BY MARY M. MURPHEY
To get organized in the kitchen, it's best to start on space that will have the strongest impact as it's a room that affects everyone in the house.
The counters are definitely the first place to start in the kitchen clean-up process. In the direct line of sight, they present you with a surface that is easy to clean and visually appealing. Try leaving the three most used small appliances out on the counter and grouping together other everyday tools like spatulas and whisks in a favorite garden pot or vase. This way everything is together and it will look great, too.
The countertop is where we start because it's where all the clutter is.
Obviously it's really easy to let things pile up on horizontal surfaces and kitchens have the most open, usable horizontal space in the house. If you think about it, if the kitchen is where we do most of our living, almost everything from mail to shopping bags to kids' backpacks passes through that room – and some things get stuck. Clearing off the countertops also makes a whole kitchen look brighter and cleaner. Use the countertop to group like items when organizing cabinets, drawers and other spaces in the kitchen. Make piles of 'keepers' on the countertops, avoiding unnecessary stooping to place items on the floor. Having clear counters gives us instant organizing gratification, because every time we pass by the kitchen, we can revel in its neat and tidy appearance.
While countertops may have been created to serve as work spaces, they have evolved into repositories. Human behavior is such that many of us work horizontally, the problem being that once all horizontal space is used, the effect is one of counter-productivity.