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The kitchen is often referred to as the heart of the home. It is the busiest place in the house, where guests and family congregate. But do you know what congregates with them? Stuff, that's what. And before you know it your counters are covered with clutter and all of your drawers resemble the junk drawer.

How do you keep your kitchen organized and clutter free?

1) If you don't use it daily, put it away. I am not a fan of appliances on the counter. At all. It doesn't take much effort to put things away and take them back out again. The only appliances that live on my counters are my coffee pot and my huge stand mixer. Some people argue for the toaster to be kept on the counter and to them I say, "Do you really eat that much toast?"

2) Keep the top of your refrigerator clear. Don't stick stuff up there. This one is going to be controversial, get all those papers and magnets and photos off of the front of your refrigerator. It makes your kitchen look like a cluttered mess. I know you think that yours looks different better, but trust me... it doesn't.

3) Store your items in your cabinets in a logical manner. Imagine yourself using your kitchen before you decide where to store your dishes. It makes much more sense to have your dishes stored near your dishwasher rather than across the kitchen. Your coffee pot is probably better near your sink, your spices and pots near the stove, napkins and place mats as close to your eating area as possible. Don't be afraid to rearrange the contents of your cabinets if you find your original placement isn't working for you.

4) If you have glass front cabinets or open shelving, make sure that the things that are visible are neat and orderly. If you have nice glassware, this is the place to store them. Decorative baskets can be used for hiding things that might not be attractive.

5) Get that spice rack off of your counter. There are several options for your spices from a rack that hangs on the inside of your cabinet door to tiered risers that raise the spice jars in the back row up so that you can see them.

6) Purge, purge, purge. Kitchen things seem to multiply on their own overnight. Go through your things with a critical eye and get rid of those that you don't use. I finally got rid of some random mismatched silverware pieces I had been hanging onto since college. Do you have older pots and pans that you aren't using? Cookie sheets that have seen better days? Cheap knives that don't even cut? A thousand and one plastic water bottles? Get them out of your kitchen and reclaim that space.

6) Pay attention to the details. Put your canned goods away with the label facing forward. Find a place to store and organize your mail other than the kitchen counter. Put your purse away in the closet.

7) Get in the habit of always putting things back where they belong. If you put your things away after you use them you will never be faced with a cluttered mess again.





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