dilemmas of kitchen counter clutter...

elizabeth10029October 12, 2006

I am in a quandary because I could force myself to be disciplined (as I have with my papers in the living room) or revert to my old ways in the kitchen and just recognize that "everything out" works for me and not fight it. Is there any hope for an organized cluttered kitchen? How do I begin?

I used to keep most EVERYTHING on the counter and within reach, until my work space (all butcher block) got too cramped. It is not the "look" of no clutter that I am aiming but a way to keep things from looking random.

My new intentions began with only these things out: a ceramic container of old kitchen stainless for cooking and for eating at the kitchen counter; salt and pepper; small container of measuring spoons, one pottery container of wood cooking tools and one pottery container for metal cooking tools, and telephone (auxiliary so it is small).

What left my counters never to return (thank goodness) is: all my oils, vinegars, cooking wines and liqueurs. Whew.

What has crept back on counter: Knife sharpener (Chef's Choice 110). If I have to open a shelf and pull it out, I sometimes give in to using dull knives.

Cusinart --which has a dedicated plug but after all the de-clutter TKO posters, I dedicated a shelf to it instead. It is now back out. Next to the stove I now have two more containers of tools -- spatulatas, whisks. I also added a container of chop sticks of all lengths that I use for various purposes.

On eating counter pencil container is now out. Also container that holds the remote to turn the music off and on. Also instead of the sugar in a box in cabinet, I put out a pretty container.

One take home lesson from writing this post is that I now realize I gravitate to having objects I like around me -- and I often re-purpose them as containers. But the cuisinart and the knife sharpner are not among them.

Any suggestions for an organized cluttered kitchen?

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Sorry I can't help, but this reminds me of a dilemma I'm having. I don't like to keep anything on my kitchen counter. I even have my coffeemaker, can opener and radio/CD player suspended from my upper cabinets. I like to have my counters completely clear, because I can wipe them frequently and quickly.

A close friend obviously feels sorry for me, so for Christmas last year, she gave me a beautiful cookbook and stand to display. For my birthday, she gave me a decorative biscuit jar that she insists goes great with my granite.

Functionality is much more important to me than appearance, so I really prefer to keep my counters clear, but I'm touched that she was so thoughtful in selecting these gifts for me. Clearly, she didn't just make an obligatory purchase to check me off her gift list.

She drops by frequently, so I feel like I should keep them displayed, but they add to my counter wiping time.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2006 at 9:21PM
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That's a wonderful story. I "get" it. Is your kitchen minimalist in its aesthetics and the calm bothers her?

Meanwhile as a result of writing that post I attacked my kitchen. I rearragned things so I have only one large container for cooking tools by the stove.

I took an objective look at the cuisinart and the knife sharpener. Back they went. (Just the wrong scale and the wrong color.) I assessed some of the containers and decided they were wrong so I made them more consistent.

Then I took everything off the BB and oiled the counters. Perfect mess now. So tomorrow everything will certainly look better and then I can move on to the next stage of arranging. (Fruit/bread, for instance)

    Bookmark   October 12, 2006 at 9:30PM
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Stop beating yourself up. Everyone is in favor of de-cluttering, but let's make a distinction between clutter and what should be on your kitchen counters. What should be there probably falls into one of two categories -- what you need to use fairly often, and what you really, really like looking at. If you are lucky, there will be some overlap.

The rule I hold myself to is ... if I use it a few times a week, I'm not gonna pack it away in a cabinet. So, I am not going to feel guilty or messy for having on my counter two pretty, ceramic containers for cooking implements (mostly wooden and stainless), salt in a little container I love, coffee maker, food processor, blender, and block of knives. Elsewhere, there's a bowl of whatever needs to be ripening at room temp -- bananas, avocados, peaches. On the other side of the room is my phone, menu-planner, radio, toaster, microwave.

