4 Steps to a Sparkling, Organized Kitchen that Wows Buyers

Kitchens are touted as one of the spaces in a home that can make or break the property for a buyer. A kitchen remodel can be costly and very time consuming, so many buyers will want to avoid a home that needs a kitchen upgrade. So how do you make your kitchen look HGTV worthy without redoing it? A clean, organized, and functional space is every bit as important as design choices - so with a little elbow grease and by storing some items, you can give your kitchen a major facelift without breaking the bank.


Begin with the base of your kitchen, which is your counters. You must first create a blank canvas before you can paint a beautiful picture. Begin by removing everything from the countertops. Then, give them a good scrubbing. Be sure to use the right type of cleaner for the countertop you have. For example, there are special ways to care for granite and marble countertops. You don’t want to damage them with an aggressive brush or product. 

Once they are sparkling clean, add back in just one or two items for visual appeal. Perhaps if you have a very nice coffee maker, creating a breakfast station would look nice. Similarly, a clean block of very nice knives is ok to have out. Also, a small potted plant can give a good visual appeal to a kitchen. However, fight the urge to “decorate” your countertops with knick-knacks or appliances. Too much stuff makes it feel cluttered and like the kitchen doesn't have enough storage space.


Begin by removing all stickers and magnets from appliances. Next, you will want to check with the manufacturer booklet to see if the appliance surfaces have special cleaning instructions. If they do, then follow them carefully. If they do not, a multi-surface antibacterial spray designed for glass and metals, not the dusting multi-surface spray, or some dish soap and water may be useful for removing the top layer of oil and dust. You may need to apply some gentle scrubbing to hardened or sticky areas, but be sure to use a soft cloth or sponge so you don’t scratch the surface.

Don’t forget to clean the inside of your appliances too. 

  • DISHWASHER: Run an empty load with some vinegar or a special dishwasher cleaning tablet. Also, clean out the filter inside to help it smell fresh. Finally, wipe the interior of the dishwasher, paying attention to the sides of the door to remove any dirt or grime that has built up.

  • REFRIGERATOR: Begin by emptying the fridge, so you can clean the interior and exterior with soap, water, and a sponge or soft cloth. Toss any old or rarely used products so it isn’t overstocked. Get rid of redundant or almost empty condiments and clear out the leftovers. Next, vacuum the coils in the back. Finally, add a box of baking soda inside to absorb odors.

  • MICROWAVE: wipe out the inside with a soapy cloth. If it is especially caked on inside, follow these instructions from Good Housekeeping for a deeper clean.

  • OVEN: Start by vacuuming out the crumbs from the bottom of your oven. Then run the self-cleaning cycle to bake off the deep grime inside. You may need to wipe it out well with soapy water once it cools and repeat this process if it is especially dirty. Finally, you may want to get an oven that goes at the bottom of your oven in case anything boils over when you are cooking. This can save you the hassle of having to reclean the entire oven again soon, as these mats are easy to remove, wipe off, and put back in place.


Next, it is time to thin out your dishes and baking tools. You want your kitchen cupboards to appear ample, as opposed to overloaded. Hence, get a headstart on packing to move by thinning out your kitchen tools. First, tackle just one cabinet or drawer at a time. Pull everything out and then vacuum out the inside. Next, wipe the inside and out, paying special attention to the details on the outside of the doors and drawers that are known for gathering grime. 

Next, start thinning things by keeping plates and glasses that match, and try thinning down to a single set that serves either 8 or 12. The rest can go into boxes to move with you or can be donated if you choose to part ways with some. 

Also, pack up the rarely used appliances - like your pressure cooker, cupcake maker, etc. If you can live without it for a month or two, you should get it out of the space. Also, this is an important time to tame the utensil drawer and storage cabinet. Keep only a few nicer turners, spatulas, and serving spoons. You likely only need one peeler or corkscrew also. The same goes for Tupperware. Put lids on all the dishes and stack them by size in the cabinet. Try to keep only the minimum amount you need. Box up or donate the redundant ones that are rarely used, and now is a great time to toss out the ones that are stained or broken or missing a lid. You will likely find you have WAY more stuff in your cabinets and drawers than you ever use. 

Step 4: PANTRY

The last big kitchen area to tackle is the pantry. Again, empty the shelves and vacuum out the crumbs and then wipe the shelves. Next, throw away any expired food or food that has been open a long time and has likely gone stale. If food is still safe to eat, but your family doesn’t like something so hasn’t been eating it, consider donating it at a local food pantry. Next, organize your shelves by size and item, separating things like cereal and crackers from each other. When you are selling your house is NOT a good time to stock up on big sales, as you want your pantry and cupboards to feel ample. So fight the urge to overbuy and try to stick with just what you need for the short time your home is on the market. If you are looking for tips on how to make your spice rack or pantry look over the top organized, check out this post from Delish. But remember, there isn’t a need to go buy a bunch of new bins and racks. Simply stacking things nicely and thinning them out will go a long way in improving your pantry. 


While these tips won’t add the wow of marble counters or the bling of stainless appliances to your kitchen, even the fanciest of kitchens aren't attractive if they are dirty, cluttered, and don’t appear to function well. So focus on the parts of your kitchen you can easily improve and make it shine for potential buyers.


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