In many homes, the kitchen is the center of activity. Everybody’s got to eat, and kitchens have all that available table and counter space for meal prep, work and other projects -- at least in theory.

If you like to have all your favorite cooking tools and appliances at arm’s reach, your kitchen counters might be a little overloaded, leaving you little space to actually cook or do much of anything else. It's also important for safety reasons to make space around some heat-generating small kitchen appliances.

Reclaim that space with a little reorganizing and add a whole new flow and functionality to your kitchen. Get started with these decluttering ideas:

Up Against the Wall

If you want empty counter space when you need it, you’ll need to make the most of the space you have. The walls above your counters and backsplash are the perfect places to expand. Shop for hooks, hanging bars and small shelves you can mount on the wall. With the right hardware, you can hang your spatulas and cooking spoons right above the stove, store knives in a wall-mounted knife block and keep spices on a handy little shelf.

Side Orders

That unused wall space isn’t the only vacant real estate in your kitchen. You can also mount hooks and shelves on the exposed sides of your upper kitchen cabinets. And if your refrigerator is right next to the counter, look for magnetic or suction cup caddies you can attach to the side to hold lightweight objects like salt and pepper shakers.

Hang in There

Now that you’ve maximized the use of vertical space in your kitchen, consider the underside of your kitchen cabinets. This is a great place to install racks or hooks for wine glasses, coffee mugs or other kitchenware.

Pots and Pans

You might have even more room to hang some of your biggest kitchen essentials -- you just need to look higher. Racks designed for hanging pots and pans from the ceiling or high on the wall can free up whole cabinets and make your kitchen look great. But keep in mind that all that metal gets heavy, so these racks must be installed carefully and securely.

Fill the Void

After moving so many items from your cabinets and drawers to your walls and ceiling, you’ll free up lots of space for stowing other items that typically clutter up your counters. You might even want to use that cabinet space for countertop appliances like your toaster or coffee machine. It only takes a few seconds to take them out and plug them in, and your countertops will look and feel significantly bigger when they’re put away. This can also make your home a bit safer: it's recommended that you unplug many small kitchen appliances when not in use, and plugging them in as you need means you're more likely to notice if there's any fraying or damage to the cord or plug.

Drip Dry

Do you have a dish drainer next to your kitchen sink? Perhaps it’s time to upgrade to a version that hangs above the sink, freeing up counter space and making dishwashing a breeze. If a kitchen window prevents you from mounting an over-sink rack on the wall, you can buy a tall dish draining stand that’s designed to stand on the counter, straddling the sink.

A New Routine

Keeping your counters clear isn’t just about reorganizing, it’s about routine. Make a point of dedicating ten minutes a day to clearing off the counters -- five minutes at midday and another five minutes at the end of the evening. It’s a minimal time investment, but if you stick to it, your counters will always feel spacious and orderly.

Countertop reorganization can completely change the way you use your kitchen space and can feel like a bit of a remodel. But if you’re ready to take it a step farther and do some serious remodeling, be sure to bring in your local Mister Sparky® electricians to make sure you’re seamlessly – and safely – rewired. For more information, call Mister Sparky® at (800) 906-4577 today!