Personally, what I try to guard against is dead clutter -- stuff that doesn't have a reason to be in the kitchen, that stays there unused, that isn't attractive or part of the decor style, that doesn't have a home elsewhere in the house or else refuses to go where it belongs. You know what I mean -- catalogs, tools, unfinished projects, paper work, candy, key collection, small stuff, ugly stuff, personal stuff.

I've cooked in restaurant kitchens and I know the value of having tools and equipment handy. It's just efficient. Your kitchen is your workplace, not a propped showroom. As long as your stuff is clean, attractive and more or less in the style of the room, lighten up and enjoy what works for you.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2006 at 10:37PM
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I guess my counter could be called a bit cluttery by some, but I don't have much counter space, really. I've tried to combine some esthetics with being practical. Next to my stove I have a smallish crock with my most used cooking utensils. The ones not used that much, like the potato masher are in a drawer.

I have a 1950's breadbox and canister set. My kids are probably the only ones these days who really know "is it bigger than a bread box?" And that's what we use it for too. Very convenient. I can't believe we ever got away from them. I keep flour in the large canister. On the other side of the sink I have my paper towel holder which is a piece of fiestaware. Very different. My microwave is a small one and in the corner and has a pretty clock and the smallest canister on top. My coffee maker is tucked back there because I don't like the neon green clock face. I use the coffee canister by the microwave.

Over my sink is a 6' bay window, so that ledge has some antique pitchers and bowls.

Things that don't get left out are the toaster, blender and crockpot. I don't use them that often. I don't have a big mixer. Stuff like pencils has a spot off the counter over by my calendar.

I have a strange house and the kitchen is the biggest part of the main floor and where I spend most of my time. I try to make sure the things for function are enjoyable to look at which is why I like the canisters and breadbox. I don't find it hard to wipe around them.

quandry, I think if I was in your position I would have to fess up to my friend and tell her that I prefer my counters cleared off. It sounds like she didn't really get these gifts with you in mind, but more like what she would like for you to do. Why don't you try putting one of them away (the cookbook stand) and see if she mentions it.


    Bookmark   October 13, 2006 at 12:49AM
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Quandry, I agree with Gloria--put it out of sight. If she's like me, you are lucky if she remembers that was her gift for you. If you keep it out in sight all the time, she will think you really love it, & you will need to make room for her next gift to you --a cracker barrel that matches the bisquit jar, and then the following year a pair of salt and pepper mills that match the bisquit jar.
You can always say you love to rotate what's on your counters so you can always disinfect whats been removed. Spray a little lysol around.
Elisabeth--what you have out (except for the measuring spoons) sounds like typical stuff to have out.
But we just put granite in the laundry room and I am dreaming of having the counter empty so I can fold laundry looking out at the roses. My husband is already putting stuff there. Do pencil holders and a stapler really belong there? He says that metal soap boxes with foreign advertisments on them would look great (he travels and would get them for me)Obviously there are some people for whom an empty counter is an invitation to extend their influence,kind of like colonizing Mars.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2006 at 2:33AM
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an invitation to extend their influence,kind of like colonizing Mars.

This cracked me up. And I think it's true.

And definitely, Quandry, don't put those things out anymore, because that friend will get you the next pieces to match.

I actually have much less out--i found that I was disgusted w/the crock of utensils. I don't have great ventilation, and we do a fair amount of stovetop cooking. Even without adding oil to the pan, we get enough grease spattering around that the stuff int he crock always needed to be washed before I could use it anyway.

So I decided to eliminate it, and was lucky enough to be able to add a skinny drawer right next to the stove to substitute. I also got really fierce about paring down, and decided I didn't need more than 6 or 7 utensils. I only HAVE 4 burners, and they don't all have the same sort of thing. So 2 stirring spatulas, 1 flipping spatula, 2 wooden spoons, and 2 tongs (1 long, 1 short). Though I could probably get rid of one spoon and 1 tongs.

Now they're actually FASTER to grab, bcs they're clean when I take them out of the drawer.

