Do you keep your counters completely clear?

dcward89March 19, 2014

I've read a few comments where people say they keep their counters completely clear unless they are currently using the toaster, mixer, coffee maker, etc. That is NOT my reality at all and I'm wondering if I'm the only one who keeps thing out all the time. In our former home and this one we have 2 coffee pots that are used on a daily basis that will always be out. I always have a bowl of onions and garlic that are kept out on the counter. I have a crock of wooden spoons that are out. My KA stand mixer has always been on the counter because it's too darn heavy to be moving it around whenever I want to use it. And from one day to the next I can picture various other things that might remain on my counter temporarily...cookbooks, fruit, baked goods.

Maybe I just have a smaller kitchen than most others but I honestly don't remember a day that my counters were completely clear and although our current kitchen reno will provide so much more counter space, I don't see that changing. Just curious...what stays out on your counter regularly???

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Toaster, coffee maker, bottle of wine, paper towel holder, food scale, snack container, bottle of oil, tea infuser. Most of these items are used several times a day. Not the wine! I would go crazy if they were not on the counter.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 1:10PM
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My kitchen counters are never clear. And will never be...our kitchen is a tool...not a display area.

Toaster oven is on the counter with stovetop popcorn popper on top. Dish rack always on counter as well as towel behind it to dry even more hand washed stuff (usually covered with stuff drying). Wooden cutting board next to toaster oven. Bottles of olive oil, sesame seed oil, glass pasta thing next to stove as well as misc bottles of salt, pepper, garlic powder, cinnamon sugar. Crocks with wooden spoons etc on both sides of stove. Basket for used cloth napkins there too. Other counters have coffee pot, bowls of fruit, bowls of onions/garlic, bread, chips.

There's more but you are probably tired of reading this.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 1:15PM
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On my wet bar, which is actually my coffee bar, I have my espresso machine, my coffee maker and my microwave.

In the main part of my kitchen, I have my toaster oven with my bread box next to it, my KA because I WANT to be able to look at it all the time, my antique pedestal waffle iron, again left out because it looks so pretty, my fruit bowl which is always stocked with apples and oranges for the kids and a crock with my most frequently used cooking utensils next to the stove because I find it more convienent than opening a drawer.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 1:18PM
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On sink wall--Nespresso coffee maker, cutting board and circa 1930 flatbed toaster (we use the toaster but not everyday--it is there because it is so cool-looking!)

On range wall--cystal bowl of lemons and limes, paper towel holder, salt and pepper, crock of cooking utensils and KA mixer.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 1:20PM
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I have my paper towel holder, toaster oven, knives block, fruit bowl & plant. Other than that we try to keep it free of clutter.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 1:38PM
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LOL! Sorry, I needed a good counters are never that clear :)

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 1:38PM
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I'm one who has stated I don't like appliances out on the counter. The only one I have is my coffeemaker that is used everyday. It's on an out-of-the-way counter area next to my fridge. Other appliances are stored away and taken out as needed, put back when done. I am fortunate to have quite a large kitchen and a walk-in pantry after our remodel.

Now, I've never said I have nothing on my counters. That would seem really bare. I have a 3-pc. soap dispenser thing near the sink, 3 large glass canisters for cereal on one side of the stove, a small wooden tray with s & p, oil and vinegar on the other side of the stove. Sometimes a vase of flowers is on the island, otherwise nothing. That's really about it though.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 1:43PM
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I have my KA mixer, paper towel holder, knife block, Tassimo and a couple of decorative items on the perimeter. On the island I have my decorative kitchen chicken and maybe a vase with flowers or a bowl of fruit. No clutter ever unless I'm cooking and then I clean up and put away as I cook.

Toaster and anything else get used and then put back in pantry. In the new house we will have an area for the microwave, toaster... to be used and kept in the pantry.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 1:59PM
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Well, I'll go ahead and say kitchen *is* a display area, lol! I am not the best cook, and clutter makes me itch. I do actually have a KA stand mixer out...but I actually think they are pretty! (plus the heavy factor.) I have a bowl of tomatoes on one counter, since they taste bad if you refrigerate them. I have a lovely orchid on island. That's about it! :)

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 2:00PM
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We have a knife rack, a few pieces of fruit, a roll of paper towels, and the soap dispenser, and a radio. That's it. We have a couple of fairly long stretches of counter so there IS room. I try to keep the counters clear, though - even though the kitchen is a working room, I've never liked a cluttery look. Clear countertops are also easier to clean...Hmm - now that I think about it, maybe I need to find another place for the radio? Off the counter...we have a nice kitchen, and stuff on the counters detracts from the look.

