Clear the Counter!

What are your thoughts on my doing a Clutter Bust post every now and then? A specific area in the home with ideas and tips toward reducing clutter and organizing it. Would that be helpful? Thoughts? I would appreciate your feedback. :)

The Kitchen Counters

The kitchen is often referred to as the heart of the home. It doesn’t matter how tiny a space you have; the kitchen is a magnet for people. When we are in the kitchen cooking dinner, there are bound to be people at our side. Whether they are there to taste-test or talk about their day, it just happens.

That is the kitchen. But what are the counters for? Kitchen counters are intended to be a work space, not a storage space. Are your counters lined up with things? You know that back part of the counter? I love having my kids help me roll out pie crusts or cookie dough, help cut vegetables, or watch whatever else I happen to be doing. It is much easier to clean up if I can just wipe down the counter, rather than have to move bottles, appliances, or whatever else might be stored on the back part of the counter top.

I have two things on my counter: a microwave (we don’t have a built in one) and my Kitchen Aid. That’s it. I don’t even have a coffee maker on it. Since I use my French Press on a daily basis, I store my coffee maker in the cupboard and just get it out when I need it.

Along with cooking, the kitchen counter may be where you go through homework papers, go through the mail, or any number of other things. Does your kitchen reflect an area where you have place to work, where kids can pull up a chair and help without having to move a bunch of things out of the way, or even where a child can just sit up on the counter with you to watch? Is it a work space that warmly invites others to come participate in the action, or is it a storage place for keeping a bunch of stuff?

Take a few minutes today to just stand in your kitchen and evaluate. Is it what you want it to be? I’m not talking about structural things. I am just talking about the things you can quite easily change. Move things around so that it is pleasing and relaxing to look at, as well as easy to work in.

A few thoughts:

  • Avoid uni-taskers. These are the things that only accomplish one thing in the kitchen. These are the items you see on TV commercials all the time! You will probably have a few that you use frequently, but as a general rule, you want to avoid them as much as possible.
  • Store small appliances in cabinets instead of on counters.
  • Your kitchen and its gadgets should reflect you. Just because your friend told you she uses a certain thing all the time does not mean you should have it in your kitchen. Let me explain. I have a Kitchen Aid, and though it takes space on my counter, I love it there because I use it regularly. I cook from scratch. If you rarely cook, or primarily cook from boxes, a Kitchen Aid becomes clutter in your kitchen. If you have a candy thermometer and have never once made candy, it is clutter. For your friend that makes pounds of candy each Christmas and gives it as gifts, it is not clutter. Each person is unique. Each person cooks differently. Your kitchen needs to reflect you, not someone else and their thoughts on what constitutes a well-equipped kitchen. Your status as a homemaker is not achieved by the appliances or gadgets in your kitchen.
  • Avoid stacks of papers. If you check your mail or go through homework in the kitchen, it is easy for stacks of paper to pile up. Remember your counter is a work space for right then, but then the paper goes somewhere else. Don’t just pile it.
  • Relish wide open space on your counter. You will enjoy cooking and baking so much more when you have space.

One thing I have learned is that when baking with children, flour will get everywhere. Not having anything on my counters makes clean-up a breeze, because I don’t have to move things around and wipe things down that are covered with flour.

Also, it is much more satisfying to walk into a kitchen with open space, than a kitchen with a multitude of little things cluttering up the counter or stacks of paper consuming precious work space.

Today’s challenge: Clear Your Counter!

I’m curious. What do you keep on your counters?

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Comments

  1. Yazmin says:

    Kitchenaid, toaster, paper towel holder, fruit bowl, dog medicine… It’s really bad. I just don’t have enough space to hide all of those things.

    Really, what I need to do is clear the clutter. Must have tons of things I just don’t use…

    • Johanna says:

      I totally hear you!! I have a small apartment kitchen so I have had to get rid of a lot to maximize space where I can!

  2. Rebecca says:

    Hello! I just found your blog from Simple Mom. I always need to read these reminders about kitchen counters. Right now we have several Costco sized boxes of food on the counter, along with my toddler’s art stuff, pile of papers, pile of mail, glasses that need cleaning (and put away because we never use them), phone books, and a couple of pictures to be hung in the kitchen. It really is that covered. I hope to take up your challenge to clean and organize!

    • Johanna says:

      Welcome! Isn’t it amazing how quickly stuff accumulates? You’ll love the feeling of some free space!

  3. Michelle G. says:

    I just did this on Saturday, and it is so nice. Before I had room to do that, I had to go through cabinets to get rid of items to make room. I’ve gotten out the food processor twice, the Kitchenaid mixer once, and the Foodsaver several times, but it’s worth it for the clutter-free look and the easy cleanup.

    • Johanna says:

      I agree! Definitely worth the extra effort to pull things out when needed just to have clear counter space!

  4. Steph says:

    My counter is currently covered with dishes that need to be dealt with. :)

    When we lived in an apartment during seminary we had very little counter room so I didn’t keep much on it. We’re in a house now so there’s more counter space and therefore more stuff on it. One of my big goals after going from a one bedroom apartment to a three bedroom house (which I’m very grateful for) is not to accumulate more stuff just because we have more room. To that end, we just purged our closets and some of our kitchen this last week.

    • Johanna says:

      Oh the dishes. Always. :) I completely agree. We have lived in 3 houses and 2 apartments. I have to be so much more careful in a house to limit my “stuff.”
      Way to go on all the purging!

  5. Ha! We have become somewhat obsessive about clear counters, too. I grew up where the decorating style was “display all the stuff!” :) And that’s the style I had at first, too.

    Currently, we keep our toaster oven (a good combo of toaster and microwave) on the counter, as well as 1 utensil holder and 1 knife rack. (We keep a fruit bowl in our dining space). I also have a cup growing green onions, and there is frequently a butter dish out on the counter.

    We have a (luxury of a) cabinet space where our KA mixer fits, but I rarely use it anyway–I prefer to do simple mixing by hand and use a Magic Bullet for making smoothies or whipped cream.

    Having a clean kitchen is also a sanity saver for us. I feel like if the kitchen is clean (and it is visible from several rooms), then I can have more clarity and energy and can make progress on other parts of the house that might be messy. I used to live with a full counter–having a clear one makes a world of difference!

    • Johanna says:

      I would love to get a toaster oven someday to replace my microwave (more versatile and better health wise)! We do have a fruit bowl, too. Usually on our table, but sometimes it is on the counter. Forgot about that when I wrote the post! :)

      And I totally relate to the “display all the stuff!” style. :) We’re pretty obsessive about it, too. I never knew how much I love just a clean flat surface. So relaxing.

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  1. [...] A Clutter-Free Counter  {My Home Tableau via Simple Mom} I always need this reminder to clean the counter and the reminder of having the “I can do anything” feeling that follows. [...]

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