15 Clever Ways to Clear Off Your Countertops

Counter space in the kitchen and bathroom is always a precious thing. Make these smart moves to banish countertop clutter and keep surfaces free and clear.

By: Karin Beuerlein

Photo By: Chronicles of Home

Photo By: Birch Lane

Photo By: Amy Ellis

Photo By: Joss & Main

Photo By: IKEA

Photo By: Anita Diaz

Photo By: Anita Diaz

Photo By: AllModern

Photo By: Wayfair

Photo By: IKEA

Photo By: IKEA

Photo By: IKEA

Photo By: IKEA

Photo By: Wayfair

Photo By: AllModern

Float Your Stuff

That plain cabinet that houses your refrigerator? Don’t let it go to waste—it’s the perfect foundation for a set of floating shelves. DIY and design blogger Jen Bridgman of The Chronicles of Home came up with this solution in order to keep her counter space clear for cooking and food prep. Because she was attaching to a wood surface rather than to the wall, she was able to install the simple white shelving from IKEA easily with just screws and a level.

Corral Random Items

If you don’t have enough space to add kitchen shelving, don’t despair. This magnetic organization rack from Birch Lane turns the side of your fridge into a handy storage nook to keep key items out of the way but within arm’s reach.

Add a Vertical Layer

DIY and craft blogger Amy Ellis got creative when her kitchen counter space was limited, turning a salvaged wood pallet into a handy over-sink shelf with a weathered finish. (Read her complete how-to, including a list of supplies, at her blog, StowandTellU.) The shelf is wide enough to accommodate a couple of large copper dish bins, which keeps surfaces clear — especially important because this kitchen doesn’t have a dishwasher.

Corner Some Space

Modular shelves are a handy way to organize kitchen cabinet space, but they work for countertops, too. Create order in your coffee corner or stack linens neatly out of the way with this corner shelf from Joss & Main.

Add a Modular System

Follow your favorite recipes without taking up valuable prep space. This wall organization system from IKEA mixes a stainless steel rail with bamboo attachments that serve multiple space-saving functions. Here, the setup is designed for the home cook, holding a mobile device at eye level and storing spices within easy reach.

Rethink the Familiar

Sometimes a space-saving solution is as simple as reimagining an everyday item. Designer and decor blogger Anita Diaz of Far Above Rubies repurposed some cabinet pulls to get her cutting boards off her kitchen counters. She attached an old piece of wood trim to the side of her island, coated the brushed-nickel pulls with flat black paint and screwed them in. Surprisingly easy — and super-functional.

Keep Storage Simple

On the other side of her central kitchen island, Far Above Rubies blogger Anita Diaz added long screws to hold pots and pans, and trimmed down an old iron curtain rod to serve as a towel rack. "I loved the simple, utilitarian look of using something I had already, and they’re strong and work really well," Diaz says.

Exile Junk Mail

One of the most notorious killers of kitchen counter space is the daily pile of mail that winds up there. Take advantage of an empty wall with this tiered shelf from AllModern and tuck away magazines and mail before they reach the countertop — though you could also use this shelf for kitchen linens or pantry items.

Roll In Some Storage

Add a movable island to your kitchen for instant additional counter space and extra storage. This kitchen island from Wayfair has a dropleaf that allows you to add stool seating on one side, plus cabinet space deep enough to store pots and pans.

Go à La Cart

If your kitchen space is tight and you can’t accommodate something as big as a movable island, go for smaller, cozier storage that’s still flexible. This utility cart from IKEA can serve as a portable solution to hold all the things normally stored on the countertop — even the coffeepot.

Use Space Under Cabinets

Always think vertically when it comes to keeping countertops free of clutter. This wall storage system from IKEA allows you to take advantage of under-cabinet space by elevating your dish drainer, and five-inch bucket attachments make a useful catchall for odd items.

Think Wall-to-Wall

Install just a few units of an IKEA rack system on an empty wall, and you can store almost all your kitchenware without needing a single horizontal surface.

Hide Items in Plain Sight

The back of the bathroom door is often just wasted real estate, when it can actually double as an extra closet. This stylish set of woven baskets from IKEA offer several drawers’ worth of storage space.

Snag This Free Spot

The empty space above the toilet is another forgotten spot that can be easily converted to valuable storage. A simple open shelving unit like this one from Wayfair gives you a place to stash personal care items that would otherwise hog the bathroom counter.

Spin Clutter Away

Sneaky storage is often the best storage of all. Put this rotating linen tower from AllModern next to, say, a pedestal sink with limited countertop space and you won’t even notice the lack of surface area. All your bathroom items are within easy reach, and when you’re not using the shelves, just spin the tower and you have a full-length mirror that hides your stuff.