If Your Clean Kitchen Still Looks Messy, Look No Further Than Your Countertops

No one wants to cook in a messy kitchen, but it may not be the dirt and grime that make the room look messy. Cluttered countertops can make even the most sparkling kitchen look unorganized and unkempt. Sometimes the clutter comes from forgetting to put away tools or ingredients and, instead, allowing them to collect. Other times, it's due to not havingĀ organized kitchen cabinets.

If you've been stumped about what's making your kitchen look messy even after cleaning and organizing, you might be blaming the wrong items. Countertop appliances are often the culprit of the clutter. "Crammed counters and disheveled open shelving communicate disorder, no matter how much cleaning you do here," interior designer Jen Dallas says, per Realtor.com. While it might be hard to imagine a kitchen without appliances out in the open, getting these under control will make the space look much more streamlined and clean. Open counters go a long way in affecting how the room presents itself.

Stash away small appliances

It's easy for your countertops to get cluttered with everything you need to use each day. From appliances to cooking utensils to the cereal box left out from this morning, you're soon left with little counter space for food prep and cooking in the evening. If you don't get these items under control, your kitchen can look messy no matter how many hours you spend scrubbing every surface. The solution is to clear your counters.

Remove everything that's causing the clutter, especially all the appliances. Appliances take up a lot of space, and their cords can create an unappealing tangled mess. Consider what you use on a daily basis, such as a coffee maker or toaster, and what you use less often. Choose two or three daily appliances to stay on the counter, and store everything else in a cabinet. Another option is to create an appliance garage. These are cabinets where you can still store appliances on your countertops but have a covering that looks like a backsplash. The appliance garage method requires a deeper countertop or a portion set into the wall so you don't lose any prep space. Alternately, you could mimic this idea with tall cabinets where you can easily stash away appliances.

Use trays for organizing

For things that absolutely must be on the countertop, use trays to group like items and corral them. By the stove, you can have a tray that holds the canister of cooking utensils and the spices you most commonly use. Create another tray that keeps all of the morning coffee essentials together. Baking ingredients, kitchen towels, fruits, and snacks can all be kept together on trays.

Keeping everything grouped together makes it easier to find things when needed. This way whatever you need for cooking or making a cup of joe is right where it's supposed to be. This organization method is ideal because it keeps everything from getting too spread out on the countertops. Instead of having coffee ingredients lined across the back of the counters, they're kept clustered together, removing some of the visual clutter and giving you more space to work. Be cautious about buying too large of a tray, though, because you don't want to take up too much counter space. Something large enough to hold three to four jars or canisters is sufficient.