What’s on your kitchen counters?

Earlier this week I was browsing the Unclutterer Forums when I found this thread: What’s on your kitchen counters? It’s a conversation that’s been going strong since 2012, with the latest contribution being published just a few days ago. Here are my thoughts.

Our kitchen is very small. Even after a major remodel in 2002, we’ve got precious little counter space. As such, we’ve had to be extremely selective about what earns its way onto the counter. Many products “audition” but few make the cut.

The first to go was the microwave. Yes, we’re a microwave-free household. Really, the stove/oven does everything the microwave manages, albeit more slowly. We can’t afford a huge bulky item that duplicates functionality. Instead, we’ve got a toaster oven.

We’ve got a few books in a bookshelf, a drainer for drying the dishes, and the mixer. Honestly, that’s it. Utensils live in a drawer and dishes, glasses, etc. live in cabinets.

Items that are used only occasionally are stored in the basement until they’re called into duty. This includes the slow cooker, blender, and big mixer. We just don’t use them often enough to warrant long-term storage in the kitchen itself.

Now I’ll ask you: what’s on your kitchen counters, and why? Does “size matter” or is function the deciding factor? Sound off, here or join the conversation on our forum.

5 Comments for “What’s on your kitchen counters?”

  1. posted by SkiptheBS on

    Back when I actually had a kitchen…Voluntarily kept dish drainer, dish detergent, cutting board and a set of canisters. Involuntary: the microwave, a seldom-used gift from my mother.

    I’ve quit coffee and sugar, seldom use cornmeal and flour, and sold the dratted micro-onda when the ten year warranty expired. I’d keep the electric pressure cooker, cutting silicon sheet, a stand/dock for the beloved device which contains all of the cookbooks and recipes, and one vintage Appalachian crock for the knife, manual can opener, multimeasure spoon.
    Open to a “tiny” microwave for reheating food and boiling water.

  2. posted by Pat on

    I am lucky enough to have a fairly large kitchen, but my passion is baking cookies, so I need a lot of room to spread out! The only appliances on our counters are the toaster oven, my coffee maker, and my husband’s small Nespresso machine. I keep my dish drainer out. Some people think that’s tacky, but if it’s out the dishes get rinsed/washed right away. I’d rather have dishes in the dish drainer than a counter full of dirty dishes. In addition I have a fruit bowl (promoting healthy snacking), a compost crock, canisters with flour and three kinds of sugar for my baking, a crock for wooden spoons, and another crock for spatulas and such. My stand mixer, slow cooker, and food processor are stowed in the lower cabinets – unseen, but available. Now, if I can just convince my husband to get his mail off the counter, I’d be all set.

  3. posted by PatMcD55 on

    Small kitchen with very little counter space.
    Corner counter between stove and sink: earthenware crock with utensils, dish detergent, squeeze bottle with white vinegar, small pump container with liquid hand soap, small tube of hand cream
    At sink: tall ceramic vase that holds long-handled scrub brush and glass brush, small perforated container with two sponges (one for dishes, one for counters); small tier rack that holds steel wool pad, nail brush, and scrubber
    Counter to right of sink: dish drain, knife block, kitchen salt & pepper, standing paper towel holder
    Cart 1, next to refrigerator: nothing lives on this counter for long; it’s the landing pad for putting away groceries, especially for the fridge; it’s a primary work counter for food prep or serving dinner from stove/oven
    Small Cabinet (found in basement when we bought house): other primary work counter for food prep; plate with cruet of garlic oil for dressing salads
    Cart 2, next to Small Cabinet: this used to be kept clear; now serves as coffee station, with small drip coffeemaker in winter (larger coffeemaker in summer for iced coffee), small canister with recently ground coffee, box of coffee filters for small coffeemaker, sugar bowl. mug for my husband (he set up this area; also have two glass jars, one with almonds, one with walnuts; often there is a container of cherry tomatoes here, too
    Cart 3, next to kitchen pantry cabinet: toaster, extra pitcher for ice tea, extra glass pitcher (because there’s no other home for it, used for large batches of homemade broth), small containers that get lost in any cabinet or drawer, extra boxes of tea that never found a home; this used to be another workspace, but now it’s home for things that have no other home

    Most used appliances live on cart shelves: food processor, mini food processor, coffee grinder; other appliances (stand mixer and blender) live in basement; one cart has basket with liquor (most used in cooking: Marsala, Madeira, Vermouth, brandy, cognac); carts also hold cutting boards (2 large plastic, 2 small plastic, 2 wood), various large pans, kitchen scale, picnic basket with plastic plates, bowls, & cups, extra dishtowels, paper napkins, lunch bag for work, cookbook holder, thermos, small mortar & pestle

  4. posted by Kenneth in Virginia on

    Over the years, I’ve seen kitchens in every size and shape. I can even remember a kitchen in a bungalow-style house that had lots of counter space as well as cabinet space, yet was still a tiny kitchen. The breakfast nook was another room. And at the same time, I’ve seen very large kitchens with zero counter and cabinet space. They used a separate piece of furniture (called a kitchen cabinet) and managed very well with that. Our kitchen is somewhere in the middle. Unfortunately (from my perspective), it is cluttered because it is a living working space. And we manage very well that way. But we also store things in the basement and in other rooms so that items used less often aren’t in the way. Because everyone’s kitchen, family size and cooking habits are different, you ultimately have to work out your own solution to the problems that you have, if any.

  5. posted by Jessi on

    We have a decent amount of counter space, but I like to keep it neat. From left to right around the kitchen, there is:

    Dish drain rack (we do not have a dishwasher)
    Dish soap, hand soap, dish sponge inside a seashell (all on sink)
    trivet, salt & pepper, timer (on window ledge)
    sugar jar
    coffee pot
    toaster oven
    basket with fruit/bread
    stoneware pitcher with utensils
    Salt & pepper, mortar & pestle – on back of stove
    decorative crate containing cooking oils/sauces/spices
    (on top of crate) knife block, teas, candle
    2 cookbooks
    wine rack

    Sounds like a lot, but I did list literally everything.

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