What's on your kitchen counter?

brendalyntcMay 23, 2009

I try valiantly to keep random items off my counter. My two main obstacles are bread products and fruit. If bread gets put elsewhere, it either gets smashed or forgotten about. Similar story with fruit, actually.

I'm contemplating a hanging basket from ceiling for fruit but am not sure yet where it can be placed logically. Bread/buns - ??

I know how many wise people are on here and thought I'd ask the masses. Thank you!

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We just remodeled the kitchen, so the only things on it now are the things we use all the time - toaster oven, blender/food processor, knife block, wooden cutting board, and Kitchen Aid mixer. I like to have all these things immediately accessible.

When I planned the kitchen, I planned spots for potatoes, onions, bread, bananas, salt and pepper - all the things that used to sit on the counter before. I also planned for a dish drainer that we can fold up and put away, not because I don't like the look of a drainer, but because we always seemed to store odds and ends without a home in there.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2009 at 10:28AM
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Toaster, toaster oven, blender, coffee maker. I try to limit the countertop clutter. I have a microwave and can opener that hang from cabinets above.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2009 at 12:31PM
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From left to right:

crock with utensils,
cruet of olive oil,
decorative plate on a wrought iron easel,
cutting boards hiding behind the plate,
liquid soap (on sink),
dishwashing liquid (in decorative bottle on sink),
ceramic bowl with assorted loose leaf teas,
tea chest with assorted tea bags.

That's it.
I like counters cleared off, obviously!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2009 at 7:40PM
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I'll do left to right too:

Next to the stove: Cork trivet with Olive oil, veg oil, salt, pepper on the trivet.

Nothing...nothing...now we're at the corner:
In the Corner: large glass apothecary jar with candy, small square wicker basket with garlic heads. If I have bread (don't eat it much) or other food to be on the counter, it goes here.

Nothing, nothing...now we're at the sink:
Foaming hand soap on left of sink.

Nothing, nothing, now right before the refrig:
Medium apothecary jar (matches the other one) holding tea bags, and small square wicker basket (matches the other one) filled with sweetener for the tea.

On the other wall, I have about 5 feet of counter space. Left to right:
Coffee maker, clear jar with rubber sealed lid holding coffee grounds.

Nothing, nothing...then, on the right end is a rectangle wicker basket (matches the small square ones I mentioned) holding: pencil can, ball of twine, stamps, scratch paper, and phone charger cord.


    Bookmark   May 23, 2009 at 7:54PM
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As little as possible.

A plant by the window.
A decorative bowl and cachepot in one corner.
A little iron birdbath by the sink to hold rings when I do the dishes.
A fruit bowl.

The blender, electric kettle, toaster, and mixer are under the counter and come out when they're being used. The bread is in a cupboard. Having the fruit bowl on the counter means I remember to eat the fruit, which used to rot in the fridge.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2009 at 10:19PM
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I'm reading this thread again, and I just realized your question was more about where to store things versus what's actually on the countertop.

I have learned for myself over the years that I'm happy when I have the items I use regularly on the counter...but I want it to look cute & complementary to the kitchen.

The only appliance i use regularly is the coffee maker, so that's the only one I keep out. Everything else on my counter (the candy, tea bags, garlic, oil bottles, etc. as I posted above) are decanted and put into pretty containers that decorate and store at the same time.

For me, taking things out of the packaging and getting them decanted on the counter gives me back cabinet space to store other less-used appliances (like a toaster or whatever).

With that line of thinking, are there things on your counter that you can just remove?

I would consider getting a pretty basket for the bread. It's okay if the bread bag peeks/sticks out the top. It's not like you have to hide the bread...just contain it in a pretty setting. Get the basket big enough (yet still in scale with the space) and you've got more room for some other kitchen items.

Same for fruit. A pretty bowl or basket would be nice.

I think the key would be deciding which items could go off the counter.

