Kitchen counters that are devoid of any useful items, and have on them only a bowl of perfectly ripe oranges and a vase of colorful hydrangeas are certainly gorgeous, but I've found that having completely clean and clear kitchen counters is unrealistic in my house. There is stuff we need to use in our everyday lives that is simply more convenient to keep out on the countertops.
The clutter and ugliness of it all does get to me sometimes and I feel like I'm always seeking a way to streamline the messy counters. In an effort to really pare down, clean, and organize over the holiday break, I think I found a happy medium. On our kitchen counters now are only those items/small appliances that we tend to use everyday, plus some food items, and a jar of fresh flowers. I've made the things we keep out as pretty as I can by putting them in nice containers and arranging them in a simple way. I decanted items like protein powder and coffee beans so they look more like decor than bags of marketing. As I walk through the kitchen now, I feel lighter and not as weighed down as I did before. It's a nice change.
As I was removing the Christmas decor in the kitchen and going through and cleaning/purging/organizing the drawers and cabinets, I started to go deeper into analyzing what we need and what can go. As I let go of things we no longer use, were duplicate or broken, or just didn't belong, more empty space was created. We do have a large kitchen with lots of storage, so that helps tremendously when it comes to putting things out of sight. I remember the apartments I used to live in where there wasn't much of an option for where to put things and there was barely enough counter space to prep food on! In that situation, I had to be creative and work with what I had at the time.
Here, I didn't have a crazy amount of things on the counters before, but for instance, on the left side of the counter beside the stovetop, I used to keep a bunch of cutting boards and our knife block. I didn't really think about it, that's just where they lived. The top drawer had a knife organizer for our extra knives that the block didn't hold and I realized I could fit all of the knives in it.
The bottom drawer of the island was also newly emptied and large enough to hold our cutting boards, so there they went. It's a logical place for them too because I always use them on the island for food prep.
On the right side of the stove, I only kept out the olive oil, salt and pepper, and kitchen utensils. The other oils and seasonings were put in the pantry or in the upper cabinet. The ceramic tool holder is from Williams Sonoma and is great because it has a wide mouth, great for holding lots of tools. I keep the wooden and white plastic spatulas in one holder, and the black and silver in the other.
Grocery store flowers add inexpensive beauty. Two bunches cut short fit perfectly in this mercury glass candle holder.
Although I could have went more extreme and put the fruit and veggies in the pantry, I like having the visual reminder to eat fresh, healthy food. I peel the stickers off the apples when I bring them home from the store and then wash them so they are grab and go. They are stored in a rustic dough bowl that I found at our local holiday market.
At the kitchen sink, I keep out my dish soap, hand soap, and the sponges I use throughout the day. Having them under the sink would be neater, but realistically, I'd be bending over and opening the door a million times a day, so I'd rather keep them handy. I refill my cute soap bottles with inexpensive soap too.
I do a lot of dishes by hand and put out a drying mat that is kept in a drawer- as opposed to leaving it out, which is what I used to do. It's not photographed, but you'll also normally see a dishtowel laying near the sink.
The espresso machine is obviously getting used daily so it and all the accouterments need to be close at hand. I keep them tidy on a small wooden cutting board. Raw sugar is pretty in a mason jar and packets are kept in a white ceramic bowl. Decanting the beans also makes them look better and stay fresher.
The island is staying clear. I even removed the cookbooks that were on the island shelves. Some are in the pantry, I'm rereading three right now for new healthy ideas, and some were given to friends.
Since adding a "drop zone" in our entryway, the counters below the white dishes have been kept cleaner. Now, I just have the toaster, bread basket, and a spot to charge our phones and iPads. When the charger isn't in use, I keep it in the top middle drawer. (Did you spy the little boy sock on the stairs? :)
On the adjacent side is the breakfast, snack, and smoothie bar. The giant Vitamix blender stays out because we use it daily and, again, it's easier to just keep it out.
Decanted are the big bag of protein powder, nuts, and my oatmeal premixed so I just have to add water and heat it up. Total lifesaver in the mornings.
I keep the daily vitamins out too so that we remember to take them. They are sitting on a Stella & Dot jewelry display tray. I've learned not to put my daily gummy mulitvitamin in my vitamin holder because they dry out and get hard, hence the bottle. The other bottles of vitamins I take are in the top drawer and I just refill my holder weekly.
These clean and clear kitchen counters have paved the way for other rooms in my home. In the dining room, wet bar, and entryway all decor has been removed and I'm just letting the spaces breathe for all of January. I'm sure I'll have some ideas for Spring decor soon enough, but for now, this is a fresh start for the new year- a definite blank slate!
How's the cleaning and organizing coming at your house since the holidays?
See more of my ORGANIZATION posts here.