This post was edited by gladys1924 on Wed, Mar 19, 14 at 14:08

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 2:05PM
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Mine will only be clear the next time I need to seal them!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 2:24PM
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My husband would be thrilled to have an empty counter! Me, not so much, I like to have my daily use items at hand. We have our Keurig coffee machine, which sits on a pod drawer, a food scale, blender and dog treat container next to the fridge and paper towel holder, 3 bottle wine rack, knife block, and a couple of bowls of fruit in the opposite corner. I keep my dish soap and hand soap in the sink, along with a wash bin and sponge, hidden by the cutting board. When I am cooking, the soaps are on the sink deck. Next to the range, I have a covered butter dish, olive oil dispenser, garlic crock and pepper mill. Sometimes those go in the cabinet, but the butter is always on the counter. During the week, when I am cooking daily, I keep my smaller Cuisinart 7 cup food processor on the counter also. That gets put away for the weekend, when we usually eat leftovers or simple meals.

I don't mind having stuff on the counters, as long as I have plenty of room to work. I have 9 feet of uninterrupted countertops, so a foot or so on either end with every day use stuff is not a problem.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 3:26PM
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Hmmm - I don't drink coffee or eat toast, but if I did, I'd probably have a coffee maker and toaster on the counter. I have a knife block that I'm planning to replace with a drawer insert. There's a candle, a half empty bowl of fruit and a pile of mail that needs another home. My Vitamix is sometimes on the counter, but it has a home out of sight. I tried to ensure everything had a home when I updated the kitchen even if it's something frequently used.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 3:27PM
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I don't have to seal my counters, so have no idea what a clear counter looks like! I try to keep them clear with the exception of the espresso/cappuccino machine, Vitamix, toaster, knife block and telephone. Some days I am more successful than others.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 3:27PM
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Coffee maker. That's it. But---I don't cook and have no idea what a KA is.


    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 3:33PM
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whitelacey- a KA is a KitchenAid stand mixer.

Here is a link that might be useful: KitchenAid stand mixer

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 3:36PM
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Breville (keurig) coffee maker, regular coffee pot, toaster oven, crock of utensils. Those are out all the time. Then periodically I'll have wet tupperware on a towel to dry (plastics don't dry well in the Bosch d/w), or other hand wash items laying on a dishmat to dry. Sometimes mail will sit until I get it sorted/filed. I try to keep that to a minimum.

Right now the jaw bone speaker is also sitting on the counter.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 4:24PM
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In my last house - kitchen was open to family room and eating area - very open - I kept the counters very clear. In my current house we have a country kitchen quite separate from the rest of the house and I am comfortable with lots of stuff on the counter.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 4:25PM
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To paraphrase, if a cluttered counter is the sign of a cluttered mind, what does an empty counter indicate?

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 5:05PM
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My people!!!

Knife block, paper towels, toaster, sugar bowl, butter dish, dish holding olive oil plus salt and pepper, utensil crock, drip coffee maker, coffee grinder, KA mixer, Nespresso Pixie, fruit bowl, microwave.

On the peninsula, box of kleenex, paper napkins, radio, cordless phone, iPad.

My peninsula can look cluttered, but the rest of the stuff gets used everyday and I'll be darned if I'm gonna pretend that I don't. It's a working kitchen, here to serve me.

Edited to add: cutting board, hand soap, dish soap. Cats who promise to stay put are allowed to lounge on the peninsula.

This post was edited by linelle on Wed, Mar 19, 14 at 17:40

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 5:19PM
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Heavy cutting board stood on end, little plastic dweeby cutting board for cutting small amounts, toaster, basket with kitchen soap, sponge, drying rack (I have no dishwasher) and a scented oil warmer. Rarely the cat, for some reason she prefers the dining table :)

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 5:27PM
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Weedmeister- LOL :)

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 6:02PM
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Peninsula: breadboard and basket of bread, (wish we had a bread drawer there), butter, small tv (planning to wall mount it)
Middle of U: toaster (wish I had an appliance cupboard with outlet to keep it in), two-tier fruit basket, caddy for dish brush.
Right leg of U: paper towel holder (wish I could mount on wall or under cabinet, but no room), spoon crock (since the knives are in the drawer), salt crock and pepper grinder, cooktop with one spoon rest, coffee maker and canister (wish it could live with the toaster in an appliance cabinet.)

Across from the U is the counter next to the ovens with the cutting boards (because they don't fit over by the prep area), bread machine (we use it at least weekly and it's just too heavy to bring In every time), cookie jars, and microwave. Under cabinet-mount radio/CD player!

