • Broken
  • You have duplicates
  • You know you'll just never use it again (or haven't used it in the last year, at least)

For a detailed list of which of the 15 minute decluttering missions pertain to this room of the house check out the getting rid of kitchen clutter hall of fame, which also has inspiration of what others have accomplished with these challenges in their kitchen.

In addition, I've written an article specifically about decluttering small appliances here which you can read.

Make It A Habit To Declutter & Clear Your Kitchen Table Daily

How to declutter your kitchen table {and keep it that way}

On a daily basis your kitchen table may be used for many functions. Obviously you eat at it, but it also tends to be where we do paperwork, the kids do homework, and more.

That's part of life, and isn't something to be discouraged. But it is a pain when the table is full of clutter and stuff that doesn't belong there when you want to do another activity.

The solution: daily take a few minutes and clear your kitchen table of previous activities so it is ready for the next meal, the next family board game night, to tackle the math homework, or whatever else.

Here's a short article on this daily habit, which also includes several pictures of readers cleared kitchen tables as inspiration.

Step 3: Consider These Kitchen Storage Solutions To Help Clear Counter Space

Sometimes it is helpful, as a part of your kitchen organization project, to have some items out of drawers or cabinets, such as frequently used pots and pans, or kitchen utensils, but you don't want them to take up too much counter space. Here are some kitchen storage solutions and ideas to consider to keep your counters free of clutter, and still have access to frequently used items:

  • Rails, racks and hooks to hang pots and pans (such as from the ceiling) or utensils (from the wall) (as shown above)
  • Knife block or magnetic knife storage (also as shown above) for the wall
  • Shelves
  • Rolling kitchen cart, to hold cooking supplies or small kitchen appliances
  • Decorative utensil crock or holder to hold utensils close to stove

Step 4: Create The Habit Of Keeping Your Sink Clear Of Dishes At Least Two Times Per Day

sink organizerKeep Dish Cleaning Supplies Handy With
Sink Organizer available on

The other part of this kitchen organization challenge that goes along with clearing your countertops, is to begin or stick with the habit of keeping your sink clear of dirty dishes, at least most of the time.

I know this is more to do with cleaning up than kitchen organization per se, but hear me out about why I'm including it in the kitchen organization challenge. When you've got dirty dishes in the sink it is kind of like an invitation to dump junk on the counters, since the kitchen is dirty anyway.

I've often heard this symptom and effect called the "broken window syndrome." The idea is that if there's one broken window that does not get quickly fixed, then the rest of the neighborhood will quickly go to pot, since the thinking is no one cares what it looks like.

I don't want you to have to be the dirty dishes police, always calling people out for the stray bowl in the sink. Therefore, I think a reasonable habit is to make sure the sink is cleared out twice a day, such as after breakfast and dinner (or bedtime), while you (or a loved one, or child) is doing the normal kitchen cleaning routine. To learn more about daily tasks for the kitchen you can read my article about kitchen cleaning tips on the sister site, Household Management 101.

In addition, you can learn more about creating a house cleaning schedule for your entire home, in a later Challenge.

Once you're regularly washing dirty dishes, pots and pans, you can look at your kitchen sink area, and perhaps declutter some items from the space, such as excess or old sponges and scrubbers, dish soap bottles, dish drainers, or other items. You can check out this article about how to declutter your kitchen sink area for more tips for this task!

Finally, several readers who've already done this challenge have shared their really awesome kitchen sink organization ideas and storage solutions, which I put into a hall of fame. If you need some inspiration, come check it out.

Listen To Taylor's Video Tips For This Week's Organized Home Challenge & Declutter 365 Missions

Do you want more in-depth tips and instructions for how to do this week's missions and challenge all about your kitchen? If so, I've got recorded video tips from me, Taylor, from the video archives in the Declutter 365 Premium group, all about this week's challenge and missions.

These video tips are available on demand in the archives, once you're a member of the group.

In Week #1's video I discussed the following topics, among others:

  • Knowing the "why" for your decluttering efforts
  • Tips for decluttering and organizing the kitchen (specifically flat surfaces like counters, the table, etc.)
  • Declutter 365 missions for this week
Declutter 365 Premium video archive available on demand all about kitchen decluttering and organizing, part 1, on Home Storage Solutions 101use this Pin it button to save to Pinterest

I suggest watching the video archive for the week, perhaps while you're doing some decluttering or cleaning around your home, before starting the week's missions and Challenge, and then you'll be able to breeze through that week's worth of decluttering missions, as well as organize what's necessary for the 52 Week Organized Home Challenge, based on the advice and instructions within those videos.

It really is like having me, Taylor, available, 24-7, as your decluttering and organizing coach, for every area of your home!

Plus, once you're a member of Declutter 365 Premium you get access to not only this video, but all the videos for the 52 weeks of the year, for 5 years (that's over 260 videos available in the archives!)

Learn more about the Declutter 365 Premium Group

Get This Kitchen Decluttering Checklist + 32 Other Decluttering Checklists For Your Home

Right now you're decluttering your kitchen, and there's a lot of stuff to declutter in this space.

Get your 2 page kitchen decluttering checklist, plus 32 other decluttering checklists, to help you declutter your entire home here.

