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How To Avoid Kitchen Counter Clutter Without Throwing A Single Thing Away

And you don't have to get rid of anything.

When you really think about it, your countertops may be the most used but most overlooked area in your kitchen. They hold up essential appliances like your trusty coffeemaker, offer a home to items that don't fit in cabinets and drawers, endure spills and knife slices, and offer a sturdy surface on which you can toss just about anything you need to keep easily within reach. So, it's no wonder that the clutter can pile up on kitchen counters more easily than nearly any other space in the house. It's unavoidable... right?

Not quite, says designer Nate Berkus. He says that a simple shift in perspective -- and a few easy-to-implement guidelines -- are all you need to avoid that cluttered look.

First, stop approaching your kitchen countertops like an afterthought and give them the attention they deserve.

"Think of your kitchen countertops as a way of displaying the things that you use every day instead of just having them filled with junk," Berkus says. "To do that, all you have to do is pay attention to what you put stuff in or what you put stuff on."

For example, place fruit in a nice bowl or store kitchen utensils in a wooden vase. You should even consider items' original, dull containers for those that look cleaner and more attractive.

"If you bake and have flours, baking things like that, find pretty containers like [a] tin one. They're very easy to find and they keep things looking very neat and very organized," Berkus says. "Also, spices... Put them in little containers from an organizational store."

The benefit to paying more attention to your kitchen counters, he adds, is twofold.

"That way, you have everything at your fingertips, but your kitchen looks just as beautiful as the rest of the house," Berkus says.

Bonus tip: Make cooking much easier by imagining your main prep area in your kitchen as a triangle -- between the oven, sink and refrigerator -- and keep your most-often used items within that space.

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