I don't think I'd like totally clear counters, but clearer than this, certainly!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 6:06PM
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On one side, a banana holder and some decorative pieces (vases, wine decanter), then it comes around to the long part of the counter. Candle, drying mat, soap dispenser, keurig brewer, phone, wine holder, salt/pepper shakers, napkins, coasters. On the island, an oversized wine glass filled with corks, another glass canister with corks (a pattern here?), a marble statue and a photo of our cat who is no longer with us, knife block.

I usually keep the toaster oven in a cabinet and take it out as needed, but that's also because it's an old toastmaster that looks hideous but still manages to work. Hubby likes to have a large cutting board on the island, but I always put it away. He also once bought a sandwich maker and never used it, but insisted he wanted it on the counter. ???

After we're done with the remodel, I may have other thoughts. But a lot of these items (statue, pics, vases) are there because we changed around furniture in the family room and have no shelves to put them on.

I made sure to have a cabinet for the KA, since i don't use it that often. I've been trying just keep items that are used all the time (like drying rack, coffee maker) on the counter, but that never seems to happen.

Whenever I go to my Mom's condo, I cringe because she is so short on space and has everything out everywhere. To the point where there's no prep room anywhere.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 6:08PM
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I have my toaster oven, toaster (rather have the crumbs on the counter than in the cabinet--easier to clean up), knife block, 2 crocks for utensils, salt and pepper grinders, paper towel holder and Tassimo coffee maker. Oh yes, on the counter next to the door, is my cordless phone. Except for the toaster oven, I use every one of these things every day.
I agree with others, my kitchen is a working room. It's not a model home that no one uses.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 6:12PM
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For those of you with a lot on your counters, how do you keep it all clean? When I did have more on my counters, I seemed to spend a lot more time moving things and cleaning. I'm not a terribly messy cook, either.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 6:17PM
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Coffee maker, grinder, fruit basket all of the time.
Most of the time - KA mixer and Vitamix

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 7:30PM
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Cutting boards, bread box,knive block kitchen aid, expresso machine, coffemaker, butter bell, paper towel holder, canisters, dish rack. I try to keep my island relatively clear, but I do have a few chargers plugged in on it most of the time. If company comes I just throw them in the drawer. I hate cluttered counters, if it were up to me the only thing out would be the coffee maker. I am contemplating moving the kitchen aid to a closet somewhere, I cook but rarely bake and even though it is in a relatively unused corner it still drives me nuts.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 8:07PM
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To clean deeply or seal I just move everything to the island, clean and seal, then move every back, clean and seal the island.

I like having things on the counters. It looks cold to me if they are empty, like nobody lives here. And I like seeing things on other people's counters, especially if they have something interesting such as a collection, a beautiful stand mixer, a marble mortar and pestle, a cool looking olive oil jar, a giant pepper grinder, an art object, etc. It reflects their personality.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 9:26PM
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Strayer, actually I was thinking of cleaning the *things* on the counter. You know, canisters, etc. They get dusty, splattered, etc even if you are a clean cook. I can't imagine cleaning much of that. I might wind up putting something interesting on our counter, but if I do, it will only be after a great deal of thought - picking out something that reflects my (and dh's) personality. Although to a large degree, the house/kitchen/lighting already do that!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 9:53PM
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Oh, sorry, the things on the counter just get wiped off. Whenever I do get around to sealing, I completely clear it all off. But in between I just shift things around and wipe down the counters in sections. It all seems to work out.

I have to have things at hand to cook for a large family. But if we are having a function I do take most of the stuff and stick it in the pantry so that there's more serving space.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 10:10PM
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Totally a stuff on counter family--partly small kitchen, but really, it's about getting to stuff quickly & easily--crocks with spoons, tongs, spatulas; small cutting boards; KA mixer, paper towels; crocks with flour, sugar, knife block. The ideal is for everything back on the back edge, leaving enough space to work in front of it--in my perfect world, I redo the kitchen with deeper counters...

Great question--I've always wondered, so many of the "end" pics have these beautifully empty counters!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 10:37PM
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Let's just say that right now (pre-reno) the counters are cluttered (diabetes supplies for sons, toaster,butter dish, KA, microwave oven, small narrow tray with olive oil, pepper grinder, salt cellar, crock with cooking utensils, coffee maker, sugar bowl, sugar substitute bowl, fruit bowl, 2-tier stand that I keep bananas in one tier and onions and garlic in the other tier, bottles of wine, towels with dried pans and platters and large bowls, and finally a "junk" corner where paper clutter accumulates).

