What Do You Have Out on Your Kitchen Counters?

Updated on August 06, 2011
M.M. asks from Santa Monica, CA
29 answers

Ok need help. I feel like my kitchen counter tops are crowded yet I have taken so many things off & put them away.
I, currently, only have a 4 piece toaster, coffee pot, Kichenaid mixer (no room underneath), drying rack for some hand washed item which I sometimes put away, hubby's big tray for mail, papers we need, change, extra keys...he needs to have it out, computer hook-up-thingy and tall 3 tower fruit basket.
HELP! What do you have out?
I have pared down greatly and put things away but what else can I do?

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answers from Iowa City on

I have a cookie jar with no cookies in it, a coffee pot, a glass bowl holding tea bags, a plant, a fruit bowl, a blender, a toaster, a utensil holder, and olive oil decanter thingy, two teapots and a few little decorative items on my kitchen counters. My china cabinet is all junked up with art supplies, my 4 year old's artistic endeavors, mail, paperwork, etc and the top of my fridge is junked up with cookbooks and recipes. I don't know what you could do besides maybe getting a filing cabinet and a key rack. Go through the mail every Sunday and get rid of anything you don't need. Put the important items in the filing cabinet or in a big folder. If you don't use the mixer very often, store it somewhere else (garage, hall closet, basement) and go get it when needed.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Charging station (where all the keys, pens and mail goes

Coffee Pot


Hand soap

Fruit if no room in basket on table

You need to get rid of anything you don't use on a daily basis. Put it in the basement or even in a closet away from the area if there is no room in a closer place. Get it out when you need it. Out of sight, out of mind.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Coffee maker, microwave, knives. Nothing else. I hate clutter. I put shelves in my laundry room, which is off the kitchen, to keep the rest of the appliances on.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Los Angeles on

Do you have a file or cabinet for papers? I would get the papers/ keys/ change off the counters and into a drawer or rack near the kitchen or door. The fruit basket sounds cute!

I have a bread machine and a drying rack on my counter. I have issues with clutter on my counters!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Starting on the left...a small file box that holds 3 binders (my FlyLady Flight Manual, a kids binder and my coupon binder), 23 (yes that's 23!) cookbooks and cooking magazines, a candy jar that hold my B. rice, a toaster, a bread basket, 16 bottles of booze (which we have to lock up - teenagers around), and a spot for my drying pots and pans. That's one counter.

On the other, a small canister of wooden spoons and spatulas, hubby's daily supplements, my cookbook stand with our family recipe binder, a magic bullet, food scale, my late MILs recipe card box, a block of steak knives, salt, pepper, powdered sugar shaker, a tray with my cooking oils and vinegars, and three cutting boards. On the other side of my stove is the microwave.

I keep the stand mixer and food processor in a cabinet under the counters and have 2 sets of shelving in the garage for things like baking pans (I have almost 50 cake pans), cookie cutters, a bread machine, serving platters, etc.

If I were you, I would fine somewhere else for the stand mixer. If you don't use it weekly, get it out of there - another cabinet, another room, whatever. I'm an avid baker and there's no reason for someone who doesn't use a stand mixer almost daily to waste counter space on it. In my other house, I kept the mixer in the mudroom.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

nothing except the coffee machine and a tea kettle. can't stand clutter. our mail gets dealt with daily, the keys go in the key bowl, change in the change bowl on my dreser, computer hook up thingy would go in the drawer near the compure marked skype etc. I keep the fruit in the crisper. we don't hand wash (don't have drying rack). our toaster and mixer are in cupboards as they get put away nightly.