I wonder if you truly need all that stuff out, or if you'd get it out of drawers if you needed it. And I suspect that for *most* people, the utensils in the crocks have a way of multiplying beyond what is strictly needed. Could you experiment with halving the amount of items, even if you eliminate the crock completely?

I know that I am perfectly willing to open a drawer to get out eating utensils--I'm sort of programmed to do that. So I could eliminate that one easily.

and I'd probably combine the metal and the wood cooking utensils into a single crock (and have far fewer of them).

But I do still have a few things permanently out. Fewer, but a few.

The toaster is used daily, so it's out. Ditto the French press, though I keep trying to get DH to put it in the cabinet, bcs it annoys me. He always leaves it near the work space or by the sink. All the other stuff--the ceramic jars that hold flour, sugar, etc., and the toaster, and the knife block--is at the edges.

i'm trying really hard to eliminate that "dead clutter." That's my biggest problem.

Oh, I forgot--my DH does most of the cooking, and he leaves the paring knife, carrot peeler and small cutting board out. He uses them at least twice a day. But I would put them away (and actually, I'd wash them after use)

Marge, it sounds like it's time to go one and on a bit about that dream of having the counter empty. If you don't explicitly SAY something, I think most people will "colonize" the countertop.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2006 at 9:53AM
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I think it is also good to make a distinction between "out" and "on the counter". The on the counter thing could be, as quandary says, a wipe-down issue but for others a clutter-visual issue, and of course can be both. It's both for me, but my biggest concern is what a struggle it is to keep the counters wiped down when there's a lot of stuff. So the solutions can be different, e.g., you can take advantage of above-counter installation of various holders/appliances for some things that you want OUT but not on counter. I've continued to install magnetic strips to keep knives up on the side of a cabinet as a holdover from kids' safety issues, but it keeps them "at hand" and frees drawer space. I've got spice racks installed on the wall because I like to see them all and don't want to open a drawer to get them. That might change if I had more drawers, however. But they're off the counter. Having a narrow shelf above the counter for some things, can work, as can a shelf on the cooktop backsplash (depending on what you put there).

I have a big problem with my family and me just not putting things away--these are things that no way should remain on the counter forever--maybe one thing or 2 a day and then, whoa, where are my counters? So that's a habit we need to improve (and it responds somewhat saying over and over, one thing at a time, one thing at time).

    Bookmark   October 13, 2006 at 5:11PM
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I'm all for paring down, and for having great tools that I love to use. I find I use my silicone (instead of the old-fashion rubber spatulas) more often than not. I also have one really beautiful wooden spoon that feels so good to use that I don't reach for the other, more standard-fair spoons. I once thought it would look great to have a crock full of all different kinds of wooden spoons until I realized I always reach for the same one. All the boring wooden spoons are going to be tossed, and if feel I need another one, I will get a beautiful one, with a similar carved handle that fits well in my hand, not those rounded handles that are nearly impossible to hold firmly. I now have only one basting brush, silicone as well. It cleans up perfectly, so no more yucky brushes, no need for multiple brushes for different purposes. I have two soup ladles, one is too deep and narrow, the other is too shallow, I will be looking for a new one to take the place of the other two. Im sure I will find more stuff that is unnecessary if I really think about it, but even with my first two purgings, itÂs much easier to find what I need, and I have avoided getting crocks to store all that stuff, which was my first thought in how to deal with the cluttered drawers. I still might get a crock to hold what I use, but I'll only need one.

I currently use 3 drawers for cutlery and utensils; my goal is to get that down to 2 drawers.

I'm not trying to be rude or critical, but what do you do with all the chopsticks? I found that a good spring tongs does just about everything, and with more control than chopsticks.

The way it works for me, is... if I feel I have too much clutter, then that means that I do, and it's time for a hard look at the stuff that is causing a problem.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2006 at 10:43AM
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Every micro-suggestion helps.

Janet: Chopsticks (some are very long and some short): I stir my instant breakfast; scrape my blender, dislodge things from high shelves. But as per this thread, I clearly didn't need 20 chop sticks on the counter. I moved all but 2 pairs to a drawer (Need them for take in Chinese).