However, I'm planning on storing most of these things things off the counters after the reno. Post-reno I'm planning on only the coffee maker, fruit bowl, crock with cooking utensils, and butter dish being on the counter. I won't have long counter runs (even post-reno) so I'm trying to incorporate as much storage space as possible to get rid of the clutter, including several appliance garages and a shelf or two built into the wall over the cooktop.
My kitchen is very much a working kitchen--I'm not planning a show place, but I'm very much looking forward to having a place to put things away. Pre-reno, I just don't have that space.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 11:53PM
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Well, right now, our counters have our door pulls sitting on them...waiting...waiting...waiting for our GC to come back. However, I don't think that's what you're talking about.

But, we will have very little on our counters when kitchen is finished because I planned for having virtually everything put away. Mine is a working kitchen for sure. But, I want to be able to see the simple, clean lines that we worked so hard for.

We still have a landline cordless, so that's going on the counter, hidden over toward the fridge area. I have a fruit bowl that will stay in the corner area that is both functional and for decoration. A handsoap dispenser at the sink. A small olive wood (I love olive wood!) mortar and pestle mostly for decorative purposes. I plan on having an aloe plant in there...for exactly the reason we have aloe...because I'm a klutz and sometimes burn myself when cooking, so having a plant right there is ideal. I'd prefer a "lucky bamboo", but alas, it isn't nearly as effective on burns. :)

For the other things that are typically on the counter - the KA has it's own cabinet. Our toaster, coffee pot, and a few other small appliances are in our tall cabinet with doors that close when not in use. Flour, sugar, etc. are in the pantry. Salt, pepper, oils, etc. are in a cabinet by the cooktop. Cooktop utensils reside in a shallow drawer underneath the cooktop. Trivets stay in a drawer close to their general point of use. We use hand towels rather than paper towels and the hand towel will have it's location to hang. Paper towels will go in the broom closet since they are very infrequently used (I've used more paper towels just during our remodel than I have in the prior 3 years that we've lived here!)

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 12:00AM
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Your instincts are very functional. I think the person who wrote "Kitchen Design with Cooking in Mind" recommended deeper counters so that you can keep things on them and still have room in front to work or have landing space.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 12:13AM
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One of the goals of my kitchen remodel was to reduce/eliminate clutter on the counters. To that end I built a knife drawer, a charging station in a cabinet, and more storage space than I ever had.

What I eliminated: 2 knife blocks, a pile of recyclables that had to be taken to the garage, phones and kindles on chargers, a battery charger.

What's left: a small microwave in the corner (used to be OTR), a 1953 toaster that we use every day, a paper towel holder (that can go under the sink but doesn't), and a set of teak S&P shakers. Sometimes a few bananas.

Oh, and my SS fridge doesn't take magnets, so the fridge is uncluttered now too. I am not a neat freak by any stretch, but the kitchen is one room in the house where everything has a place.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 1:29AM
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I see I am in good company with all the "stuff on the counters" folks!!! We definitely live in our kitchen. I am hoping though, after our reno is finished, that I can convince DH to leave the microwave in the basement. We have realized just how rarely we use it and I don't want to give up that oh-so-valuable counterspace for it.

Thanks for all the responses!!!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 6:05AM
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I have: electric kettle, toaster, toaster oven, microwave, KA mixer, two crocks of wooden spoons and whisks and such, a bowl of fruit, my grandmother's Hummel monk figurine salt and pepper shakers, a bunch of cutting boards leaning against the wall (I have cats; the cats aren't supposed to get on the counters, but you never know what happens when you aren't home. All food prep gets done on the cutting boards--I know those are clean.), and a little thing to keep garlic in.

This sounds terribly cluttered, but really, it isn't.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 8:07AM
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robo (z6a)

Knife block, blender, utensil crock, KA, toaster, coffee maker, soap pump, dish soap. And a couple of small cutting boards stashed beside the knife block. And some things charging usually. Apparently in my jurisdiction it's completely against code to have an outlet in a cupboard. Grrr.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 8:48AM
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I have a lovely picture in my mind of what my new counters will look like, but, I am realistic, they'll be well used and often cluttered. There are crocks of utensils, one for big spoons, another for different whisks and still another for scrapers. The coffee pot and the vita mix, the food processor and the Breville toaster oven all get used daily. My KA will go on a waist high pull out shelf so I can just move it to a counter when I use it which is not so often these days. Then there is that bread box we slice bread on, the ubiquitous paper towel holder (gosh, I hope I can find another place for that) and the hand soap and lotion bottles. I also have a pretty tray with the large antique blue canning jars that hold cereals/rice/etc. They will go on open shelves in the new kitchen. Hopefully there will be enough space to work and still add that pretty bowl of lemons or a vase of flowers.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 9:48AM
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Those of you who use the knife blocks in the drawer, how do you like that setup versus the knife block on the counter? I am considering the drawer block, but not sure I will like the extra step of opening the drawer to grab a different knife, especially with messy cooking hands!