You said you thought about the hanging basket, but can't think of a logical place. I'm of the opinion that if you don't have a great, obvious space for the hanging basket where it would be beautiful and completely logical at the same time, then the hanging basket is probably not right for your kitchen layout, and it may end up to be an annoyance or cluttery eyesore at some point.

In the spirit of being on the Organizing Forum, I would encourage you to look further into your kitchen and find places to reduce, reorganize, and streamline elsewhere...like inside the cabinets, so your counter can be freed up to beautifully display, access, and use what's most important to you.


    Bookmark   May 24, 2009 at 8:18AM
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I keep very little on the counters (a) because I do not like to see clutter (b) I am still a bit obsessive about protecting the new marble counters from stains or scratches, and (c) it reduces my cleaning time with less to move and clean under. But having "nothing" on the counters that says "people live here" leaves a room, particularly a kitchen, cold. Plus, if you put everything away, it is easy to forget it and the food goes bad.
Putting your fruit into a bowl on the counter would be both practical and attractive. Like Gayle suggested, bread could go into a basket. You mentioned hanging a basket..if you google "3 tiered handing basket," some nice examples show up. You could put the bread in the lowest (largest) and the fruit in the top two. But unless you have room and can hang it where you can reach it, it doesn't make sense.
In our home, we keep things like bananas, tomatoes, and avocados in a bowl or bowls on the counter. We used to keep the bread in an nice vintage breadbox. But we put the breadbox into the new pantry and moved the bread to the fridge.
Gayle gives good advice in assessing the contents of your cabinets, which will then free up your counter space if you need it. When we were putting all the things back into the new kitchen and deciding where everything would go, I tried to organize the everyday items into easy-to-reach drawers and cabinets so they are convenient to access without having to be out. So, things like the coffee grinder/filters, napkins, salt/pepper, potholders, cutting boards are right where you need them without being out on the counter. Important too are my keeping those drawers and cabinets uncluttered so they don't become cramped and messy, defeating the purpose of their convenience. For me, organization should be both attractive and convenient (convenient, or else I'd never maintain it! Also, living with a man who needs to "see" what he has, I need to keep this system easy for him if I expect his cooperation). Alas, I wish I could brag about our office and garage but they need work.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 1:50AM
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The bread goes in the pantry--the dark space keeps it fresher. Never store in the refrigerator as it will make the bread go stale faster.

I have an Elfa mesh 3 drawer cabinet set up in my pantry for the types of produce that should not be stored in the refrigerator: tomatoes, onions, garlic, potatoes, etc. Again, because it dark and cool produce keeps longer, plus the mesh drawer allows for air circulation around the produce. All produce that should be refrigerated goes in the crisper in the refrigerator.

Non refrigerated fruit goes in a bowl and into the pantry as well. For the most part, food stuffs does not get stored on the counter.

