15 Kitchen Counter Organization Tips For A Space You'll Love

Kitchen Counter Organization Tips
“Being organized is knowing what you have and where to find it,” explains Laura Cattano, a professional organizer based in New York.

“It's also about being in control of what you have and creating a flow through your home so things are where you need them,” continues Cattano, whose work has been featured by publications including The New York Times, Domino, and Vogue.

And one of the most important areas of your home to keep tidy and organized is your kitchen counter space. If your kitchen countertops are unorganized, there’s less space to get things done, and day-to-day tasks like cooking can become more stressful than needed. But on the flipside, an organized kitchen counter can go a long way to creating an enjoyable environment.

“All things have energy,” says Cattano. “And when things are in the right spot it can dramatically change the feeling of a space. Things are like puzzle pieces, in the box they're a mess, when they're all in the right spot a beautiful picture emerges.”

So how can you turn your kitchen counters from a chaotic puzzle of everyday items like mail, keys, wallets, and shopping lists, into a beautiful, zen-like space? Read on for our best tips, and some of Laura Cattano’s expert advice. 

Why organization matters in the kitchen

“Having your space set up for how you live takes away the thinking when you have to clean up and put things away - they just go back where you found it, saving you time and mental exertion,” says Cattano. 

“To me, there's no worse feeling than searching for something you know you have like your keys. It's metally taxing and physically stressful. your home and your things should help you do something not stress you out.”

“To me, there's no worse feeling than searching for something you know you have like your keys. It's metally taxing and physically stressful. your home and your things should help you do something not stress you out.”

But it’s easy for your kitchen counters to fill with unwanted clutter, like yesterday’s mail, and those cookbooks you’ll never use but don’t want to throw out. But keeping your counters organized can have plenty of benefits. Here’s what the research says: 

An Indiana University study found that spending time cleaning your home can actually do more for your health than a quick walk outside. Further to this, a study from 2010 found that the way people describe their homes could reflect whether their time at home feels restorative or stressful. 

And in 2011, researchers at Princeton University discovered that clutter can make it hard to concentrate on a singular task. So if you have a cluttered kitchen, you may find it harder to give your full attention to cooking or anything else. 

So where should you start? 

Cattano’s process starts with you. “Being organized is also about clarifying how you want to live, how you want a space to feel and then only keeping things and taking new things in your life to help you achieve that,” she says. 

“It's about taking control over the things you already have and more importantly how you take new things into your life. what greater benefit is there over having a feeling of control".

When organizing an area, you should also think about the experiecne of doing something in that space. "The experience should be graceful, intuitive, and easy," says Cattano. "When it's set up like that, flowing through the space and doing things with ease automatically puts you at ease. Think about how certain spaces automatically make you feel better while others don't. take note of those spaces and what you like about them so you can replicate those things in your own space."

15 Kitchen counter organization tips

If you want to reclaim this prized space and create a clean, organized countertop, the organization tips in this post will help to make your kitchen feel like a place you enjoy spending time and cooking meals. 

So here's how to get the most out of your kitchen counter space, starting with five tips from our expert organizer, Laura Cattano.

1. Create zones [from Laura Cattano]

Kitchen Zones

“When organizing a kitchen, create zones: prepping, cooking, serving,” explains Cattano. “Sort your things into those categories and store where it makes the most sense.” For example: 

  • Cooking tools, spices, oils, and foods that need to be cooked (as opposed to snacks or ready to eat foods) near the stove / oven.
  • Prep tools near the largest surface space.
  • Serving pieces near the dishwasher or sink

“Create stations for specific things that you do on a regular basis like coffee, tea, or smoothies,”  continues Cattano. “Store everything you would need to do that task like glasses, spoons, ingredients, etc in one space most often in the cabinet above the coffee machine or blender.”

When it comes to storing items on your counters, Cattano advises you to “put things on the counter in a way that makes the most sense for how and when those things are being used. Think about what you use the most and would actually like to see everyday.”

2. Create more space with shelf risers

Space on a Kitchen
Open Spaces Shelf Risers

Shelf risers are a great way to create a little more space in your kitchen. Shelf risers will enable you to make more space on your counters (or in your cupboards) and help you to keep your kitchen surfaces neat and organized. 

The Shelf Risers from Open Spaces offer a beautiful and simple way to double the surface area available on your countertop.

3. Think about ease of access when storing items [from Laura Cattano]

“If you have a small kitchen with limited storage and prefer not having things on the counter, either create space in a closet or get a chest of drawers or a closed cabinet that can be stored near the kitchen so not every cabinet is jam filled with stuff making it harder to get things in and out,” explains Cattano. 

“Ease of use is important to think about when setting up storage; being able to get things in and out of a cabinet or drawer easily will just make you more inclined to cook.”

4. Make countertop storage appear intentional [from Laura Cattano]

Countertop Storage

“If you like to have a few spices or oils on the counter next to the oven, remember that oils go bad when exposed to light, so unless the oil is in a tin, or dark colored glass you may want to invest in a smaller bottle that you can refill when needed. A tray is a great way to corral these things and make it look intentional and that you didn't just leave these things out.”

5. Explore decorative storage options [from Laura Cattano]

“I love using decorative storage vs something that is strictly for the kitchen," says Cattano. "For example a utensil holder vs using a ceramic pot or large vase. it can give a space a more personal feel.”

To increase the storage capacity of a countertop but not have to actually see everything, vintage bread boxes look great and can hold anything - not just bread.