I have my cooking utensils in a drawer now and try to get everything I will need out before I start, but it seems I always end up going back in the drawer for something, which usually means I am cleaning the drawer front as well as the counters. Yes, I am a messy cook!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 10:00AM
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The only time I have ever cleared them was to take pictures to sell our house :) Usually I have out our toaster, coffeemaker, vase with utensils, and sometimes I leave the mixer out.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 10:19AM
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You mean there are counters underneath?

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 11:04AM
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I am a cook, a baker, - and a realist, and a breast cancer survivor with mild lymphedema in my right arm - so lifting heavy items like my food processor, blender etc. is a no-no for me.
Yes, my counter might look a bit cluttered, but I feel it's a sign of someone who is really using their kitchen!

Keurig, keruig coffee stand, tea basket, knife block, cutting board,TV, blender, food processor, utensil holder, toaster oven,spoon rests, basket with vitamins (hidden beside the fridge), cookbooks, notepad with pen beside the phone.

Lived in, used and proud of it! But always clean and tidy.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 11:06AM
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The things allowed on the counter are the coffee maker, bean grinder, and toaster. There used to be a small bowl for keys but I hope to have that find a new home in the pantry. My phone and iPod are also countertop items but that's because they go missing constantly if they aren't there.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 11:18AM
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Toaster oven, coffe maker, KA, knife blocks, crock with utensils, basket w/ fruit, 2 paper towel holders, dish strainer plus drying mat beside it, ceramic pig on island and hopefully a vitamix (on the counter, not island) if I get one for my birthday. Our kitchen is large so we have plenty of prep space. The 1st 3 items listed are on a 30" deep counter so plenty of space in front.
I will admit when I post my reveal (soon) I will likely remove most items.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 12:00PM
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I have a Wusthof knife block that attaches to the underside of an upper cabinet. It easily swivels out and then back out of the way. I love it and will save that to use on our new cabinets.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 12:40PM
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When I clean the counters I just move the items over in stages, then put them back. But I would love to have clear counters! When we were taking photos of our FL house for rent (as we were packing up to move to CA) the realtor took mostly EVERYTHING off the counters. Friends who saw the pics asked me how I kept everthing so clean - but it was just for the pics!

One of the things that drives me crazy too is my husband's desire to have a small computer/tablet on a stand on the counter. It's great for looking up recipes, but a) it's more clutter and b) where he's been keeping it, it catches the grease splatters from the cooktop! He thinks its no big deal b/c he works for a major computer company and can just get another sample, but still. Yuck!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 12:51PM
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Hmm, starting from the doorway: china rooster (was my mom's), bowl of onions, hand soap in pretty dispenser, cutting board (if I put it away other family members are too lazy to get it out), 2 small pretty bowls, cookie jar full of teabags, nutribullet (used daily), toaster oven, a collection of pretty mortar/pestle, coffee press, mug, teapot, then on the 9" spot on the other side of the stove is the coffeemaker. My landline phone is on the cabinet next to the frig.

Salt, pepper and spices are in the pullout next to the stove, and sugar is not used regularly so it is in a cupboard above the toaster. Knives are in a drawer under the prep section. I don't leave butter, oils etc out since I go through them slowly.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 1:12PM
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Magnetic knife holders are a great option for keeping your counters clear (no knife block), and not using up drawer space, but keeping your knives easily accessible. We have a bamboo one (and hopefully soon will have 2 if I can get DH to mount it on the wall).

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 1:12PM
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In my secret world: toaster, coffee maker, glass jars with some dry stuff, crock o' wooden spoons and usually a bowl of fruit. In my real world with DH add: tape measure, pile of drywall screws and drill bits, a coupla bobbers and sinkers, roll of electricians tape and mail. I aspire to have clean counters, though!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 2:18PM
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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

flwrs in co, I would be interested in how you plan to deal with the diabetes supplies. I am trying to re-organize and have yet to figure out how I will deal with my daughters. She gives herself the insulin in the main walkway to the kitchen which gets in the way at meal time. I am thinking of making a kid area where she can keep the stuff but am still undecided.