I love the idea of one beloved wooden spoon. At the moment I don't have a favorite, but I could seek out one. I take your point about ladles. If I am thoughtful about my tools, I can pare down.

Frankie: About "out" and "off" the counter. One major impetus for these micro level decisions is that I won't do a backsplash until I make every decision about "out" and "off". If I really need "off" the counter, I better reserve some wall space for a shelf or magnetic strip or hooks or ??? That is the next (and final) step in this renovation project. Then I'm really really done.

I have a very small kitchen and not a lot of counter space by today's standards, but I can make the kitchen space coherent. functional, and harmonious with some small changes. I made a lot of progress after writing this original post and so I am hopeful.

Talley -- I'm the messy one. Thanks for your attention to detail, as always.

Thank you all -- The small changes I made since Thursday have made a real difference.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2006 at 3:56PM
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In my perfect kitchen, I'd have nothing on the counters. But in my real world, if an appliance is not on the counter I tend to not use it. This applies to my food sealer and food processor. I find it's more work to pull them out and have to carry them back to their original spot in a cupboard so I end up not using them as much as I should.

I also keep a square electric frying pan on the counter because I use it almost every day. It doesn't look great but I don't like pulling it out and putting it back.

I have always kept a toaster and a coffee maker on the counter because they get used every day. I am lucky enough to have a large drawer next to the stove for my utensils and find it easy to just open the drawer and pull what I need out.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2006 at 8:52PM
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We once rented a "furnished" vaction cottage on a lake. The kitchen had only dishes and pots and pans. No clutter on the counters. It was an eye opener. How clean it looked. And there's not a lot you "need" out. We managed to get along without a toaster, coffee maker, can opener, etc.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2006 at 8:55AM
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Here's what SHOULD be on my kitchen counters in my very small kitchen:

One microwave, holding a crock of utensils and a bunch of bananas (the microwave takes up the whole counter, and we don't have a drawer for the utensils). There is a shelf over the stove that holds a long skinny basket of knives (no drawer for them either), a cookbook, a candle or two, and a pencil holder.

Paper towel, liquid hand soap and a cutting board on another counter (it's a granite cutting board and too heavy to want to drag around). This counter is also the size of a microwave, so not much room.

The cordless phone charger and a loaf of bread are on the 3rd and final counter, which is slightly wider than a microwave. I personally would prefer the bread be in the cabinet where it belongs, but I don't eat it, DH refuses to put it away, and I gave up on that 20 years ago to fight bigger battles. LOL

The top of the refrigerator has DH's junk food snacks; he's been on a real binge lately so I throw it all up there so I don't have to look at it.

That's it for me!

P.S. My SIL's leave EVERYTHING out on their kitchen counters with the idea that it will be handy when they need it next. Everything... as in everything... I'm not kidding. They have ZERO room for food prep. DH would be like that if I didn't pick up after him. I just really, really prefer the open horizontal spaces and not having to balance a bowl on the edge of the sink because there's no where to set it. LOL

    Bookmark   October 17, 2006 at 8:39PM
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In new construction, why don't they make the counters deep enough so that there is one long continuous appliance garage at the back of the counter and still enough space in front of it for food prep? That way everything you'd need would be on the counter but still out of sight. One more thing to add to my dream house when I win the lottery.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2006 at 9:46PM
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After having a fair amount of counter top and a built in butcher block, I am living in an apartment with about 18 inches on either side of a sink. with a dish drain and a bunch of utensils in a crock pot (no space in the 4 drawers) I have learned to simplify my meals. Instead of making egg rolls and stir fry from scratch --we have crackers with pimento and olive spread from those little jarswith Our soup It isn't homemade anything, its Campbells with added herbs. You don't want to smell up the place with fried fish (there's no BBQ here)so we poach, or just have sushi at a bar.
Pray our house is finished soon --or I will be purchasing Kraft macaroni and cheese to serve with canned fruit salad.
Its like being a newly wed 22 year old--we have to plan when to use that l bathroom. Its brought us closer together (almost wrestling)
So after this-- any extra counter space is going to seem like I'm in Emeril's own kitchen. If you don't have room its surprising what you can live without. Its also easier to break glasses here--don't know why, and you do get neater (or nuttier)
My husband's newspaper is still warm from his fingers when I throw it out. The other day he got up early and I made the bed immediately. when he got back he was surprised as it was 6 a.m. on Sunday.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2006 at 10:00PM
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Elizabeth, sorry... I misunderstood about the chopsticks.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 7:17AM
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My SIL's leave EVERYTHING out on their kitchen counters with the idea that it will be handy when they need it next