6. Create additional space under cabinets [from Laura Cattano]

"Under cabinet drawers and holders that can easily mount to the bottom of most cabinets (not ones with integrated lighting) that can store knives, spices, wine glasses, simultaneously saving room in the existing drawers and cabinets while not taking up precious counter space," explains Cattano.

7. Create a set space for everyday items

Almost every kitchen has a little clutter, and no matter how hard you try, it's difficult to keep your counters 100% free from a little mishmash of mail and everyday essentials like phones, keys and wallets. But what you can do is create a set space for these items.

By having a set space to lay your keys and other items that regularly move in and out of your kitchen, you can begin to forge positive habits of keeping things in one place. This also helps to make sure you don’t have to dash around looking for stuff before you leave the house. 

For example, Gather from Ugmonk is a modular organizer that can help you to win the battle against clutter and make your counters feel a little more structured.

Set space for everyday items
Gather by Ugmonk

8. Marie Kondo your kitchen 

If you want to keep your kitchen counters organized, you might need to get a little ruthless and get rid of anything you don’t really need. 

So why not give your kitchen a spring clean? Even if clutter is hidden in your drawers or cupboards, it can easily spill out onto your counters. Run through your everything you store in your kitchen — yes, even that random “stuff” drawer you have — and ask yourself: 

  • Is it essential? 
  • Do you actually use it?

Most kitchens tend to have at least a few things you can get rid of such as old or duplicate utensils and rarely opened cookbooks.

9. Use kitchenware that’s designed to save space

Kitchenware Organization
Caraway's magnetic storage rack.

Over recent years, a number of modern kitchenware brands have launched. Many of these brands have thoughtfully designed products with the goal of helping you to save space and keep your kitchen organized. 

For example: 

  • Equal Parts consciously designed its products to be multi-purpose, and each of its pans nests together to save space. Its pots and pans and mixing bowls also feature universal lids.
  • Caraway’s cookware set comes with a magnetic storage rack and canvas lid holder.
  • Material has crafted ‘The Base’, a combination of the standard knife block and utensil holder as a way to keep everything together in one place and avoid clutter. 

When it comes to buying cookware, look for products that will help you to keep clear, organized counters.

10. Showcase your cookware…

Cookware placement

These days cookware products can be rather eye-catching. Especially feature-pieces like the dutch oven by Milo or the aesthetically pleasing Always Pan from Our Place.

When you’re not using these items you can showcase them neatly on your stovetop, or if you have space they can also look great on your counters — remember organization isn't so much about having less on your counters, but how the elements of your kitchen are arranged.

11. … or hide it in the oven

An alternative, to free up space in your cupboards and counters, you can store larger cookware items like pots and pans in the oven. This keeps them out of sight and when the over is in use you can quickly place any unused pans on the stove or counter.

12. Create a pleasing aesthetic by spacing items

Spacing items

One of the main goals of kitchen counter organization is to create a calming, welcoming space. One way to do this is to think carefully about the way you space items sitting on your worktop. For example, check out how the white pots are spaced in the kitchen above.

Shop this article
No items found.
Want to Create Your Dream Home?
Get the Inside Look, our free weekly newsletter that delivers curated home decor and furniture picks, expert design advice, and more. Join 4,000+ subscribers.
Enter your email to sign up
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

13. Hang cooking utensils and pans

Hang cooking utensils

Most kitchens have a little wall space. And if you want to ensure your kitchen essentials like utensils and skillets are easily on-hand and not cluttering up your counters, you could try hanging them above your stove — or in any free wall space you have.

14. Have an inbox/outbox

Most of the clutter in my kitchen tends to be mail, paperwork or things in transition — stuff I need to post, letters I need to open, or books that need to go back on shelves. 

One of the best ways to stop this type of clutter is to create a space for it. Having an inbox or basket close to your kitchen door for anything that’s just passing through will help to keep your counters clear and organized.

15. Use shelves to create more space

Shelves on a Wall

To keep your counters nice and organized, you could look upwards and create more storage space using shelves. A shelf can also be a great way to organize one of the key zones — cooking, prep, serving — or to showcase some of your favorite cookware and accessories.

Are you ready to make the most of your kitchen counter space?

Organized counters can make a world of difference to how your kitchen feels and hopefully some of the tips above have helped spark a few ideas on how you can make the most of the space you have.

Thanks again to Laura Cattano for the expert tips and advice shared in this article. Find out more about Laura on her website or follow her Instagram for organizational design tips.

Written by
Ash Read
Ash is the founder of Living Cozy. He's been featured by publishers like MyDomaine, Realtor, Real Homes, Architectural Digest, The Spruce, Homes and Gardens, and more. As a writer his work has appeared in publications like FastCompany, TNW, and Entrepreneur.
Ash Read
Written by
Ash Read
Ash is the founder of Living Cozy. He's been featured by publishers like MyDomaine, Realtor, Real Homes, Architectural Digest, The Spruce, Homes and Gardens, and more. As a writer his work has appeared in publications like FastCompany, TNW, and Entrepreneur.
The Inside Look
The email newsletter guaranteed to bring you the latest brands, products and tips to live you best life at home. Delivered every Friday. Join 4,000+ subscribers.

Thank you! You're now subscribed to the Inside Look.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

About Living Cozy

Your go-to source for modern homeware and furniture brands.
We bring together industry experts and the people behind the brands we share our homes with to give you unique insights into the world of furniture, homeware and interior design.

Expert writers and contributors

Wilfredo Emanuel
Mike Fretto
Karen Rohr
Yoselin Castro
On Living Cozy, you'll find advice and insights from furniture and interior design experts to help make your house a home.