As far as my counters, I have one counter that pretty much often has dirty dishes or recyclables that need to go out. Coffee pot, dish strainer, knife block, vitamix and crock with baking tools (spatulas and whisks), plus a salt cellar and a bowl of lemons. More crocks around the cooktop, plus a spoon rest. Another counter has the toaster oven, basket with oven mitts, bread, and water crock. Once pictures were taken when we had cleaned almost everything off and my sister asked if it was when we had just moved in. It is what it is.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 2:59PM
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I like my kitchen to look like the rest of the house, decorated, but only use two small appliances, coffee maker and toaster. I've used Sterling silver(plate)items in the decor~small teapot made into a lamp, pitcher holding utencils, and a beautiful round tray against the backsplash. That's on the left side of the cooktop. I've hung another rectangular tray on the backsplash, behind the stove. On the right is the coffee maker w/SS sugar bowl/creamer, and paper towel holder I made out of a SS candle stick.

I think I need a lot of visual stimulation in a home, but also need function. All these items *do* get used.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 4:05PM
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tishtoshnm, I'm planning on putting my sons' diabetes supplies in a drawer outside of the prep and cooking areas. Our vitamins and supplements will also be in that drawer. Our sons will be moving out in the next few years so the purpose of the drawer is more centered on our vitamins and nutritional supplements. I haven't figured out the size of the drawer yet, but I'm thinking about 18 inches wide.

We've been dealing with diabetes for 30 years since all 3 of our sons have type 1. I'm looking forward to having a better way to contain the chaos of their supplies.

My best wishes for your daughter's good health.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 10:35PM
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We have ~13 feet of counter space on which we keep:

1. utensil crock next to range
2. coffee maker
3. vitamix
4. one flat silicone dish drying mat

I just moved our small microwave, toaster, coffee bean grinder into our pantry and speaker on top of my cookbook bookcase. They were all on the counters before. I hesitated because there was no electricity in the pantry. Fortunately the laundry shoot was in the pantry and so I figured out I could wire a heavy gauge extension cord into the basement and to a plug. The functionality from these small changes has been enormous! It opened up a counter by the sink for a prep area and has made flow so much better!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 3:05AM
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100% clear counters? Never in my house.

Current census on the "wet bar" is coffee maker, two coffee bean dispensers, two air pots. On the main counter .. cutting boards, toaster, bread machine, flour jars, sugar jar, knife block, a few utensil holders, big mixer, and a lot of tea.

... and a cat.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 2:03PM
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I hate clutter. That being said, I don't consider appliances you use on a daily basis to be cluttering the counter. I have a coffeemaker, a toaster oven, salt cellar and pepper grinder near the cooktop, old KA (mostly for display although I use it occasionally), paper towel holder, and an interesting fern.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 2:57PM
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Four years ago, when my kitchen was new, the counters were pretty clear. Coffee and toast aren't a daily thing, or even weekly, so the coffee makers and toasters are in the cabinetry. The KA was in the corner by the baking counter and looked fine. The orange colander lives in the basin of the keyhole shaped prep sink, and the TV (small flatscreen) lives on a stone lazy susan on the island. And the paper towel holder in the corner by the sink. And pots with plants in the garden window.

Then the boxes got completely unpacked and the decorative measuring cups and pretty gift bottles came out to be decor.

So far, not much.

But then the gelato maker arrived. It's way too big and heavy to put in a cupboard, even if I were willing to give up the space, so it sits on the counter, much like a microwave could.

That was the beginning of the end. The Cuisinart has a place in a drawer but by the time I'm ready to put it away, I need to use it again. The wood tower with the cloth "paper" towels sits next to the real paper. The dish with the succulents I'm trying to start sits on the gelato maker. And the little holder sits by the sink with the sponge and scrubbie for dishes so the housekeeper won't use them on general cleaning. Plus, instead of the bottle of dish liquid, which had gotten too big to leave on the counter, there's the pretty, handled olive oil cruet of dish liquid for dishes (great slow drip), and the push with the back of your hand, ugly plastic soap dispenser for chicken hands because the automatic one wouldn't stay unclogged.

Then there's the spoon rest and the handle grabby by the stove as well as the Atlas brass salt and pepper grinders. And the kettle which sits on the gas side, and the bean pot which also usually sits out because it doesn't like being in the drawer.

