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Pop quiz: What singular trait do all stunning kitchens have in common? A sparkling, clutter-free countertop, that’s what. And we’ve got a formula to get yours there: Edit counter items so that approximately 90 percent of the surface is clear. Think this sounds drastic? It’s actually easy (use your cabinets, folks). Here, nine wise little ways to rethink your kitchen and clear the visual clutter for good.

RELATED: How To Remove Stains From Every Single Type of Countertop

Downsize the Coffee Maker

If you don’t have a large brood of caffeine-drinking adults sharing breakfast with you constantly, consider ditching your bulky plug-in for a chic French press or pour-over option. They both make damn good coffee, are small and mobile when it comes to storage, and generally just look super pretty. Attached to your electric? Remember the 90 percent rule and edit something else out. (And please, at the very least, stow away your coffee beans). 

KEEP YOUR TOOL PALETTE COHESIVE

If your kitchen tools must be out on display, do what you can to make sure they’re attractive—then group like with like. Translation: If you still have the dollar store plastic spatula set you bought in college mixed in with your acacia salad servers, it might behoove you to chuck the old guys and upgrade. Corral them in a pretty canister and call it a day.

HIDE (OR RECONSIDER) PAPER GOODS

Paper towels: Not so great for the planet and not so great for your kitchen’s aesthetics. Use this opportunity to reduce your waste footprint and switch over to reusable tea and dish towels. Not ready to go paperless? Opt for a recycled option, and mount under your cabinets (or inside a sneaky drawer) to free up counter space.

Reject The Kitchen Catchall

Every home has a dumping ground for mail, keys, magazines, receipts, etc. Of course this junk does need a landing strip—but please don’t let it be on your countertop. We recommend using an office desk or drop zone station in the entryway, but if you must have one in the kitchen—designate a drawer so the mess is out of sight.  

Move Baking Ingredients To Countertop Canisters

This is one instance where you can add rather than subtract. Staples like flour and sugar take up major cabinet real estate, and actually look super attractive as decor in pretty canisters (opt for clear glass or in a shade that matches your backsplash). Move them to the counter and make room for more unsightly clutter—like cooking oils and small appliances—in storage. 

And Store Spices Thoughtfully

OK, so you need easy access to salt and pepper, but do you need the entire kosher salt carton out on display? Relocate the absolute essentials to stylish grinders, mills or cellars. And give these downsized containers a permanent home, like in a chic woven tray, so that they aren’t floating around.

STOW SPONGES IN THE SINK

Have you ever seen a sponge in a magazine spread? Nope, because they’re pretty gross. Obviously these guys need to be at the ready, so we recommend placing a suctioned sponge holder inside your sink, just below the lip. (Basically, just do whatever you need to get that germy eyesore out of your sightlines.)

RETHINK YOUR TOASTER NEEDS

We love toast. But we don’t love the hulking, crumb-tastic nature of electric toaster ovens. Considering that most ovens do a solid job of toasting bread (place on oven grates and broil one to two minutes), maybe reevaluate if your toaster is superfluous. But I love my toaster. Great. Just stow it if you have company.  

RELOCATE THE COOKBOOKS

Generally speaking, we’re bibliophiles. But a kitchen counter should not look like a library. Move your cookbook collection to floating shelves, windowsills or a designated kitchen bookshelf.

RELATED: 6 Simple Ways To Give Your Kitchen Better Flow

STOW POTS & PANS

Don’t forget about your grill top. While yes, it may not technically count as counter space, the same rules apply—meaning that your burners are not in fact storage for your cookware. Tuck away in cupboards or consider a pretty, hanging pot rack if cabinet real estate is limited. (And while you’re at it, wipe up the congealed pasta water goo from dinner three nights ago, eh?)

RELATED: Trend Alert: All-Stainless Is Out and Mixed Metals Are In 

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