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Can’t Relax? It May Be Your Messy Kitchen 


July 10, 2018

At a time when Americans’ lives are busier than ever, and to-do lists feel never ending, organizing makes homeowners into masters of their universe – a staggering 95 percent of homeowners say they feel when their home is organized that their life is organized, according to a new MasterBrand Cabinets home organization survey. The cabinetry manufacturer conducted a survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adult homeowners ages 25-65.

Whether stand-up mixers clutter the countertop, or a family member keeps leaving cabinet doors open, 81 percent of homeowners report they can’t relax if their kitchen is a mess. To cope, homeowners admitted in the survey that they go to such lengths as “storing pots and pans in [a] kids’ room,” using a “hidden compartment under the coffee table” and even filling “the spare bathroom tub” with disparate items to find enough storage.

Why is getting more organized important? Homeowners report that they’d enjoy certain activities more in a put-together space, such as cooking or preparing meals (64 percent) or hosting social gatherings (36 percent).

“After years of observing and studying how families cook, clean, work and entertain in their spaces, this research confirms that organization is a never-ending, but very worthy, pursuit for many homeowners,” said Stephanie Pierce, director of design and trends at MasterBrand Cabinets. “The number one regret we hear, without a doubt, is not including enough organizational options. While we can’t take out the trash or arrange your spice rack, we will keep designing more solutions dedicated to making kitchens and lives simplified.”

Here are some additional findings about how homeowners view organization:

Move Over Countertop Clutter

There are numerous storage issues in the kitchen that can trigger anxiety, but for the majority (60 percent) countertop clutter is the issue that causes the most stress. Appliances, such as stand-up mixers, are the chief offender (52 percent), followed by mail and other paperwork (16 percent). Stand-up mixers and other large appliances (39 percent) also rank as the top-most-challenging-to-store kitchen item.

Divided Views on Getting Organized

While a third of respondents consider organization a hobby, the rest feel it’s better described as a chore. However, millennials may be more up for the challenge, as 42 percent consider organization to be “a hobby,” compared to 33 percent of the general population.

Regardless of whether it’s viewed as a chore or hobby, many homeowners are overwhelmed. In fact, of those surveyed, nearly half think organizing their home is more overwhelming than training for a marathon.

Ups and Downs of What Goes Where

No matter how organized the kitchen is, each homeowner has their own definition of the “right” way to organize. More than half of those surveyed (58 percent) believe “every item has to be in its proper space,” compared to 42 percent who “store items wherever they can find room.”

Either way, preferences show:

  • Cups should be stored facing down (60 percent) vs. facing up (41 percent)
  • Pots belong in the cabinet (83 percent) vs. hanging up (18 percent)
  • Built-in microwave (65 percent) is preferred vs. countertop (35 percent)
  • Knives go in a butcher block (58 percent) vs. in a drawer (42 percent)

Sweet Secrets

One thing anyone can identify with is the question of what to put in the small cabinet typically located above the refrigerator. Has the classic, sweet-tooth hiding spot been discovered? According to the data, more than 1 in 7 homeowners use this cupboard to hide their guilty pleasure snacks.   

Methodological Notes

The MasterBrand Cabinets Home Organization Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research among 1,000 U.S. Homeowners ages 25-65, between May 29 and June 4, 2018, using an email invitation and an online survey. Quotas have been set to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the U.S. homeowner population, ages 25-65. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation.