Creative Counter Top Storage - Fruit/veggies/bread

BoopadabooOctober 19, 2010

I am trying to organize my life. This is not an easy task for this disorganized person.

We have a ton of fruit, onions, potatoes, yams, and bread on the counters. I have a large black wire iron type basket that is really meant for a bathroom I think (for storing shampoo, condintioner, etc) on the counter, but it is leaving marks and it is heavy to move and clean around.

On the other side of the sink I have baskets with wash cloths (thanks to golddust - I don't know how I ever lived without them) vitamins, and sippy cups. I ordered this to mount to the backsplash

to store all cloths, vitamins etc. I think it will work out great and you will still be able to access the plugs. We do not have any fancy backplash, just a bit that comes up from the counter and then drywall.

I think it will go really well with my kitchen which has dark brown cabinets and I now have baskets of all kinds on top of my cabinets. I like that the canvas parts are washable and will sort of match my counters...

I am thinking I would like to put this all around the backsplash to store the potatoes, onions,bread and fruit. I am wondering if that will work for fruit though. WIll it go bad faster? Will DH eat it? (I think there is some out of sight out of mind thing that goes on.)

Do you think this will look odd? Should I try black iron baskets mounted to the backsplash area? I have been looking for them too.

I was thinking I could use this magazine rack for fruit but I have not measure yet...

This does not seem like it would hold much, but I could hang the wash clothes to dry on the pegs....

What do y'all use to store all the fruit? We seem to go through so much of it since switching primarily to a whole foods diet. DH and I were laughing the other day. All I can remember growing up was a tiny bowl with like 2 apples and a banana in it. I don't remember ever seeing anyone eat it though.

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How deep are the cloth things? My concerns would be (1) if it's several inches deep, it's going to limit your workable counter space and (2) during food prep and cooking, they're going to get dirty, and how often are you really going to want to remove them and wash them?

Sorry, just trying to picture how practical it would be.

I don't know if I'm unusual, but I store my fruit in the fridge. Well -- not bananas.

I'd look for attractive baskets or bowls. Check out Pier One, maybe?

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 8:04AM
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You can get a two tier metal fruit bowl/stand. They come in different sizes and the larger ones hold quite a bit of fruit. I would much prefer that as to something mounted to the wall. Keep in mind you will want to wash whatever you store your fruits and veggies from time to time (especially if you have a lovely case of the fruit-flies). Personally, I like having veggies such as onions and potatoes kept in a cabinet. I've understood that the best place for these is in a cool dark location. We eat ours quickly, but I always keep them in cabinet. If you don't have a pantry for these, find a base cabinet with some space and store them there. I also have one side of my upper cabinets as my pantry space and keep bread there. I use that weird pantry cabinet as storage for most of my casserole dishes and other miscellaneous dishes. I can't tell you how much better my kitchen life has been since putting the food in the upper cabinets. I even have a space for all our vitamins/medicines. Everything is easily accessible and out of site when not being used.

If you need something to hang your washcloths on, maybe get one of those countertop towel stands and set it next to you sink. I've been wondering how to solve this problem myself and think I'll give the towel stand a try.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 8:34AM
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Thanks for the answers! I did that post way to early in the morning and was not really clear I don't think.

I have plenty of baskets, I just don't want anything on the counters anymore. I probably have 30 baskets above the cabinets. I like them there, I dont' want to use them. In fact I want to get rid of the three I am using for the wash clothes, sippy cups and vitamins.

I am looking for something to use for storage hanging on the wall.

Sueb20 - I have baskets on the counter right now and they take up probably more space then the hanging canvas bags will. I don't mind taking them off to wash them. I don't think that will be a big deal. Of course I could be wrong!

Bleigh - I want things off the counter, so I am looking for things to hang on the backsplash area. I have plenty of baskets I could use if I left the stuff on the counter, but I don't like the way it looks. DH does not want the stuff in the cabinets, nor will he put it back in the cabinets, so it is a losing battle and not one I am willing to fight.

I have been looking at a mug rack for hanging the wash clothes. I think that might work.

We don't really seem to have enough room in the fridge ever to keep any fruit besides grapes. It is usually filled with fresh produce and soups and such that DH makes. We have a really small fridge. :( I am looking in to one that will fit where the trash compactor was, but I think that will really be for produce overload since we truly have no room.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 10:11AM
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I have a small, inexpensive chrome towel bar installed on the inside of my cabinet door under the sink that holds 2 washcloths.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 10:20AM
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That is a great idea gracie! I bet I could put pegs too on the door. We use a lot, and DH throws them in to my son's hamper and I don't like them in there wet.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 10:24AM
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I don't know if you have room for this - but maybe you could store your produce in baskets on a Baker's rack or serving cart. I agree with bleigh that using something washable would be best. I'm not sure how easy that would be if you stored stuff on the backsplash?

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 10:26AM
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I have lots of antique wood/ceramic bowls (just one of my collecting weaknesses LOL!)-- one for potatoes, another one for onions and one (or two or three LOL!) for fruit.

Kosher salt is stored in an old bean pot -- and bean pots hold tea bags and splenda packets too!

Jan at Rosemary Cottage (someone who is easily bowled over ... LOL!)

