9 Little Fixes That Have A Big Impact On Kitchen Clutter

ways you're making your kitchen look messy

Cooking and preparing food in a cluttered kitchen is annoying at best, and utterly dysfunctional at worst. If your kitchen looks messy no matter how recently you cleaned it, you may have less obvious contributors to kitchen clutter that need to be addressed.

In this post, we’ll look at 9 such contributors to kitchen clutter, along with quick and easy fixes that will help you reclaim your space. You might be surprised by the difference in your kitchen once you’ve tackled them!

9 Little Things That Contribute To Kitchen Clutter

appliance cords

1. Small Appliances

Nothing will clutter up your kitchen counters like small kitchen appliances! Take stock of all your small appliances and sort them according to how often you use them. Those you use daily, like your coffee maker, can stay on the countertop if you have space. (Keep cords tidy using my favorite hack!)

Related: This One Easy Hack Will Solve All Your Cord Problems

The appliances you use less frequently should be stored in a cupboard or closet. The idea is to keep them accessible without sacrificing your precious counter space.

cabinet shelves

2. Ill-Adjusted Shelves

It’s easy to forget that many shelves, whether in your kitchen cupboards or a shelving unit, can be adjusted to different heights according to your needs. Inspect the heights of your shelves to ensure they make sense for what’s stored there.

clean fridge

3. Old Papers On Your Fridge

We all have our tastes and preferences about what we hang or don’t hang on our fridges. I prefer to keep the front of my fridge uncovered, but if you hang stuff on your fridge, clear off old papers or reminders regularly. If it isn’t useful or meaningful in some way, get rid of it.

utensil caddy

4. Numerous Cooking Utensils

If you keep a wide assortment of cooking utensils out on your countertop, they’re likely contributing to the cluttered feeling in your kitchen. Choose a few of your most frequently used cooking utensils to keep in a utensil crock, and store the rest in a drawer nearby.

junk drawer

5. Overflowing Junk Drawer

Most of us have a junk drawer in or near the kitchen, and while it’s nice to have a spot to dump miscellaneous items, it can quickly become a hot spot for kitchen clutter! Go through your junk drawer regularly to clear out things you don’t need, and keep the remaining items tidy using drawer organizing bins.

woman putting rice maker in donation box

6. Unused Items

Our tastes and eating habits change over time — it’s a fact of life! But hanging onto utensils or appliances you no longer use wastes storage space. For instance, if you stopped drinking fresh juice for breakfast every morning, selling or donating that bulky juicer can free up storage space for something you use more frequently.

junk mail basket

7. Mountains Of Junk Mail

It’s easy to let junk mail, bills, and catalogs grow into an unmanageable mountain of clutter. To prevent this from happening, stash your mail in a small basket or letter sorter and sort through it daily. Recycle the unimportant stuff right away to keep things tidy.

kitchen gadgets

8. Numerous Kitchen Gadgets

I love a good kitchen gadget, but it doesn’t take long for them to start cluttering my kitchen drawers. If your gadget situation has gotten out of control, pull them out, take an inventory, and set anything you don’t need aside to donate.

Remember, there are plenty of ways to use your more versatile kitchen tools to do the same job as those “unitasker” gadgets!

food storage

9. Bagged Foods

Bagged foods often end up looking cluttered or haphazard, so when you buy foods that come in bags (like dry beans, rice, pasta, or bulk spices), transfer them to stackable airtight containers.

What’s your best tip for keeping kitchen clutter under control?

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Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Homekeeping Tips

  • I have a very tiny kitchen so when my Sister gave me her buffet table I wanted to give it a chance. I purchased a thick decorative vinal tablecloth and moved my air fryer and water kettle to it. It also has 6 small drawers and I used those for various odds and ends in my kitchen.

  • I must admit to having several sets of sheets, however, I love to see different sheets each week when I wash one set, hang it out to dry, weather permitting. It is boring, after sixty three years, more really, if you count my college years, of changing my bed. A new look each week is something that I enjoy. I have blue, white, blue printed, dark gray and light gray sheets. :-)

  • A few months back, you said that I could clean my silk flowers in the dishwasher. Trusting your amazing tips, I took the white, thoroughly dusty and disgusting roses out of the arrangement and followed your instructions. These roses were about 20 years old so I knew some if not all would fall apart. I did lose some leaves. But, my dear, I now have beautifully clean silk roses. I managed to put them back in somewhat the same order and the arrangement looks fantastic. You saved me so much money! Now I can put them on our dining room table on Christmas night! Thank you so much. You are so amazing and I just love your knowledge and talent. I wish you and your beautiful family a Merry Christmas and a wonderful new year.
    P.S. I made my very own vanilla extract using 80 proof vodka (1 cup) and 3 split vanilla beans. It will be ready in two months. Another huge savings. Thank you again.

