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Amy Pottenger!

amy pottenger interior designer

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Simple Tips for a Clutter-Free Kitchen Island

From our Windsong Woods Project. Photo by Jonathan Thrasher
From our Windsong Woods Project (photo by Jonathan Thrasher)

So in all of my “after” kitchen project photos, you see clean, clutter-free kitchen islands with not a sippy cup or mail pile in sight. Can that be real life? Of course it can! 

Clean counters for days at our Modern Farm Project

The key here to keeping things looking like an “after” photo is vigilance, no matter what the size or style of your kitchen (counters or island!) I know for my own home, clear counters = more sanity for me. When my counters are piled high with all the things, it feels like I have even more work to do and that equals stress. 

The “after” island from our Burwood project (photo by Ashley Avila)

Here are a few simple tips to keep clean + clear counters:

  • Does all your stuff have a place? If not, it’s time to designate one! It’s pretty impossible to put things away without a place to put them, right? Make a quick list of all the things that usually pile up on your island, and if you don’t have a better place to put them than the island, create one. It could be as simple as installing hooks by your back door for your purse and the kids backpacks, a holder for your keys, wall mounted pocket folders for the kids latest papers, or maybe it’s creating an area for a mail drop zone. 
The “drop zone” area from our Honey Creek Project
  • Now that you have a place for your things (woo hoo!), you can create the habit of putting them away immediately when you get home (your kids can put their things away with you!) If you put your water bottle in the dishwasher, the backpack on the hook and sort the mail (in the recycling or in the file drawer) right when you get home, that means less work later and a clean counter to enjoy now, all within the span of 10 minutes or so. (Bonus, you’re creating great habits for your kids, too!)
entry way interior design
Mudroom + Drop Zone Area from our Modern Farm Project

Speaking of habits, here are a couple other helpful ones: 

  • Do a 5-10 minute clutter sweep of your counters before bedtime and put any stragglers back where they go (we’re looking at you, random sock, lego parts and this morning’s coffee mug leftovers)
  • Always go to bed with a clean sink (that means no dirty dishes waiting for you when you wake up, yay!) You’re going to do those dishes anyway, so you might as well get it over with now and enjoy waking up to the peace of a clean kitchen.
From our Honey Creek Project
  • Organization isn’t about perfection- have a back up plan for crazy days. It’s okay to keep your junk drawer or a cute basket around for random things when you might not have that 10 minutes to put things away. At least the mess will be contained and not all over your counter until you get to it at your nightly clutter sweep. At our house, each kid has their own “stair basket” where we put the things that need to go up by the end of the day (or let’s be real, the end of the week. If the stair basket is overflowing, time to put your stuff away in your room!)
“Junk Drawer” organization by the Home Edit

Your “easy button” for clean, clutter free counters will be cultivated in your habits. When you have a specified place to put your things, and you get in the habit of putting them there daily, (and your kids do too!) you just created a sustainable, do-able system to keep another room in your home full of life and joy instead of stress. 

XO, Amy

From our Hamptons Project
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