I have two knife blocks, my Kitchen Aid, Technivorm coffeemaker, and a few decorative items on the counters.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2009 at 3:15AM
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Ditto ditto ditto the fruit on the counter. I have also wondered about a tiered hanging basket from the ceiling for fruit.
We grow a lot of pawpaws (papaya), avocados and passion fruit in our backyard, and while they look beautiful piled up in bowls on the counter, they do take up my bench space.
I thought of tiered baskets hanging from the ceiling, but figured the top one would then be too tall to see and reach into, so I've been thinking that 3 evenly spaced baskets would look good and also act as a divider over our free-standing bench.
They'd need to be unhooked easily though to empty them out and clean the bits of muck that so easily end up on the bottom of fruit bowls.
The only other thing I have on my bench besides fruit, is my salt crock near the stove and my granite pestle and mortar. It's too heavy to keep shifting, and I think it looks decorative as well as it's used heaps.
I have 2 bench top roller doors, one for the kettle and toaster and breakfast nook, the other for the blender, crockpot and breadmaker area. They're still on the bench, but in 1 second flat, I can pull down the door and they're out of sight. I love these like crazy.
Bread sits on top of the toaster (behind the roller door) in a basket in it's original bag, but only in small quantities. We mainly use our bread straight from the freezer. By the time we spread it or eat it, it's thawed out.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 1:43AM
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I bought a tiered plate stand from JCPenney for my fruit and veggies that don't need to be refrigerated (like tomatoes) It is wrought-iron with a large cream colored square plate on the bottom and maybe an 8 inch plate on the top. I put tomatoes in the top plate, and bananas and apples or whatever in the bottom. Looks pretty on the end of the bar, and helps keep the clutter down. I used to use several different bowls and baskets for this stuff.
My coffee maker, used really only on weekends, is kept in a pantry, so I have an electric tea kettle, a set of canisters and an old pitcher with spatulas and spoons etc on the counters.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 3:22PM
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It takes effort to keep things off the counter. A place for everything and everything in its place must be the key. The more cabinets we have the better. I have a friend and she has the most cabinets I have ever seen but she still has things on her counter. Usually the appliances and jars of utensils, etc. Things she uses the most. I think one of those litte garages for your appliances would be great, you know the ones built into the counter that close like a little garage door. Best of luck. You will come up with a good design.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 11:33PM
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Like lilydilly and jennava, I have a three tiered tray that holds fruit. It's practical, and this method saves space, even though I keep other things out like my toaster/blender/mixer. I also keep a lazy susan on my island with my knife block, so I can spin it and reach for knives to use anywhere in my kitchen. On the LS are also a salt jar, a timer, pepper mill, sugar shaker and a scale. Another counter has the electric kettle, teapot, teabags, and espresso machine. What can I say? It's easier to use certain things if they're a bit awkward or heavy to store. My criteria is that they must be used almost daily, to justify the best real estate in my kitchen.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 11:57PM
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I have a very small kitchen with few cupboards. I like to cook and do so daily. Too many of my small appliances sit out - but they have no place to go. I keep various breads/buns/muffiins sacked in a large basket on top of my frig. Fresh fruit that does not need refrigeration I keep in a basket on my table. It's handy, and I like it for a "natural" centerpice. (The basket is always full of apples, pears, oranges and bananas!)

    Bookmark   June 3, 2009 at 1:49PM
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Ok gang, I'm going to go off on a rabbit trail here, forgive me! I keep the iced tea maker and a coffee maker on the counter constantly. Of course other things like salt / pepper by the stove, etc. but nothing else.

Which brings me to a friends house. I love her dearly but OMG her kitchen - almost indescribable. Literally you can NOT see her granite because of, forgive me, crap. Papers, keys, towel, mail, TV, junk and such, its horrid. Get this, she keeps her Tupperware type of plastics on her stove top. Yup, you read correctly, her stove top. She just shoves them to the side when she needs a burner! Oh and receipts - they are on a magnet on the vent hood! No really. Of the counter top! Her kitchen table is the same way - you can't see the tabletop for junk. When I'm in there its like I can't breath the crap zaps me. Now having said that its not "dirty" just junky. She says she doesn't know what to do with stuff so it stays. She'll make some progress then backslides into this horrid mess.

I do feel sorry for her - but at least she knews it looks this way. Again forgive me here, but if I ever want to feel good about my house all I have to do is go to hers!

So if she were to list whats on her counter it truthfully would be EVERYTHING!

    Bookmark   June 3, 2009 at 6:40PM
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I burst out laughing at eaglemom's post as she very nearly described my kitchen, though I don't have granite (sigh), I do put Tupperware away in its drawer, and I most certainly don't have receipts on the vent hood (they are lost in the bottom of my purse instead). Oh, how I LONG to be neat and tidy like the rest of y'all! I truly do. I spend an inordinant amount of my time beating myself up (and my famiy) about the clutter. The newspapers, school papers, mail, contents of my husband's pocket, keys, CD cases, phone charger, pencils, pens, etc. are ever present despite my efforts to curb them and train us all to put things in their proper place, etc. I just hate it. Now, to my credit, I do have a neat and tidy living and dining room, a fairly neat closet, and orderly Christmas decorations! But I fight my natural cluttering habits and those of my family all the time.