Get this kitchen decluttering checklist and 32 other decluttering checklists for your home {on Home Storage Solutions 101}

I've done the hard work of breaking down these tasks into smaller more manageable steps for you, so you don't get overwhelmed or worry you're forgetting a task, and you can go at the pace you want, whether that's fast or slow.

In addition, you can tackle these decluttering tasks in whatever order you want when you use these checklists!

Click here to learn more about 33 Decluttering Checklists Pack

Tell Me How The Kitchen Organization Challenge Is Going For You

organize kitchen counters hall of fame

I would love to know how this week's kitchen organization challenge is going. You can tell me your progress or give me more ideas for how you've organized this area of your home below in the comments.

I also love before and after pictures, and would love to see some of yours. Submit your pictures (up to four per submission) and get featured in the Creative Storage Solutions Hall of Fame. You've worked hard to get organized, so now here's your chance to show off!

In fact, we've already had several readers share some great pictures and the results they've accomplished in this challenge. You can check out these parts to the hall of fame created so far:

kitchen cabinet and drawer organization challenge

Sneak Peek For Next Week's Challenge

We're working on our homes slowly, one area at a time, so don't get too distracted from the first part of the kitchen organization challenge, which I've designated as dealing with your countertops and sink only. However, I want you to know that we're focusing on the kitchen for a couple of weeks, so you don't have to do it all this week.

Instead, next week we'll focus on organizing kitchen cabinets, cupboards and drawers, and the following couple of weeks will be devoted to food storage areas. Since the kitchen needs so much organization and constant attention, because it is used so often, I've given us plenty of time to get it done.

Thanks So Much For Joining These Challenges

As a final note, I wanted to thank each of you, from the bottom of my heart, for joining these challenges with me.

I've heard from so many of you already expressing your excitement to get started and make 2024 a great, clutter free and organized year for yourself, your home and your family. I am honored that you'd let me help you with this goal, and I don't want to disappoint.

I am also honored and appreciate when I receive tips and more organization ideas from you wonderful women (and men), who have such creativity, passion and design sense. My hope for this site is to make it a community where we can all share ideas about what's working, and brainstorm ways to fix areas that aren't in our homes, especially as it deals with organization and storage. The beauty of home organization is that there is no one "right" way, but many ways that may work. I love that!

If you're enjoying these challenges, and know of someone else who may also benefit from them I would really appreciate you passing the link on to them.

Sign Up For The Newsletter To Get Your Free 2024 Declutter 365 Calendar With Daily 15 Minute Missions

Click here to get your free printable 2024 declutter 365 calendar

Have you gotten your 2024 Declutter 365 calendar yet, which provides daily 15 minute decluttering missions?

As you know now, the first step in any organization project is to decluter, so these daily missions track with the 52 Week Organized Home Challenge, decluttering the same areas we then want to organize, so you can accomplish that key first decluttering step in the process.

That means by doing both the daily missions and the weekly challenges you could have your whole house both clutter free and organized by the end of 2024! How awesome is that?

Please note that if you're already subscribed to the newsletter you don't have to do anything to get it the latest calendar. Instead, it's been sent to you via email, through a link in the newsletter. There is no need to resubscribe for 2024, you're already set and ready to go, and the calendar should already be in your email inbox!

Make Sure You Make The Most Of These 52 Organizing Challenges

Get your copy of the printable one page 52 Week Organized Home Challenge schedule for the year here, so you can see all the challenges we're working on.

Get your schedule for this year's 52 Week Organized Home Challenge

Further, if you'd like to join a community of others who are all commmitted to these organizing challenges and corresponding decluttering missions, and want more interaction with me, Taylor, video archives of Taylor providing more tips for each of these challenges and missions, as well as live monthly group coaching sessions focusing on the skills and habits necessary to maintain your home from now on, I'd urge you to join the private and exclusive Declutter 365 Premium Facebook group (you can learn more about it at the link).

Declutter 365 missions premium

In addition, have you gotten your Declutter 365 Products yet, to make sure you can get even more assistance with decluttering and organizing your home this year? There are both free products (like the Declutter 365 calendar, a $20 value), as well as add-ons, such as daily text messages, planner stickers, and a Premium Facebook group, as well as a pack of printabe decluttering checklists.

Declutter 365 products to help you declutter your home over the course of this year

In the kitchen organization challenge you'll get step by step instructions for how to organize all aspects of your kitchen, specifically focusing this week on flat surfaces such as countertops, the sink area, and kitchen table, and then the following week on the drawers and cabinets {part of the 52 Week Organized Home Challenge on Home Storage Solutions 101} #52WeekChallenge #OrganizedHome #KitchenOrganizationuse this Pin it button to save to Pinterest

Click here to get your Declutter 365 products for 2024

Get Decluttering & Organizing Tips Newsletter


Join the Home Storage Solutions 101 newsletter, and get as your free gift the 2024 Declutter 365 Calendar (a $20 value) from me, Taylor, your decluttering and organizing guide.

When you work through the Declutter 365 missions, and accompanying 52 Week Organized Home Challenges, you'll be able to declutter your home one mission at a time, organize what's left, and learn the skills, habits and routines to maintain your space from now on.

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