I Didn't Spend a Dime on My Kitchen, but Now It Feels Like a Totally Different Space

The one room I spend the most time in drives me craziest. It's my kitchen, and in a perfect world, I would love to remodel the whole thing from top to bottom. New counters! New cabinets! A new tile backsplash! A farmhouse sink! But a total kitchen makeover isn't in the budget right now, so I found myself one afternoon looking around and thinking, "What can I do right now, today, without spending any money, to help me feel better about the space I have?" That's when I found a simple hack for refreshing my kitchen that is now a part of my everyday cleaning routine.

So, everyone, stop what you are doing. Go into your kitchen and remove 10 things from the countertop. Do it now, because it's a game changer! I didn't even realize how much useless stuff I had out on my counters; how cluttered and messy and, dare I say, claustrophobic, the kitchen felt, until I removed all of it.

First, I moved the cleaning supplies I had out near the sink to underneath it. Bye-bye, dish soap, cleaning spray, hand lotion, and fish food. (What? Why was that there when the fish are in the kids' rooms?) Then, I did away with a pile of school permission slips and shopping catalogs I'd accumulated over the past several weeks, months, who knows how long.

Then, came the hardest step of my kitchen counter decluttering process: editing down my tchotchkes — a ceramic pineapple, a glass hurricane filled with shells, and several pictures I was displaying. I decided to select just one or two items to leave out and promised the others I'd rotate them in soon. A beloved candy dish was even relocated to the pantry.

Next, I quickly stowed away several dishes that I'd left out to dry. My coffee press got stored away. Keys, vitamins, eye drops were gone as well. It all got organized in cabinets and drawers, out of sight, not thrown out.

Done with that, I took a step back and couldn't believe how clean and fresh the kitchen looked without all of that stuff everywhere. I realized how much usable space I uncovered. My too-small kitchen looked bigger and so much more inviting. Maybe I didn't need to spend thousands of dollars on a kitchen makeover. OK, that may be overstating things.

That week, as I cooked and cleaned and spent my basic human existence in my newly refreshed kitchen, I noticed that I felt calmer and less overwhelmed or intimidated by the space. I'd highly recommend trying this in your kitchen to breathe new life into the room, and so you too can feel happier in the space until you get around to installing that dream tile backsplash and farmhouse sink.