Where do you keep condiments, napkins, etc. needed for supper?

marie26November 16, 2005

In trying to simplify my life at mealtimes, I am looking for a special container for the napkins, salt, ketchup, etc. so that setting the table for dinner is less work. I am looking for something that I could keep on top of the credenza which is directly behind the dining room/kitchen table. I have a wooden lazy susan that I had tried but I don't like how it looks.

Does anyone have any ideas?

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How about a basket?

Here the napkin holder is on the table; salt is never used at the table and stays in the spice cabinet; ketchup is kept in the fridge and pulled out when necessary.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2005 at 6:36PM
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I don't refrigerate ketchup and DH can't have a meal without it but I hardly ever eat it. I was thinking of something with a narrow lip so I don't have to pull things out (like a basket).

    Bookmark   November 16, 2005 at 8:01PM
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We rarely use them. Most are kept in the fridge, so they are just put on the table for an occasional meal. Napkins tend to be paper towels which my 8 yo. distributes. Rarely put salt or paper on the table.

Guess I'm set. And boring.


    Bookmark   November 17, 2005 at 2:20AM
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I keep a flat bottom basket that holds the salt and paper grinders; the small rooster black iron napkin holder for seasonal paper napkins; and a olive-colored glass hurricane with a tealight for quick-and-easy ambience. There's enough room to hold various sauces etc. if necessary but most of those condiments are kept in the fridge.

Flat-bottom baskets are the BEST for containing clutter on tables -- use them on the kitchen counter AND on the coffee table for the same reasons -- corraling clutter and fast/easy to lift on/off.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2005 at 4:59PM
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Do you have a link to the flat-bottom basket? It sounds perfect!

    Bookmark   November 17, 2005 at 7:04PM
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Salt & pepper go back in the cabinet after cooking. Ketchup comes out of the refrigerator as needed. Napkins are generally scarce, so paper towels come off the roll in the kitchen.

Now that you mention it, my kids definitely aren't used to eating "formal". LOL We usually fill plates from the stove, taking dishes as needed instead of setting the table beforehand.

Oh... I'm a bad mother!

    Bookmark   November 17, 2005 at 7:46PM
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We have never eaten formal. I just find that I'm taking the same things out at every meal when it would make so much more sense to keep them all where they are used.

If I could figure out a way, I'd keep the cutlery at the table as well.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2005 at 8:19PM
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Marie - your comment about the cutlery reminded me of my reaction when the TVs covered that family with all those kids 14? 15? - whatever. I noticed they have a holder for silverware that reminds me of buffet restaurants - the metal cylinders. I thought it a grand idea! Now - what is so strange is that there is only ME here at meal times!!!! Sheeesh. I still may "do" something like that.


    Bookmark   November 17, 2005 at 8:30PM
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My baskets (old and new) come from thrift stores; sales; import stores etc. -- had some of them for years!!!

Just keep checking around -- many baskets do have flat bottoms -- just be sure the weave is flat enough so things stand steady at the table. Some baskets have flat wooden bottoms and wicker/woven sides -- thats my table basket -- very very handy!!!

    Bookmark   November 19, 2005 at 12:29AM
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Hi Marie,

Earlier this summer I got a basket at Target that sounds perfect for your needs. It is very sturdy, has a flat bottom and is rectangular, with two handles at each end. Not too deep, maybe 4-5 inches. It is 7" by 14". One half of the basket fits napkins perfectly. The other half is divided into two sections, great for corralling the other items you mentioned. I may have gotten it in the bathroom organization section of Target (so imagine that it would fit perfectly on the top of a toilet tank.
Good luck!

Maura :-)

    Bookmark   November 19, 2005 at 9:31AM
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I've been looking for something like this. I need something flat & thin so I can put it away after use. We don't have a table in the kitchen, so all condiments, etc. have to be carried into another room. We have a combination salt/pepper grinder which we use during meals & for cooking. When we have pasta, we like to dip our bread in the seasoned olive oil. We have the little dishes for that, but carrying all that to the table is a pain. Most of our condiments are in the refrigerator. I want to find something that I can load up in the kitchen with the various things & take it all to the table together. I think I'll try looking at Target for the basket Maura mentioned.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2005 at 10:33AM
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Kittiemom, you expressed why I need the basket much better than I did.

The basket from Target sounds great. What section of Target was it in? I am going there this week and I'll look for it.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2005 at 3:54PM
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We use our table constantly, so I wouldn't be able to put any type of storage directly there. I remember seeing the tabletop sorter type thing, but didn't find many while doing a search.