The KA has gained companions in the small canister with the overflow of sugar that didn't fit when the new bag went into the main canister. Ditto the overflow hibiscus flowers. And the pancake mix canister. And the pasta roller and its attachments in their boxes, which could be stashed somewhere but not in the baking area. Then there are the dead soldiers, i.e., empty wine bottles, holding dried flowers. I did stash the mounting collection of cute measuring cups, though I liked it when they were out and convenient to grab. Not accurate enough for baking, but perfect for measuring rice or anything "-ish".

The island has suffered too. The smaller Silpat has joined the orange colander. In an ideal world, I'd use a pastry cloth, but the Silpat is so flippin' easy to clean. I know some people throw dough right on their counters, but I can't bring myself to do that, so for small things I use the Silpat (nearly daily, so it only gets into the drawer every so often), and only bring out the baking board or pastry sheet for breads and pies. There are also a couple of empty canisters because I kicked them out of the pantry in favor of some big bottles, the masking tape and sharpie which could go in the drawer but don't always, the scissors which I've finally learned are most useful if they're left out, and a few transient items like spice bottles that need refilling and bags that can't go in the drawer until the old box comes out.

Plus the scale and two trivets migrate around the counters depending on where they're needed.

And the baking counter doubles as the repository for clean things that people don't know how to put away, and have left for me. :) And the acrylic book/recipe holder.

Um... I think that's all. There's still plenty of room to cook! And I clear things down regularly, but they creep back.

I blame it all on the gelato maker.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 4:00PM
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No way! It's the most used room in the house, and not just for cooking/eating. A 'sterilized' look bugs me. Those people would gasp to find a crumb on the counter. Mine is to live in, not impress you or anyone else. I'm more comfortable in a 'lived-in' house than a clean one.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 6:12PM
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Ours is completely open (living room, dining room and kitchen are all one big room) and. I still have out the Sodastream, Nespresso, Aeroccino, electric teapot, paper towel holder, and utensils crock. I can deal with taking out and putting away the toaster once a week, the rest, not. I've just never felt the need for empty counters in the most used "room" in the house.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 11:52PM
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Mine were clear when I first had them installed! But right away they felt all naked and sterile! So up went the coffee maker, the keurig, the pots and floor vases and wine racks and cutting boards...yeah. It feels all homey now, even if I can't see the counters anymore ;)

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 1:39PM
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I wish it were possible to have clear counters here--too little counter space and too little storage. Here's what is out for all to see: KA mixer, weather radio, big cutting board, spoon rest, utensil crock, Olive Oil and salt/pepper by range, VitaMix, a George Foreman machine, bread machine, bowl of fruit, dish soap, tea towel.

Hopefully when the reno occurs we will have storage for the bread machine and the George Forman,etc. I don't mind the KA or VitaMix out.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 8:09PM
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I have a small kitchen, too, and I try to put away as much as possible. The counter holds the microwave, toaster oven, and coffee maker, which are used daily. Near the cooktop I have three decorative salt cellars holding three kinds of salt, and a pepper grinder. Also a knife block. A beautiful mezzaluna cutting board handmade by sayde's talented DH. The Bose CD player/stereo. Bowl of fruit. Current open bottle of wine. Various plants or flowers. Bronze sculpture of a squirrel. Very large antique wooden bowl, used for making Caesar salads and too big to store. It sounds like a lot, but it's much less than used to inhabit the counters before the remodel.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 11:54AM
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Coffee "station": coffee maker, jar of coffee grounds, sugar bowl, and pretty colander that holds fruit.

Peninsula: ceramic tray that holds salt and pepper shaker and napkins, a small metal bucket that holds writing utensils and such, and at night charging cell phones and iPad. Right now, the lap top I am using.

Main part of kitchen: flour and sugar canisters, covered butter box, KA stand mixer, salts and pepper and grinder, oils and other little decorative bottles by the cooktop with a pitcher used for utensils. I always have a pot of fresh flowers by the main sink under the window. I also have a pitcher to hold scrub brushes, then there is a lotion bottle.

The only time my counters are completely clear is when I am reorganizing. :)

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 1:24PM
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Our new kitchen is HUGE and I started out keeping everything off the counter except the coffee pot. But as time has passed, the KA stand mixer now stays out, a couple cannisters, a basket with often used oils and spices, and a small cannister for the most used utensils. Other than that, it's clear. A visitor once commented that it looked like "no one lives here". That's when I realized I was going overboard. Now it appears a bit more lived in.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 3:28PM
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We keep the coffee maker, tea pot, toaster, paper towel holder, hand lotion, some vege''s like onions, sweet potatoes and garlic in a basket. Occasionally the mail, a magazine…

What we did do for our remodel was make sure that we had plenty of space to tuck things away when we wished to hide them. Otherwise, convenience rules!