For the record, the things with a legitimate reason to be on my counter are a crock of cooking utensils, a platter for
bananas/garlic/cloves/tomatoes/onions/whatever, a butcher block of Cutco knives, a couple of cutting boards that lean against the backsplash, a paper towel holder, a coffee pot, a radio/CD player, and a pretty plate on a stand. The bread lives in its wrapper on top of the frig nestled between the little TV and the basket of dog treats.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2009 at 9:45PM
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I hope you all don't think I'm horrid about what I said about my friends house - I'd give her a kidney if need be. But then again the paperwork would be lost on her counter top!!

I just came back from her house and there are holiday candles laying on the counter top exactly where they were immediately after Thanksgiving! She laughed and said she's not in a hurry to put the holiday "items" up because she' just have to "find them" later!! And oh that is so true. Her fireplace hearth is well - like the kitchen counters - totally covered. Love her to death but she'd feel so much better if she'd simply donate some of this stuff.

And again my house certainly isn't perfect by any means but I have a counter top and kitchen table that you can use.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2009 at 6:13PM
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And the sage continues...................

My friend just called furious that the high school sent her a bill for over $200. for unreturned text books. She asked the kiddo about it and naturally he answered "I don't know." So she started on the kitchen table and there was one book and the kitchen counter had the other one! It ne was from first semester! I couldn't make this stuff up, really.

She again asked him about it and he said he couldn't find it - no wonder he had 63 in one class and a 68 in the other!

    Bookmark   June 4, 2009 at 7:14PM
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eaglemom.... don't feel bad, you should have seen my thread about the cobwebs at my friends house. I felt badly too, after i posted it. That same friend also told me today that she "needs to get around to putting the Christmas stuff away... it is all in her LR". haha

I feel calmer, less stressed when my counters and tabletops are neat. I have friends, on the other hand, that are hoarders or savers (mini-hoarders?) that need their STUFF out where they can see it and touch it.
To each his own................

    Bookmark   June 4, 2009 at 7:19PM
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eaglemom, your friend's story of finding unreturned text books is a hoot! Oh my, I am not that bad . . . yet. She sounds a lot like my husband's late mother (whom I never knew). Her poor housekeeping was the stuff of legends in our small town. (And I can attest that her children inherited those same habits.) But her moral character and generous spirit were legendary too, and thankfully, those characteristics were also passed along to her children.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2009 at 12:06PM
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I have: to the right of the stove, garlic/rosemary/olive oil in a nice bottle, paper towel holder, then a sort of hot drink area: kettle, tea pot on a nice trivet, coffee and tea canisters, coffee pot, little silver tray with silver sugar bowl and milk pitcher with little silver teaspoons; mugs and cups are directly above this area in the cupboard.. This allows the family men to make their morning coffee without getting in my way while I feed the little guy and get his school lunch and backpack ready. After the hot drinks place is the sink, nothing on the sink, then the Magic Bullet, a spice rack and the phone. The counter there is a large "L" so I have the long part of the "L" completely clear for whatever morning stuff I need to do. I have an antique marble topped table in the kitchen with a large rectangular wicker basket which holds all mail, pencils, phone books, school stuff etc. All contained. I have an identical basket at the front door to catch the keys, sunblock, GPS, Canadian Tire Money etc. so that stuff never makes it to the kitchen. I have lots of cupboard space so toaster, mixer, all that stuff is put away. I have potholders hanging on hooks by the stove. I have a nice calendar hanging by the phone. My kitchen is tidy and it works for us.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2009 at 8:02PM
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