My neighbor who is a neat freak tells me she got so inscenced with her husbands clutter, that she made a rule, if its left out, it gets thrown out. It is applied indiscriminantly. fixed the clutter problem real fast.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Coffee maker
Canister with "kitchen tools"
Toaster oven

Everything else is in a cabinet, the pantry or in the basement. If you don't need to have the mixer out all of the time, put it in a closet until you need it. Fruit can go in a bowl on your table (or it can go in the fridge). Your husband's "stuff" needs a better place... maybe a small desk in the living room or a small baker's rack in the kitchen? "Work things" don't belong in the kitchen! Install shelves if you need to have baskets and bins- get them off of your counter!


answers from Spokane on

On the island we have the laptop and napkin/salt/pepper holder.
Counter near the sink is a folder dish towel, hand soap and lotion, small coffee pot and espresso machine.
Counter near the stove a moose cookie jar, my hubby's meds, a large fruit bowl with fruit and a small wine rack. Near the fridge is a small stack of papers/mail that I need to go through and do something with.



answers from Los Angeles on

I have:
Electric jug
Coffee maker
Vintage three stack cake and cookie tin
Tea caddy
Sugar bowl
Brass bell (???)
Fruit basket
Computer wifi stuff
Double deep fryer
Cutting boards
Knife block
Pepper mill
I think i need to clear up.


answers from Minneapolis on

We have a super skinny counter between the fridge and stove and the 4pc toaster fits perfectly there (and not visible from the entry which I like...).

The other side is long-ish area with the sink in the middle (but not a big kitchen at all). I have a coffee maker in the left-side corner with a very small mail slot thing that I have tried to live without but it has a clipboard and daycare papers and little slips I use daily (all of the other paper and pen sort of stuff is in the drawer under that area). I just got a Kitchen Aid mixer 2 weeks ago for my anniversary, and its in the right hand corner. Thats it. I have a deep window with a few small little cutsy things (a pirate rubber ducky...a rock my mom made to look like a cottage...very cool! and a salt dough sheep with a funky hat on it my teenager made...usually a few tomatoes and peppers sitting there too!). All the rest is always clear at the end of my daycare work day...and as clear during the day as I can manage.

We have a small freestanding (IKEA) center island that we added a stainless top on to (it was butcher block..well still is under the stainless!). There is never anything on it when its not being used as workspace. It has 3 big drawers for things like bread, recipe books, towels and one for just daycare dishes, bottles cups and silverware. All the colorful stuff in one place to use for a houseful of kids!

My whole house (all but my daycare playroom) is like this. No clutter. Streamlined, contemporary, little chaos, things behind cabinet doors (we had many made by a cabinet-maker pal for all over the house). Its what works for us!



answers from Boston on

My toaster, blender, coffe maker and my bread machine. You could get one og those hanging fruit baskets I've seen 3 tiered ones, maybe some type of organizer for keys, change, mail, etc would take up less space than having something o hold each individual category.


answers from Biloxi on

Oh Good Gosh, I have everything out on my kitchen counters....let's see looking around, I have....

electric wok that will not fit in a cabinet
Crock pot - ditto
plastic utensils box that I grab from for work
tylenol b'c I just took some
water bottles
a bubble bottle
a drain rack for dishes
a coffee pot
cheerios box b'c if I put it in the pantry my teen son will not be able to find it for breakfast
Oh, and currently a cat drinking out of my tylenol water cup!!

Guess I need to get off the computer and clean the kitchen.
Thanks - not!!!




answers from Roanoke on

A coffee maker, a coffee grinder, a 75 lb espresso machine, an espresso grinder, a timer for both grinders, a knock box, utensil holder for various espresso items, a fruit bowl, olive oil/vinegar/salt/pepper holders, and a clay pot for garlic.

