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17 Kitchen Counter Organization Ideas the Pros Love

Kitchen counters
Hero Images/Getty Images.

Simply put, an organized kitchen is a happy kitchen. But when you're majorly lacking cabinets and pantry space, or your microwave takes up most of your counter space, it can seem like organization is next to impossible.

It might feel like it's easier to just throw everything in a basket and call it a day (been there, done that!), but fret not. Your counters might not have room for stacked cookie jars à la Khloe Kardashian (seriously, who has time for that?), but there are a few easy organization hacks and storage solutions that can help your space feel like it's straight from the depths of your Insta feed.

To get you inspired, we wrangled our favorite kitchen countertop organization solutions: from cake stands that hold way more than petit fours to the ever-so-handy universal tray, there's a storage device here for every kitchen and every personality type. Let's get organizing.

01 of 17

Have Your Cake (Stand)

You know that cake stand you bought once and never used? Trust us when we say that it’s going to be put to its best use on your countertop. Use it to store all the odds and ends: mugs, salt and pepper, planted herbs, small bowls. This way, they’re easy to reach when you need them and on display when you don’t.

Cake Stand
3R Studios Decorative Wood 3-Tier Tray Natural $169.00
02 of 17

Stay On the Grid

If you’re lacking upper cupboard storage, go for minimal-looking organization with maximal room. We like the simplicity of wire grid baskets, shelves and dish rack. They’re thin in profile but offer so many opportunities to store your kitchen essentials that would otherwise crowd up the space.

Drying rack
Yamazaki Drying Rack $65.00
03 of 17

Add Some Color

We get it: neutral or clear storage is very popular in kitchens. But if you’re trying to incorporate pops of color into your kitchen, cookie jars are the answer. Not only do they come in a variety of patterns and kitschy designs, but they store so much more than just cookies: use them to hide measuring spoons and measuring cups. 

04 of 17

Show Off What You’ve Got

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from Instagram, it’s that pantry organization is the new cool. Instead of hiding your masterpiece organization behind closed doors, bring it all out on your counters. Keep everything from dry pastas, to baking essentials and teas in containers with air-tight lids to keep everything fresh.

Glass Canisters with Matte Black Lids
The Container Store Glass Canister with Matte Black Lid $1,015.00
05 of 17

Up Your Bread Box Game

Everyone knows that bread box storage can be incredibly bulky — and not always the chicest. But if you look hard enough, you’ll find something like this sleek white box. It’s stylish enough to keep on the counter even when there’s no bread so you can store things that you use everyday, like wooden spoons and spatulas. 

06 of 17

Go Slim

Not all kitchens come with perfect countertops that are wide and deep. For narrow countertops, opt for storage with a thin profile, like small risers and caddies that leave you with plenty of space to prep meals (or store take-out menus).

Wood Tool Box
West Elm Wood Tool Box $30.00
07 of 17

Fake More Countertop

Majorly lacking in the countertop department? Don’t worry, you can easily give yourself more space to work with. Just enlist the help of a standing cabinet, bar cart or kitchen island on wheels. More surface to work with, more options for storage. 

08 of 17

Corral The Mess

There’s almost nothing we love more than a good tray. There are so many possibilities: in the living room to hold remotes, on a vanity top for perfumes. But in a kitchen, a tray works wonders. Use it to corral all the day-to-day necessities that might look messy when spread out. It’s amazing what a difference it can make. 

09 of 17

Clear the Counters

For those who prefer to keep the counters completely clean, it’s all about the wall space. If you’re a master chef who’s constantly using knives, attach magnetic knife strips so that you can easily grab them and keep the counters reserved for food prep.

Knife Holder
Schmidt Brothers Acacia 18" Magnetic Wall Bar $50.00
10 of 17

Rise Up

Remember back in the day when locker shelves were all the rage in middle school? Take a note from your 8th grade textbook and use the same stacking mentality on your counters to maximize storage. Square ones like this are wide enough to store plates or bowls, so you don’t have to worry about everything fitting.

IKEA Shelf
IKEA VARIERA Shelf $7.00
11 of 17

Opt for Mini Cabinets

Sometimes, the hardest part about kitchen storage is that not all cooking staples are the same size. A simple, but oh-so stylish solve is a miniature countertop-sized cabinet. This solution can hold bottles and jars of every shape without looking out of place. 

Mini Cabinet
MyGift Antique White Wood Kitchen & Bathroom Countertop Mini Cabinet Organizer $48.00
12 of 17

Get Crafty

No kitchen would be complete without the trademark junk drawer. But if you’re fed up with the clutter, organize it all on the counter, giving each piece of “junk” its own home. We love this IKEA hack that turns an unfinished birch set of drawers into a countertop-ready unit for cords and chargers. 

Ikea Moppe
IKEA MOPPE Storage Chest $20.00
13 of 17

Use Labels

If we’ve learned anything from organizing influencers like The Home Edit, it’s that a label maker can get you far. Here, we love the idea of handwritten labels. It’s so much more personalized. And, if you need to switch the contents up, you can simply erase and start again.

14 of 17

Don't Sacrifice Space

If you’re not quite lucky enough to have a dishwasher, you might be stuck with hand washing. Instead of crowding up the counter or sink with a drying rack, take things off the countertops with an elevated drying rack. This one comes with bonus space to store cutting boards and sponges.

Dish Drying Rack Over the Sink
HEOMU Dish Drying Rack Over the Sink $64.00
15 of 17

Trim the Tree

Create the coffee nook of your dreams. For those impossible-to-stack mugs, go for a mug tree or mug rack that can hold different sizes and shapes with ease. Not to mention, it’s the perfect arrangement that won’t leave guests rummaging through cabinets to find a mug for their morning cup of joe.

Mug tree
Hostess Collection Mug Tree $35.00
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Coordinate Storage with Counters

To create a space that feels clean and organized, it’s all about camouflaging. Keep your organizers and kitchen accessories the same color as your countertops to make it all feel seamless. What mess? 

17 of 17

Spice Up the Space

When cabinet space is truly limited, there’s no reason to have spices taking up all the space. Instead of organizing spices on risers that, let’s be honest, always seem to get out of order, go for a more apothecary-inspired approach. This type of organizer has a place for everything, complete with lids to easily identify each spice.