I was thinking about this strategy, and about Elizabeth10029's 'old kitchen stainless for cooking and for eating at the kitchen counter.'

I do like to be able to grab stuff right away. But I find that I'd defined this pretty narrowly.

The only things I require to be out, right where I can grab them FAST FAST, is the tools I use for stove-top cooking. That's the ONLY thing I do in the kitchen in which I might really need to be able to move quickly. Flip that burger before it burns, stir the rice before it sticks. And I don't always think to get the utensil out before I start.

But for eating, well, I'm not in THAT big a hurry. As long as there is actually a drawer to hold them, I can wait a moment to get a fork out before I stick the food in my face.

And measuring--well, I have to get the baking soda out of the cabinet, so I might as well spend the extra 4 seconds to get the spoon out, too. I'm not in THAT big a hurry.

That's why that overstuffed crock full of greasy utensils bugged me so much. There I was, needing to flip a burger, and I had to wash the stupid spatula first.

I suppose if I had much better ventilation, I'd be OK w/ a crock of 5 items, but I couldn't have more.

And I like that drawer bcs I often use tongs, and tongs don't store well in a crock; they tangle. (Heck, they tangle everywhere, but it's easier to untangle them in a drawer; the drawer can catch the slotted spoon when it finally shakes free, LOL!)

    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 3:09PM
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That's ok Janet. I grant I do a lot of re-purposing and who would have known that my chop stick is my arm-lengthener.

I am really liking my new arrangement. Goes like this (I'm writing this list as much for me to figure things out as for any other reader. Bear with me or skip.):

1) On right of Fridge: an inch of knife slats which spans the whole counter depth and holds 20 knives/shears/scissors; soap dish with kitchen hand soap that has no smell (made by oldest DD in middle school) ; stainless steel container for dishwashing soap. That's it.

Sponges / brushes go in newly installed basket on under sink cabinet door.

On right of sink-- tiny vintage glass ashtray for a dripping tea bag, a ceramic container full of fancy salt, two coasters under a dish (made by younger DD at camp) of regular salt and a pepper mill.

On ledge above eating counter I have sugar bowl and two of MIL's clay stick figures (purely decorative.)

Above that I have 30" by 60" open shelves with a few vases (one of which has audio remote and pitchers interspersed with cookbooks).

On the 9 inch counter next to the stove: One (down from four) containers of wooden and metal spoons, chop sticks.

On the eating counter: phone, pencils in old mexican silver container, native american basket with napkins leaning in a corner, and ceramic container (made by MIL) with kitchen stainless (pared to a few pieces).

That's all the space I meant to deal with in this OP, but now I am ready to move on to the rest of the kichen. This listing exercise is provoking me to question whether the kitchen would be more harmonious if I pared down the following items.

On the tile ledge over the stove, 6 pots, two of which I use daily. (Three others are copper and one is tall so it adds some variety)
On the stove ledge (Like a Bluestar but a Garland) I have a museum reproduction Chinese turtle dish. Keep hot pads in a pile on it. Next going right is a ceramic container to pour salt when I need it for pasta, then a timer, then an oven thermometer, then a trivet with a small copper butter warmer, then a container of spatulas and another of ladles.

On the radiator ledge, I have a mortar and pestle, food scale and basket with extra disk towels.