  • This is totally off topic, but I don’t see anywhere on your web site to ask a general question about something I believe I saw on one of your other posts. Did you have a recommendation for a brush to clean the garbage disposal? I see several for sale on line but I always trust your opinion since you test items you post about. Thanks in advance

  • Hi Jillee,
    Guilty as charged on most counts in this post, however I have crucial, mitigating defences
    We live in a quaint cottage, converted stables on a working farm, on the stunning Isle of Man, our open lounge and dining-kitchen are upstairs in what was the hay loft, with French windows that open onto the most stunning panorama of Manx farmland, woodland, rugged coast line, then the Irish Sea…
    My point is, to achieve all those positive attributes there has to be a trade-off! Kitchen space… I have 1 cupboard (under the sink so limited functionally), no drawers, about 5 feet of counter top and tall, open, fixed height shelving.
    I have my stand mixer, kettle and toaster on the counter top (nowhere else to store them), the larder is the wardrobe in the spare room, the best crockery, cutlery, glasses and linen napkins are in the drawers under the spare bed, there is no dishwasher and small items are hung (as neatly as possible) on hooks in the side of the tall shelving.
    It sounds like a logistical nightmare, especially as I have multiple disability issues but all things considered it is well managed and I’m the happiest I have been in my entire 50 plus years.
    Yes, it gets a little crazy when I’m baking or cooking but who cares? It all gets cleaned up afterwards; the most important thing is being happy.
    I hope that these mitigations get me off the hook and give calm to others who have minimal space; life is to be enjoyed, don’t stress the little things.

    I love reading your posts, keep up the good work,
    Have a blessed Yule snd a peacefil Nes Year,
    Michelle xx

  • I have my Kitchenaid out because it’s too heavy to lift out without help; however, I hadn’t thought about the utensils. They can go inside a drawer for sure. I tried to keep a basket for mail but that failed. I just need to go through it immediately. I did think of another thing that makes a kitchen look untidy: knickknacks all over and faux plants on the tops of their cupboards. I’m guilty of the knickknacks not the faux plants, and all are dust and dirt magnets. I relegated a few favorite tchotchke to my kitchen window.

  • Could you please update your calendar print outs to 2019? Right now they say 2016! I have used these in the past and would like to again! Thanks for all you do and Happy Holidays!

  • As a kitchen designer I constantly hear the cry for more storage. There are times when I can really help and times when I can’t. Typically what I see is TOO much clutter–stuff piled everywhere. It typically boils down to keeping too much stuff. It is heartbreaking walking into a space that has food, dishes, and random stuff piled up everywhere. Sometimes I just can’t produce more or better storage when space doesn’t allow for it. My advise to my clients is (I think this works for everyone) to consider the size of your space. If you have a small space–consider that. Do you really need 4 sets of dishes and 30 glasses/mugs when you can use 1 set and 4 glasses, 4 mugs, and a few extra glasses and free up a cabinet for FOOD? (You really can’t believe the amount of hoarding that I see!). When you clean out your kitchen–take everything OUT–and then really look at each item before it goes back in. If you really don’t love it, it isn’t a good quality, you don’t remember the last time you used it, you’re keeping it because it was a gift, GET RID OF IT. Only fill the space up with things you love. That is what your kitchen and you deserve. I know a little soap-boxy but I feel passionate about clearing away things that don’t serve us!

    • Hi Stephanie, I totally agree about hoarding, I am a retired chef/lecturer and accumulated masses of equipment/gadgets over the decades, I downsised ruthlessly (recycled almost everything, including very expensive items) when I moved to the Isle of Man, then again when moving to where I live now, some items I miss when I look for them but on the whole I recycled the equipment I no longer use or need and hoprfully those items are appreciated by their new owners.
      Thanks for you pragmatic advice,
      Michelle xx

    • Oh, yes, guilty as charged as I have way too many dishes, and I only use one set. If my granddaughter, in the south, who just moved our of my daughter and son in law’s home and into a new condo, lived closer she could have many of my dishes.

  • One thing my husband and I make sure to do is empty the dishwasher after its run. Nothing clutters up a kitchen faster than a dishwasher full of clean dishes.

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