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 10:29AM
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I store my non-fridge fruit (bananas, etc) in a basket on the countertop. I store onions and potatoes in a lower cabinet (one of my non-functional cabinets). Potatoes should not be exposed to light (that's how they turn green) and so they should really not be stored in open containers on the countertop. My dog eats any bread or dish cloths left on the countertop, so I store both of those in the cabinet over the fridge. It looks like your kitchen has a good amount of storage space. Can you designate a drawer or cabinet for the items that do not need to be immediately on hand or visible?

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 10:34AM
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Why all that counter space if you don't use it?

I keep 3 baskets on the counter top ... the largest holds things like bread, English muffins, any opened bags of dried fruit, etc. The medium size one holds onions, the smallest shallots. I keep my potatoes in a basket on the lowest shelf of the pantry.

Most fruit I keep refrigerated except bananas and peaches in season.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 11:29AM
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There isnt much room for a bakers rack. I have been thinking of getting a range in stead of the cook top and wall oven. there might be some room there for pullout baskets then. That is down the road though.

This is an old picture. We do use the counters. Not sure I said we didn't. To the right is home of my vitamix which I use daily. DH also cooks a lot. The baskets take up the same room (or hopefully a little less) as the items hanging.

I want to make it easier to clean, and neater looking. That is the point.

As mentioned above, DH does not put things away in the cabinets and it is not a battle I want to take on.

LOL teacats!

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 1:46PM
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Ikea makes a chrome kitchen shelf that uses horizontal bars in place of a solid piece for the actual shelf. Fruit and veggies could rest on these bar shelves w/out falling thru or rolling off. Very easy to see at a glance what you have in stock. Plus the bars could act as a towel rack for your washcloths. Plenty of air flow to keep food from spoiling or cloths from getting smelly.

What is the source for the wire shelf in your post that is holding the plates? I've been looking all over for just this item!?

One day I'll teach myself to link to picks - but the chrome shelf is a standard ikea item that comes in 2 sizes.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 1:53PM
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Just checked out Ikea's solutions. The Bygel wire basket that hangs on the Bygel bar might work.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 2:47PM
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The magazine rack will leave bruise/stripe lines on things like ripe pears...

    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 4:23AM
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i also keep my many breads in a large basket on the counter...fruit i keep in frig(my kids like it cold) or large bowl on kitchen table. grapes i usually keep in the colander in/near sink.

but....i have seen in the past wire types of basket hangers that you can hang from the ceiling...i've seen multi tiered ones too. don't know where you could get one tho--maybe a specialty kitchen store???

    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 7:39AM
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Here is an example of the hanging baskets busybee3 was talking about, from Sur La Table:

Here is a link that might be useful: hanging basket

    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 8:29AM
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syllabus and bleigh - I am going to check out ikea - usually the stuff they have is in chrome or some other silver color which I do not have anywhere in my house at the moment, but I will take a look.

Patser - that is one of the problems I have with the huge rack/basket I have now. I think it does leave bruises on things.

busybee3 and southernfrenchie. I do love the idea of those hanging baskets. I would love to find some that are two tiered and shorter and hang them from under the cabinets. I could just see DH's face if I told him I wanted to hang that from the ceiling in our kitchen. :) I just don't think we have a good place for it. Hmmmm well maybe over the island sort of area. I will ask him what he thinks.

oh and syllabus - I will link the item below. It is from a company named America Retold. I have fallen in love with half their stuff.

Especially these....

Hopefully that thing I did order will be in soon and I can either decide I love it or rule it out and keep going on the search. I thought of about 4 other places I could use it if I love it so I am hoping it is not too small or to poorly made.

Here is a link that might be useful: rack for syllabus

    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 8:56AM
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Boop - thanks for the link! I, too, love America Retold stuff!

The ikea racks are chrome and a bit modern looking - but could always be spray painted in another color. If you know a handy woodworker - this is something that could be pretty easily crafted in a more traditional style.

And thinking along those lines... you can find shelf brackets in many styles (wood or metal to match your cabinet hardware) and different heights & depths. Try looking online, at Orange or Blue, or craft stores. Perhaps you could mount a few shallow shelves and have them stained to match your cabinets. This would be so easy & inexpensive to do yourself.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 10:29AM
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Well, an update. I did get the first magazine rack I have in the photo above and it did not work out for backsplash storage. I think I need to go back to school to learn how to measure!

It is being put to good use for diapers, wipes, sneakers and assorted kid stuff.

So I am still searching.

I did find a place that will make custom basekets and she has a few designs I like.

I am thinking that walnut will look the best given the color of my cabinets.

What do you think?


this is a more current picture of my kitchen:

And the two main areas I am trying to organize:

Here is a link that might be useful: bevs baskets

    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 5:37PM
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Have you considered taking off one or two of the cabinet doors on the bottom and adding in baskets there? I love the idea of getting things off the counters, but I am not sure I would want stuff hanging everywhere, either. You could use metal storage baskets like the ones from ELFA to put in the cabinets, but with the acrylic liner so that the fruit doesnâÂÂt bruise.

Gotta ask what you do with all those washcloths? We used washcloths when the kids were little, always carried a couple damp ones in a plastic ziploc bag when we went out. But I never needed that many for a few days use!

    Bookmark   November 17, 2010 at 3:13AM
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One concern I'd have storing fruit in things like the magazine rack would be that whatever was on the bottom would end up all bruised and mushy from the weight of the top layer... it's one thing to have two layers of e.g. apples alternating with each other when spread in a wide container, but putting a lot of layers in a tight container?

    Bookmark   November 17, 2010 at 4:57AM
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