On the ceiling pot rack I have 20 pots of different sizes.

On my stove I keep out a copper stock pot.

Underneath the counter next to the stove there is a tile wall with hooks: holds straining tools of all kinds, huge vintage rolling pin and a few large wisks, and a sharpening rod which I can use right in situ. Very cluttered space.

There is still a narrow pantry between the kitchen and the dining room to deal with, but that can wait.

If there is a question embedded here it is: if the space is not useful for anything else, is there any reason to clear it off by paring down?

    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 3:47PM
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I'd stash the oven thermometer unless you use it 3x a week. You have a new oven, so you *ought* to insist it be calibrated to be correct, and therefore not really need the oven thermometer.

But if it's off by a little bit, then it ought to be off by the same amount every time--at least if your oven has a decent thermostat--so you'll get used to where the dial has to point to get a true 350. And you'll only need the oven thermometer for the odd times you're using a different temperature.

Ditto the butter warmer, unless you like looking at the copper pan.

And why ladels? I never need more than one at a time. And they're so darn bulky.

2 pots in daily use, plus 20 others? 20 seems like a lot to me. I can see of different sizes--you often use the same size for the same meal (all big pots when company comes; all midsize pots when it's just two to four at table). But you can only fit 4 on your stove, right?

I bet you can find which things you don't really want out. (Of course, your kitchen is small, right? And there isn't that much space that's NOT "out," I bet--where will you put these things, if they're not out where you have them now? This exercise might prompt you to decide not to keep some of that stuff at all, or it may lead you to decide that "out" is also storage space.)

Good luck.

Is there a reason to clear the space, even if you wouldn't use it for something else?

Yes. You have to decide whether those reasons are ones you value, though.

*cleaning (and time saved)

that tile wall makes me cringe. I've mentioned my "greasy utensils in the crock" problem, and I'd envision that space being full of greasy AND dusty utensils I have to wash before I use them.

And the ledge over the oven will be 15% easier to clean if you stash the oven thermomenter elsewhere--not only will you not have to lift it up and set it down, but you won't have to wash the thermometer itself.

*visual calm

I've found that this is really valuable--though I also find that sometimes things look too blank for me, and I get fidgety. Sometimes I adjust to the new 'blankness."

We've had posts from people who's said, "I like having a lot of things around me; the abundance makes me feel comfortable."

For me, I just remember what a HUGE difference in my soul it made to always have a bedroom w/ straight blankets. And orderly shelves are less anxiety-producing than ones w/ stuff stuck in at odd angles.

But also, those are extremes. It's one thing to eliminate lots and lots of messy stuff; of course that'll produce results that are valuable. But when it's not messy, and it's not lots and lots, the "visual calm" payoff might not be as powerful.

Though I will also say that I really, really like being able to put my hand on the stapler. And I know that if my kids had to put it away INSIDE anything, they wouldn't. As it is, they mostly put it back.So there are drawbacks as well to hiding stuff.

I also find that, the less stuff is stored on the counter, the more I can see the stuff that SHOULDN'T be out. This is really true of the papers in the dining room, but it's also true of the stuff in the kitchen. When DH leaves the knife and peeler by the sink, then it's easier to overlook the stuff shoved to the back that *belongs* in the cabinets.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 5:20PM
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Thank you Talley Sue. As always this is a helpful conversation.


You have a new oven, so you *ought* to insist it be calibrated to be correct, and therefore not really need the oven thermometer.


Ditto the butter warmer, unless you like looking at the copper pan.

And why ladels? I never need more than one at a time. And they're so darn bulky.


2 pots in daily use, plus 20 others? 20 seems like a lot to me. I can see of different sizes--you often use the same size for the same meal (all big pots when company comes; all midsize pots when it's just two to four at table). But you can only fit 4 on your stove, right?


Is there a reason to clear the space, even if you wouldn't use it for something else?


that tile wall makes me cringe. I've mentioned my "greasy utensils in the crock" problem, and I'd envision that space being full of greasy AND dusty utensils I have to wash before I use them.