My kitchen is really a cafe at heart. :)


answers from Kalamazoo on

Do you have space on top of your cabinets? If so I would put the mixer there or in a closet or basement - how often do you use it? Maybe look for something to put on the wall to organize incoming mail, important papers needed for the week, mail to go out, key hooks etc? A nice ceramic (small) bowl/container can be used for change.
I keep my microwave, toaster, coffee pot and dish rack (unless company is expected) out on my counters.


answers from Houston on

toaster oven only...on one counter, on another a lazy susan with spices, vinegars and oils that sit next to my range, then a cuisanart,knive holder and a microwave. On my sink counter i have a drain board and a towel to dry delicate pieces (no dishwasher)....then i have a wine rack with a granite top, i keep my food processor and electric wine opener and airator there.

basically if i DONT use it at least once a week i keep it put away.


answers from Washington DC on

I can not stand anything on my counter. If I could, it would be completly bare. Nothing on it at all. But, we do have a small toaster, a banana hanger thingy, a rice cooker (my husbands) and the microwave, Oh and knife set. But, that's all and I feel like it's way too crowded. I have hardly any counter space though. I maybe have about 2 ft by 2 ft of open space to work with when I cook.


answers from Dallas on

toaster, coffee pot, canisters, big glass jars of pasta, rice, sugar, and flour. decorative bottles of olive oil, and vinegar. Cook books. Drying rack and a little sponge, dish soap caddy.



answers from Chicago on

Microwave, coffeepot that will be put away as soon as my daughter leaves for college, dish drying rack, spray bottle with vinegar water for cleaning, cd player, candle, wooden spoon basket, salt and pepper shakers, olive oil bottle....I think that is all. I am afraid to look and see what else!!



answers from Albuquerque on

We have a Kitchenaid mixer because it's too heavy to lift all the time, a coffee pot because we use it daily, a fruit bowl, and a drying rack. That's it. The toaster is in a cabinet, and mail/papers/keys are in another room. I would suspect you'll feel a TON better if you can get rid of the non-kitchen stuff - the computer hook up, papers, keys, etc.


answers from San Antonio on

(I'm currently building, so I have no counters right now).
But when I did have counters, on it I had:
- toaster oven
- microwave
- big container for soup spoons, ladels, spatulas
- paper towel holder
- coffee maker
- fruit basket
- knife block
- cutting boards
- 409 kitchen spray
- one tray with 3 dividers for keys, rings, change, husbands wallet

I guess I had enough room in certain spots of the kitchen, but I know what you're saying about the clutter. It can get annoying! I would say the drying rack takes up so much room! Why not just lay a towel out each time you have to hand-wash something? That was it's easy and quick to clean up. Can the mixer go in the pantry? Do you use the toaster? We used our toaster OVEN every day, but don't even own a toaster.



answers from Tampa on

Its Because you are limited with space. Can you fit an island in the kitchen? Hang your pots on the pot rack for extra room in your kitchen cabinets. Sorting mail right away works, can you pay your bills online or through automated set up? Have filing cabinet, folder or one drawer just for your papers inside folders. Mark the folders: bills, urgent, etc. Extra keys in the key tray or key hanger, The folded drying rack you can just fold and put away. The fruit basket, can you place it on the table? I'm embarresed to admit, my kitchen counters are empty. Due to lots of cabinet space, walk in pantry and a kitchen island and everything has its own space. It's exusting putting everything away after each use, but it makes it worth it.



answers from Savannah on

On the right side of the stove, the counter has 6 canisters (brown rice, cereal, flour, etc) and a cookie jar. They were a cute matching set. On the left side of the stove: the banana hanger and a fruit bowl, the thing with all the knives, and the thingy you put your spoon on while cooking. The 2 diagonal bits by the sink are bare so I have "room" to do dishes and stuff (except for the soaps, sponge, brush, and a paper towel stand), and the island is bare. The left of the sink has a toaster, electric tea kettle, and a little thing that hangs 6 coffee cups (which we use for the tea). The separate counter section....that is always bare except for a little bin that I drop receipts in, and a glass jar for change, and what I put grocery bags on when I come in from shopping. Sounds like a lot, but we have a lot of counter space. Unfortunately, it is a daily battle to keep my bar cleared off. It seems to be the "catch all" for all the daily junk and I've taken to clearing it off once every evening instead of 15 times a day. I think all houses have that one "evil" spot.



