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How to Keep Your Kitchen (Constantly) Clean and Clutter-Free

Keeping your kitchen—possibly one of the most important areas of the home—clean and clutter-free at all times isn’t an impossible task. All you need are the right design solutions, renovation tips and a little organisation know-how. Here’s what you need to do.

Narrow down what you will be keeping on your countertops

Countertops = major clutter zone in the kitchen. So the number one rule to a clutter-free kitchen is to keep your countertops free from clutter. Make a list and streamline what you think should be on the countertops and keep everything else stowed away. Your list should include what is used every day, what needs to be reached out for, and what are too much trouble to haul in and out of the cabinets.

Design: Earth Interior Design

Here are what I would place on my countertops:

  • Dish drainer
  • Cooking utensils – Organise them into a neat container.
  • Everyday oils and spices like salt and pepper – Instead of their original packaging which would make things look too distracting, transfer them into glass bottles for a consistent look.
  • Paper towels – If you reach out for them often. But consider using a wall-mounted paper holder that will free up some countertop space.
  • Kettle
  • Everyday appliances like the coffee machine
  • Stand mixer – Since it’s too heavy to haul in and out of cabinets. But only keep it on the counters if it’s beautiful!

Hide the rest of your appliances inside your cabinets or build an appliance garage—a designated spot for your appliances hidden away from sight but still within easy reach.

Design: Charlotte’s Carpentry

In terms of storage, definitely plan for cabinets over open shelves

Design: Ehka Studio

Open shelves have been incredibly popular, but if you are going for the clutter-free look, don’t consider them. While they make it easier to reach for things, your wares will always be on display. So you will always have to be tidying your shelves to make sure things don’t look cluttered. Unless you are Marie Kondo—my guess is not—then keep to closed cabinets.

If you really must go for open shelves (no judgement, I am a huge fan of them), then be prepared for extra work. Keep wares on open shelving to a very limited colour palette or group items together in containers and canisters for organisation.

Design: Authors • Interior & Styling

Choose easy-to-clean materials

Design: Fuse Concept

Save the headache and get it right from the start by choosing easy-to-clean materials.

Cabinet laminates: Avoid glossy laminates as they can show fingerprints easily. They are particularly obvious if you go for darker colours.

Backsplash: Tiles with their grouting can be a pain to clean. Consider large-format tiles that will minimise grout lines. Glass, or quartz if you have the budget for it, are easy to clean as well.

Countertops: Quartz or stainless steel are our go-to materials. They are hardy and don’t stain easily.

In general, avoid textured surfaces that can be hard to clean. Their uneven surfaces can also trap dust and grime.

Always do a quick de-cluttering at the end of the day

Design: Erstudio Design

Make it a habit to do a quick de-cluttering at the end of the day. A little bit each day goes a long way, and will make your weekly or bi-weekly kitchen deep-clean less of a chore. Here are some things you can do at the end of each day:

  • If you have unwashed dishes, wash them or either store them in the dishwasher. Don’t leave them out in the sink.
  • Keep washed and dried dishes and serving wares back into cabinets.
  • Do a quick wipe down of your kitchen flooring with floor wipes. Similarly, for your countertops.
  • Take out whatever doesn’t belong in the kitchen.
  • Rinse and wring wet cloths and sponges so that they can be air dried effectively.
  • Stow away whatever is left out on the countertops that shouldn’t be there.

Minimise décor

Decorations can add a ton of personality to your kitchen, but they can also add clutter. So instead of décor, consider decorating your kitchen in other ways like selecting a beautiful backsplash or splurging on ornate handles and knobs.

Minimise décor as they are the perfect spot for dust and grease to settle since you are not likely to clean them often. If you really want to decorate, double your décor as clever storage or organising solutions instead. That way, you get to maximise and beautify space at the same time!

Design: Linear Space Concepts

Keep refrigerators free from children’s drawings, touristy magnets or endless to-do lists as they can make your entire kitchen appear messy. Relocate them outside or keep them in a less conspicuous spot within your kitchen.

Purge one-hit wonders

Here’s an easy one. Give away or sell appliances, tools or gadgets that you’ve bought on a whim and have no use for them after that one time. Yes, I’m talking about that funky looking egg yolk separator. Yes, I am also talking about the garlic press. Keep to multipurpose gadgets or appliances that actually get used in the kitchen.

Manage your fridge and pantry frequently

Your kitchen isn’t truly clean and clutter-free if the insides of your refrigerator and pantry are a mess of forgotten and expired foods. Besides the potential of making you sick, it’s also food wastage. So before you head to the supermarkets, always do a clean-out to see what you have and to use them up first before buying more. Planning meals beforehand can also help to reduce wastage.

Design: Arte Living Design Studio

Always clean up spills, crumbs and other grime immediately to keep your refrigerator running efficiently and to keep your pantry free from pests. Deep clean your pantry and refrigerator at least once every other month by pulling everything out and wiping down the shelves with an all-purpose cleaner.

In terms of organisation, use clear containers and pull-out trays to house similar items together so you can see where everything is easily. For instance, dairy like cheese, yogurt and butter can be stored together in the refrigerator. In the pantry, you will want to store canned food in one section and grains like pasta and rice in another section. How you decide on your categories depends on your lifestyle and food habits and that of your family’s.

Where to store everything in the refrigerator so that your food can last for longer.


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