About visual calm. This forum introduced me to the idea and it works for me in the places that I have really got organized. Love my new calm in the living room and freedom from junk on the desk and the floor around it.

There is so much decorative color from my ethnographic "stuff" that blankness is not a problem. And I am moving from the "love the abundance" to "learn to love looking at less." It is a positive move for me which is why this forum is so helpful. Plus I am so far away from living like the "before" pictures of my renovation that I am truly a reformed messy person.

But there is a ways to go. I think the pot rack could be more visually calm and so off I go to tackle it. I have always liked things "out" but I am trading for visual calm. Thanks.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2006 at 4:53PM
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Thank you for the comments on visual calm. Thats what is making me nuts--we are remodeling and having to put everything up on counters to get it off the floor and out of the way. We will start moving in next week if all goes well and the flooring is installed and the carpeting goes in. At this point we have thrown out lots of the furniture so can start with a clean slate.
In case you have noticed in other posts I am practically ready for a trip to the rest home. The chaos is unnerving, and really unavoidable.
thanks to this forum I have begun to understand that I like things out of sight and am planning accordingly.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2006 at 7:26PM
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Has anyone noticed they keep stuff out or not based on "moms" habits? I kept my toaster out for years. Rarely had toast, but I thought that where toasters went. I never gave any thought to the fact my mom had toast every morning.

Even just the evalutation of how you live helps. Talley's greasy crock saves my sanity. I go through everything in that crock every couple of days. Now, when I first tried one (my mom never had one) I thought I had to load it up with everything. Once I settled on the things I actually used on a daily basis, keeping them clean wasn't a problem. But I only have one ladle and could really use three in the course of a day.

Over the last few years, as I have decluttered and claimed my space, I've found I am no longer drawn to decorator type magazines. Now that I'm not constantly looking at images of what my rooms "should" look like, I'm finally able to create rooms which I'm finding comfortable. During our last remodel, except for checking out some vintage bathroom styles, I didn't look at a single thing. I could just picture this house in my mind. During our previous kitchen remodel in the other house, I bet I spent a fortune trying to find the right kitchen in a book. I hated that kitchen and everyone else loved it. Too bad I was the one who had to live with it.

Marge, we moved in with flooring not complete. Talk about picking stuff up, piling and moving it around. Sheesh!


    Bookmark   October 20, 2006 at 12:03AM
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Bravo quiltglo -- that's an interesting standard not to have to look at mags. I call that training my eye. I found even reading the decor magazines I was only taking in visuals around what I needed to decide. All the choices came as a revelation what was possible. Now I am looking at details that I never noticed before even though it is the same pictures. I am now studying kitchen counter pictures and seeing new possibilities.

But as far as being influenced by either the pictures or what my mom did, not really. It's learning to see better that I think is one clue to my organization and its relation to visual calm. (Talley touched on that point about the peelers.) If you don't see the mess you don't miss the visual calm.

I reassessed my pot rack. One long handled frying pan is the culprit for disturbing the visual. It is just out of whack with the rest of the pots.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2006 at 12:43PM
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Oooo, Elizabeth,

I hear you on the Chef's Choice sharpener placement. Months ago I took mine *off* the counter, and frankly, out of sight, out of mind. Dull knife city here.

I sharpened everything the other day and, wow, what a treat to have very, very sharp knives again.

It is a quandry...so easy to run a blade through when it is sitting right there. I just can't decide.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2006 at 9:11PM
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Celtic moon--
I have a friend who installed one of those $3.00 manual sharpeners on the inside of a cabinet door. She just opens the door, runs the knife through, whenever she needs to. But I don't think I could really do a good job sharpening ever. Still I think I've resolved this dilemma by not having it out and trying to develop more routine sharpening habits. Could you get into the habit of serious sharpening all knives once a week? Would that solve the dull knife problem?

    Bookmark   October 20, 2006 at 10:46PM
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