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 4:12PM
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LOL plllog! Damn that gellato maker! :D

Mine are relatively clear. The coffee pot (which rarely gets used) is out because we had guests last weekend and it hasn't found it's way back into the cupboard. My electric tea kettle is usually out, and the KA is always out.

I had much more out on the old counters… canisters, fruit & vegetable baskets, toaster, PT holder, banana stand, plate rack, blender, food scale, etc… basically anything that could help cover up the ugly yellow and brown tile.

Now that my counters are pretty, I try to keep things more put away. Canisters and plate racks are now hanging below the cupboards. Measuring cups and spoons are hanging inside the cupboard. Fruit & vegetable baskets, food scale, blender, and other daily use items are on the shelves of my prep table (I just added another shelf to get more room).

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 4:38PM
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My counters are bare....for now. I'm still in the process of trying to find things to accentuate them but I'm not sure i ever will. I have counter in my walk in pantry where i keep appliances i use frequently, and i carry them into kitchen for use (except the breville oven which stays in the pantry)

I use my kitchen daily and since i don't have that much countertop i love that i can spread out (and back) with my prep.

Also I'm just not fond of appliances covering my expensive (for me) counter.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 5:11PM
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Errant, love your rail system and canisters. Please tell me where you purchased them. I think they might help me with some organization issues. TIA!

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 9:32PM
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They are from Ikea, flwrs. I used the Grundtal series, but they have others, as well. I screwed mine into the bottom of the cabinets, but they are usually mounted on the wall.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 1:04AM
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Definitely not. I keep my KA in a cabinet because it's a plain white one and doesn't fit under the cabinet so it would stick out. But we keep the toaster, coffee maker, bread bowl, and season decor out. Here is a photo of what's normally out. But now that we recently got a Vitamix, that's out too! I use my kitchen too much to have it "clear".

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 7:57PM
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slush1422- where did you get those lights above the island? I LOVE them! Also, how big is your island?

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 9:46PM
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Our island is 4'6 x 6'9. The lights were from Ikea and super cheap! Only $29.99. They are the Ottava Pendants.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ikea lights

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 11:37PM
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Thanks for the info! I will check out those lights.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 3:06PM
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My main prep space is a 30" stretch of counter between the cooktop and the sink. Once I start working in earnest, I don't like to have to move far from that spot, just shift over a step to sink or stove.

Always out is a cutting board (14" x 18"), held steady by a piece of that foam-fabric shelf liner stuff.

Always lined up against the wall in front of me:
- utensil crock [most-used utensils only]
- bottle of olive oil
- salt dish
- pepper mill
- butter bell
- small utensil crock [measuring spoons, peeler, scissors]
Between the cutting board and the line-up, there's a spoon rest.

My motto is "be ready to cook". Nothing is out on that counter that isn't used daily, often several times a day.

There's plenty to get out when preparing food without also having to get out the "infrastructure" every time. When I need something while prepping and cooking, I either reach for it right in front of me, or get it from the assembled ingredients behind me on the worktable [I'm pretty much of a "mise en place" cook]. The less-often-used utensils are all in the top drawer under the stove, in one layer, viewable and reachable at a glance. I hate riffling!

It helps that I don't have many electric appliances; the immersion blender and coffee grinder are in cabinets, the little toaster and small microwave are on the worktable with a bowl of onions and garlic. The induction unit lives on a cookie sheet covering a rear burner on the gas stove, leaving three gas burners free -- a dirt-cheap way to get a "hybrid" cooktop.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 5:49PM
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One other item always out on the worktable behind me: a granite mortar & pestle, which is both heavy enough and used often enough that I don't want to have to haul it out from anywhere. It sits on a squshy-waffly silicone potholder that protects the table surface, so I just slide it over from its spot beside the microwave to the open area of the table.

Also a small cutting board that's mostly used as a landing area for hot containers coming out of the microwave.

And, on the pantry/fridge side of the worktable, a little jar with a sharpie sitting in a roll of masking tape -- for labeling & dating containers going into the fridge, freezer, or pantry. If I had to get out the tape & sharpie, nothing would get labeled. With it right there, the s.o. is even beginning to develop the habit! Old dogs can learn new tricks... The little jar also contains a set of measuring spoons so I can assemble spices for cooking without having to go back to the main prep area to get one.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 6:01PM
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@deedles: Get that man a tray! Seriously, just containing little piles like that makes them cleaner-looking -- and definitely makes them easier to whisk off the counter to get workspace or clean up for visitors.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 6:15PM
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