While magazine photos of beautifully styled kitchens with open shelving and matching knickknacks organized just-so on the counter can look chic enough to trigger a serious case of kitchen envy, this type of setup may not be practical for everyone. In fact, the concept of openly displaying dishes and other essentials can end up being more work to maintain, and cause more stress than a regular kitchen setup with closed cupboards.
There's certainly some logic to keeping your everyday items in-sight and within easy reach, especially in the kitchen and bathroom, but there can be even more reasons to take the extra second to close the door on this storage method.
- Keeping a lot of things out in the open can make your room look more cluttered.
- With more counter clutter comes less workable counter space.
- It's harder to clean when everything is out in the open. This is especially true in the kitchen, where dishes, small appliances and cooking accessories parked on the counter are prone not only to collecting dust, but are also in the firing line for food splatters and cooking oil film.
- A cluttered space can trigger a cluttered mind. According to Psychology Today, clutter bombards our mind with excessive stimuli, making it more difficult to relax, both physically and mentally. Even organized clutter — where you store frequently used items out in the open in designated areas — creates visual stimuli that trigger stress.
Get the best of both worlds — meaning having easy access to the things you use most, while maintaining clear and easy-to-clean counters — by considering these organizational tips:
- Start with the key to any room organizational project: clear out anything and everything you simply don't need or don't use. Sell it, donate it, toss it ... decide on its fate based on what its condition is ... just clear the clutter.
- Of the remaining items, instead of grouping all the like items together, consider isolating frequently-used items and supplies into one easy-to-access area, so you can quickly put your hand on those things you tend to use on a daily basis, while storing similar items that you use less frequently up in higher or less easily-accessible cupboards. If you already have easy-to-reach open shelving, you may want to put only your everyday dishes, glasses and appliances there, while protecting the balance of your kitchen necessities within your kitchen cupboards.
- Once you've decluttered and found the perfect place for your remaining items, keep rooms organized with a few simple rules:
1. If you take something out, make sure you return it to the same spot immediately after using it.
2. Don't automatically toss daily mail and other papers onto the counter to create instant clutter. Instead, take a minute when picking up the mail to quickly weed out and discard the pieces you're not interested in, then sort the remaining pieces into "pay now" or "read later" piles.
3. Don't bring more stuff into your home than you have room for; let the size of your space dictate how much stuff you keep.
With countertops clean and clear. you'll enjoy a new calm, especially appreciating how quick and easy it is to now maintain your new look.