    Bookmark   November 19, 2005 at 8:09PM
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Check around where they have home organization stuff, there is a section for bathrooms (shelves and that sort). It was months ago that I bought this. If I am in Target (which will be after Thanksgiving) and see it, I will get the sku # and let you know. Good luck!

Another thought -- why not get a napkin/utensil caddy like you see for outdoor use during the summer time? Or, nowadays you see lots of "beverage" caddies that usually hold six bottles. You could fold the napkins to stand upright, then add other condiments to the other slots.

Here is a link that might be useful: picnic-type napkin/condiment storage

    Bookmark   November 19, 2005 at 10:07PM
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How about this?

Here is a link that might be useful: Condiment Caddy

    Bookmark   November 19, 2005 at 10:11PM
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I have a wire basket like the one pictured for $19.95. I got mine at a yard sale for .50 and had no idea what it was for , but liked the look of it. I had been using it to store items at my desk, but now I know what it's really for! Also, on the square part that you can't really see in the pic, is an attached wire arm. Now I know it's for holding napkins down. Yea , I'm so excited! I will like it near my table much better than at my desk.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2005 at 2:28AM
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That condiment caddy looks perfect. I had seen one on sale like this a few years back but thought it was an impulse buy. I should have purchased it because I regretted that it was gone when I went back to the store a few days later.

Thanks for all your input.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2005 at 1:19PM
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I live in a house with guys. My first thought was "How cute" when I saw the caddies. My second thought was "Just something else to wipe ketchup off of". LOL

With the GIANT bottle of ketchup from Sams Club

    Bookmark   November 21, 2005 at 9:02PM
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re the flat-bottomed basket:

the Nantucket basket would be good--the bottom is a piece of wood, so it's nice and smooth, and flat.

here's one on e-bay

Here's one the size of an in-box

Here's one sized to fit the top of the toilet tank

    Bookmark   November 22, 2005 at 9:41AM
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Marie, I saw a nice wooden tray at IKEA yesterday that might fit the bill. If there's a store near you, they'd be worth checking out or you can shop online.

Here is a link that might be useful: IKEA tray

    Bookmark   November 23, 2005 at 8:51AM
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My first post on this newly free site. (I may become addicted since it is much easier to be on-line than organizing my newly renovated space.).

I am also trying to think through this condiment issue--since I am re-thinking all my old routines. Pre-renov solution was to assign the putting of salt on the table to DH (I think I do an okay job of seasoning while cooking but he craves more.) That and cutting bread are his only pre-dinner tasks. I am thinking as I read this thread that I will look for a pretty ceramic container with sea salt/spoon and leave it near the table where we eat.

As for ketchup -- my father always said no bottles on the table and everytime I take it from fridge to table, I feel a pang of guilt. Is there any downside to transferring ketchup to a lidded ceramic container that lives in the fridge and just using that?

    Bookmark   November 24, 2005 at 2:13PM
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SheriZ6 - thank you!

I have a bumch of people over for dinner every Tuesday, and to simplify things I've made it more buffet-style lately. I also have a ton of pretty trays - I can just use one of those to corral utensils, and another for s/p, butter, etc. Hurrah!

    Bookmark   November 28, 2005 at 3:25PM
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I thought I'd give an update. I purchased a plastic basket on sale for $1.00. It has high sides and a handle. My napkin holder, ketchup bottle and salt shaker (we don't season with pepper) fit perfectly in it. It's not the prettiest thing but for now it is very functional.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2005 at 12:24PM
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Well -- I think that basket is a great bargain --- and useful too -- can't beat that combination!!!!!

Happy Organizing and Happy Holidays too!!!!! :)

    Bookmark   December 24, 2005 at 3:00PM
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The most recent Plow & Hearth catalog made me think of you--there's a wicker "picnic organizer."

It has a slot on the lower level for plates; a square napkin compartment, and several other slots for silverware, condiments, etc. It's $20.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2006 at 11:35AM
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I think I'm going to order that organizer. I don't normally buy anything wicker but it's so functional. Thank you, Talley Sue.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2006 at 11:08PM
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you're welcome! I hoep it works well for you.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2006 at 5:04PM
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Ooooh - I want one too!

(My "perfect" basket from Target is currently corralling items in the bathroom. I still like it for kitchen use, but needed it more in the bathroom until I find something better!)

Thanks for posting the Picnic Organizer link!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2006 at 5:20PM
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