Saturday, December 13, 2014

Kitchen Counter Battles

I have approx. 9 linear feet of kitchen counters, in an L shape (slightly more when measured along the wall as it takes the corner). The short arm of the L is broken up by the stove: 1 1/2 ft. of counter, stove, 2 ft. of counter. The longer arm of the L is broken up by the double sink: 1 1/2 ft. counter, sink, almost 4 ft. counter (part of which is taken up by the microwave).

For some reason, I have a hard time KEEPING MY COUNTERS CLEAR!

By necessity, certain appliances live on my counters: the microwave, the toaster, the rice cooker, etc. In addition, there are other implements which stay permanently on the counter: the copper kettle which holds my cooking utensils, the pot of boiled water we use for drinking, a glass platter which holds condiments and the mug of cutlery for daily use, the copper colander which I use as a fruit bowl, etc.  All these live lined up along the back of the counter, which is about 2 feet deep. These things don't bother me - I need them to be out and within easy reach on a daily basis.

It is the area in front of them - the approx. 1 ft. deep space along the front edge of the counter - that is my problem. SOMEONE (surely not MOI?!) puts things on them, which tend to remain to clutter up the counters.

For example, food storage containers that ought to go in the dishpan in the cabinet but haven't dried enough to be put away (I air dry them upside down in the dish drainer and water tends to collect under the rims, and then drip when I turn them right side up! So I leave them on the counter to dry further and they stay there!)

Soon they are joined by other items - drinking glasses, a bottle of soda, an empty jar, a bag of snacks, and so on.  Until the counters are cluttered!

I cleaned the kitchen yesterday and cleared the counters and wiped them down.  It lasted for a couple of hours, until I dumped out the contents of one drawer (more utensils such as spatulas, beaters for the mixer, pizza cutter, measuring cups and spoons, etc.) to sort through them.  I washed the utensils tray and kept it to dry overnight and wiped out the drawer.   The utensils tray is dry now, but I haven't put it back in the drawer or put the utensils away.
My kitchen is definitely used only for cooking. There isn't space for a kitchen table, so there's no eating in there, unless one eats standing up!  However, I wonder if I had a kitchen table, would my counters stay a little clearer?  Or would the table end up being yet another horizontal surface for clutter to accumulate?

I generally wash the dishes (by hand) and empty the dish drainer (set into one side of the double sink) once a day.  I leave the washed dinner dishes to dry overnight and empty the drainer first thing in the morning while I wait for the water to boil to make coffee.

That's when I leave the containers on the counter. I want them out of the drainer because I usually wash the morning coffee mugs, etc., before I leave for work. I guess I fear that if I leave the containers in the drainer, the newly washed mugs and milk pan, etc. might drip water into them, again.

I don't mind them sitting out on the counter during the day when I am at work. I just have to train myself to PUT THEM AWAY when I come home from work and not leave them out for the rest of the evening!

Ah, but having them out on the counter makes it that much easier to pack the next day's lunches later that night...

Now do you see what's at the root of my counter clutter? Laziness, masquerading as step-saving work efficiency!

I want to challenge myself to try and keep the counters cleared.  Anyone else battling with kitchen counter clutter?  Want to join me in a  kitchen counters challenge?  Want to share tips on HOW to keep them clear?


  1. Bless, I'm very tuned into the war on kitchen counter clutter. The home stagers make it clear that we constantly need to choose between convenience and decor. My standard is items must 'earn' a place on the lengths of counter space by being used daily! It's a simple matter to install a shelf using 'L' brackets to get the microwave off the counter and on the wall; a power cord delivers electricity where needed.
    A copper colander of fruit could be the decor on the dining rm table if kitties will leave it be.
    My rice cooker is convenient in a cupboard adjacent to the sink as I make a batch of rice and keep cooked rice in zip bag/box in the fridge to fry, mix for salad or dessert.
    Will your dish drain fit in the 2nd sink side? If rinsed with very hot water, evaporation dries in moments. ETE utensils & ingredients before food goes to table.
    We set table in evening for bkfst. Clear bkfst & set for dinner from drain as appropriate. oops...too long

    1. Hon, great tips! Thank you! There's no wall space for the microwave to be mounted, as cabinets take up wall space. The dish drainer is in the 2nd sink. The dining table has a silver basket of fruit - the copper colander (part of my copperware collection) could go on the pass-through shelf, I suppose. I should probably get rid of it, but I like it too much. I got rid of the 4 copper canisters I used to have and sometimes wish I hadn't.

    2. GONers will offer ideas you're free to ignore. Would you consider adding a photo of counters? Space for a kitchen cart?

      I'd repurposed last century glass canisters in the pantry for rice [Thai bulk], brown sugar [fridge], snack of the week [desk decor]. I'm wanting to make under sink cupboard more efficient and looking at stackable plastic drawers. Stretched out on the floor, taking measurements of annoying cabinet. Cheers [Cyd] Honour

    3. I welcome all your suggestions; you know that. I also realize that without me posting pictures, there's no way to tailor the suggestions to the exact circumstances. Maybe one day I will post pictures of the kitchen.

      Unfortunately, there is no space for a kitchen cart. Imagine a room 8' x 10', with a 7-shaped walk space. There are door ways at each end of the 7. There are counters to the top and right of the 7 - the L-shaped counters described in my post (I should have said they were in an up-side-down L shape). To the left of the 7, there's the fridge and a floor-to-ceiling cabinet. There are upper kitchen cabinets above the counters. There is a large opening/pass-through over the sink which opens up the kitchen to the family room (and light from the sliding glass door in the family room).

      Good idea to install stackable plastic drawers in the under sink cabinet. Which reminds me, I should clean out that cabinet!


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