In every area of home organization, begin with the basics. Kitchen counters often attract clutter, and this can lead to a crowded, defeated look. Go into your kitchen and assess the items on your counters. Do all of them need to be there?
Are there some small appliances on your counters that you don't use daily (or use very rarely)? Consider finding a new home for these appliances — either tuck them away in a cabinet or give them to someone who will use them.
A cluttered kitchen.
To free-up counter space, use appliances (such as a microwave) that can be installed under your cabinets. Also, can you install a telephone on a nearby wall with an extra-long handset cord (or a cordless handset), so that you can travel around the entire kitchen area unimpeded by cords? Can you utilize a paper-towel rack that hangs on a wall or on the side of your refrigerator so that it doesn't take up countertop space?
Marla Cilley recommends that you strive to empty your dishwasher immediately after the cycle is complete. This way, you'll reduce sink clutter (no dirty dishes will get trapped in a “holding pattern”) and, if your family members know that the dishwasher won't be full of clean dishes for hours on end, they'll be easier to train to fill it.
If you do your dishes by hand, beware of the dish rack. Not only can it be tempting to let dishes pile up there, but the moisture can create an ideal climate for mold and bacteria to grow (unwelcome creatures such as roaches love this kind of dank environment). You might want to buy a stainless steel rack or any rack that is easy to clean and attractive. If you begin with an attractive rack, you'll feel more inclined to keep it looking nice — you'll be better able to see it as well, when you keep those dishes moving!
Keep your counters clear by optimizing wall space.