answers from Jackson on

Let's see. I have my microwave, a homemade cookie jar, a big box of milkbones. Next is the range top and my prep sink. There a couple of sponges by the sink. Then a long empty space and then my breadbox, the 4 slice toaster, can opener and the 4 canisters. After that there are some pans that were washed last night and were not put away, the double sink and the dish drainer. On my island is the garbage can. LOL Dumb place but the dogs simply wont leave it alone! Don't even ask about our bar! It is the catch-all! Then we have a ledge that is by the stairs that currently has drawers from a cabinet where my new dishwasher is 'currently' being installed. (It has been in process since the 4th of July). My kitchen needs attention too! Luckily I have miles of countertops. It is the biggest reason we bought this house.



answers from New York on

I prefer my coutertop cleared off but alas it is just not possible. ;-(

Currently I have the coffee pot, rack for drying dishes and two of those tiered shelves (1 on the right of the sink and the other on the left - they help keep the things that don't fit into the cabinet organized like the extra seasonings, cooking oils, assorted vinegars, honey, baking powder, baking soda and vanilla extract), the blender, and plastic rubbermaid cereal containers and the coffee grinder.

I guess if I could find a place for the blender other than the countertop. It would free up some unused space.



answers from Oklahoma City on

Cookbooks (on the counter, against the wall), spice rack, knife rack, electric can opener, a candle, blender, small coffee maker, container that holds my cooking spoons, a 4-bottle wine rack, a very small picture, a very small knick-knack with a clock on it, and frequently, a cat.

It sounds like your counter space doubles as a sort of desk area. Any way you can relocate the mail, papers, computer hook-up-thingy?


answers from Dallas on

Toaster oven, blender, two sets of ustensils, pasta container, coffee pot, an enclosed wooden box with drawers and doors for postage, return labels etc, a decorative jar with dog treats, air purifier, water purifier, candles, some pictures, knives, a basket for fruit, phone, cell phone charger, and a little clutter. There is a bar separating the kitchen from the hall and den. Some of those things are on it. The cabinets are full and I have an overhead hanger for pots and pans.



answers from San Antonio on

I have the dish drainer, convection oven, a decorative pitcher that holds cooking utensils, and knife block on my counter. My kitchen is very small. My entire counter space measures 3 1/2' x 2'. When I need more space for cooking I set the dish drainer in the kitchen sink or in the bathroom sink.

When I had more counter space I also had the coffee pot, toaster, canisters, and microwave out. I got rid of those things when we moved to this house.

Oh, how I miss having counter space! And cabinets, but that is a whole other issue :-)


answers from St. Louis on

I have a microwave, bottles, formula container, wire basket full of sippy cups, misc bottle pieces and lids, and papers galore! I can't see to keep my counter-tops cleaned off. I hate it. It makes me feel like my kitchen is smaller than what it really is.


answers from Provo on

I am lucky to have lots of counterspace. I keep it clean, but I do have several things permanently out:
-several plants
-ipod charger/speakers (functions as a stereo
-cookie jar
-knife block
-fruit bowl
-coffee maker and grinder
-soap dispenser
-a few decorative plates

It sounds like you are working with a smaller space. Here is what I would suggest:
Get a hanging organizer for the keys and mail. They have cute ones at Pottery Barn or Amazon.com. Many have hooks to hang your keys on. Additionally, I learned (from a wonderful Mamapedia mama!) to always sort your mail above the garbage can or recycling bin (or shredder). Do this right as you brig the mail in. This helps SO MUCH with preventing clutter. I immediately put coupons I will use in my coupon organizer, bills to pay in the bill folder, stuff I must keep in the filing cabinet, and the rest in recycle/shred.
You could consider getting a 2 piece toaster if you don't make toast that often, it would give you more space.
The rest sounds like stuff you will probably use daily... If I use it daily, it may as well be left out. Good luck!

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