Kitchen Counter Organization: 8 Pretty Ways to Keep Your Counters Clear
In this post: If you care about kitchen organization and you’d like your counters to be clear, these kitchen counter organization tips are just for you.⇒
I’m a zero inbox girl.
I don’t keep lots of unread emails, there’s nothing on my closet floor and my kitchen counters are always clear.
When I walk into my mother-in-law’s house, I’m always amazed at the little pile she keeps in the corner of her kitchen counter. It’s a curious melange of cake, bread, coffee and newspapers. It could be your breakfast table at a diner! This from a woman whose home is otherwise spotless. I will never understand the notion of keeping food out on the counters.
My theory is if you have room to keep the bread on the counter you have room to put a container there to hold it.
Kitchen Counter Organization
I’m about to embark on a kitchen organization project, but before I get to the pantry and cabinets, I thought I would share with you how I organize my counters. These 8 pretty little vintage items can help take the pressure off of pantry storage by providing an appropriate place to store things, while maintaining a decorative look.
(I’ve since completed the pantry which you can see HERE. You can also see the under sink organized HERE.)
Let’s start with the silver footed compote bowl above, because this is my favorite little secret. I keep it at the end of the bar counter, so it’s raised high enough that you can’t see inside of it without bending over it.
Yep, there’s the mess inside. It’s that pile of things that you grab and use on a daily basis so you like to keep them at arm’s length. It usually includes our headphones and chargers, plus the converter I use to upload my photos. It also often holds the things hubby empties from his pockets when he comes home, instead of dropping them on the counter.
What I love most about using this bowl, besides it keeping the counter clear, is that I always know where to find my headphones and converters. These are typically the types of things that tend to get lost and having a designated spot that I *always* put them back in is key to staying organized.
Another treasure is the French canister set, a new addition to our kitchen. The whole purpose of counter storage is to supplement the pantry, and keeping often used items here is also a convenience. For this reason, I ignore what it says on the canister and store the items I prefer here. The set is there to serve me, so being a stickler about what the label says is pointless. Three of these hold coffee pods (2 regular and 1 decaf), one keeps stirrers and one contains sweetener packets. So far, the little one at the end is empty, but I know it won’t stay that way.
I use a vintage silver champagne bucket as my utensil holder. It’s another counter item that helps me on a daily basis.
I love the look of antique pieces and the character they add to my new white kitchen. They lend it personality and a unique identity. I enjoy contrasting worn patina against polish and glimmer, and the pairing of the rugged bread board against the stately bucket embodies this interesting mix.
Of course I had to have a bread box, which actually holds bread! It’s brimming with charm and is the one item that corrals the biggest offenders to clear counters. It’s big enough to hold bread, buns and a few random bakery goods.
The vintage tea tin is another all time fave and it holds… you guessed it… tea!
I’m a huge fan of Dundee marmalade jars and they can offer a place to store a variety of things, from spreaders to forks, and straws and more.
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I keep artisan oils near the stove on a pretty silver bread tray. Once again, they are something I use every single day and the proximity to where they are used, can’t be beat.
Finally, a pretty crystal bowl is perfect to hold fruit. I’ve seen so many people keep bananas directly on the counter and I scratch my head every time at the missed opportunity for a decorative holder.
Once you get in the habit of keeping things in pretty containers, you won’t consider tossing items directly on the counter. Now, as for that cluttered email inbox… you’re on your own!
To get the look, click on the items below for direct links to the products. Where actual items were no longer available, I’ve provided similar options. If an item is out of stock but may be restocked, I left it on the list.
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If the pieces above are sold out, you can find more at the links below:
Canister set | Champagne bucket | Bread box | Tea caddy | Marmalade jar | Silver footed bowl | Silver tray | Glass bowl
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Your organization tips are my favorite posts. Thank you for sharing!
Thank you, Barbara! Expect to see a lot more of these… 🙂
Love the canisters! I’m looking forward to your pantry organizing tips. I have a walk-in pantry and it needs serious cleaning and organizing. I hate tackling something so big and will benefit from your guidance and motivation. Take care. XOXO
Thanks, Cecilia! I actually started the pantry a few weeks ago and cleaned it out, but before I had a chance get the containers I wanted to keep it that way, the holidays came and people “helping me” put things away, un-did everything I had worked on, so back to the drawing board. I will get to it soon, though… 😉
All is lovely – I too have that type of bread box and am thankful everyday for it! Just a little concern about the silver and oils on the stove – that someone – even me- might happen to turn on a burner –
Now about those e-mails, …aargh! I don’t think there’s any hope for me – tho I’ve finally dealt with my issue of never throwing out any paper with print on it – does that mean there might be hope for the e-mails?
Thank you and no need to be concerned! I put them there for the photo because it was lighter than on the counter under the cabinets, but I usually keep them next to the stove… 🙂
Oh, and yes, there’s definitely hope for your emails. One day I’ll get that post done, too… 😉
Oh, Lori — like minds, etc. I keep my cooking utensils in a silver pitcher next to the cooktop and have a trio of McCoy planters to corral keys, gym passes & spare glasses. The latter sits in one of the cubbies beside back door). I keep olive oil, kosher salt, a brass pepper grinder from France, etc. in a simple shaker tray. I love finding ways to make organization useful and pretty. I look forward to your pantry.
Oooh, sounds like you’ve got some pretty ideas there! Yep, pantry coming soon. See reply to Cecilia above… 😉
TINS…TINS…AND MORE TINS! ENGLISH TINS..FRENCH TINS…COPPER, BRASS, SILVER TINS! I LOVE TINWARE AND ALL ITS USES, THE MORE FLORAL THE BETTER. I JUST HAVEN’T FOUND THE TIN I STASHED SOMEWHERE WITH MY EXTRA TIME IN IT! I’M ALWAYS RUNNING OUT OF TIME AND CAN’T SEEM TO LOCATE THAT TIN! =) Happy to know others also stash the “not want to be seen” items in beautiful containers, even if they are repurposed for a different use (ie. champagne buckets for utensils) and can also be multipurposed for its original or other uses as well. Love the post today! Blessings, Allison
Thank you, Allison! And please, when you find that tin, please count me in!!!
I think I might be your older sister from another mother. I have most of these items in use in my kitchen because I can’t stand clutter everywhere. My husband says that I always spend my time organizing to be organized. It is probably true. I want everything to have a place. I also don’t use my canister set for what they are supposed to be used for, but I know what is in each one. Downsizing to a new home I will have to be super organized. You have given me a couple of new ideas. Can’t wait for your pantry ideas. I will be going from a very large walk in to a narrow much smaller one and am concerned because I love to cook and have a lot of special pans etc.
Ah, yes, the pans! That’s a whole other issue, which for me is in my cabinets, but I’ll be getting to those too. First I need to clean up all the papers, photos and memorabilia sitting in my living room that I brought over from my parents’ house. Then the pantry is next… 😉 Stay tuned!
I love your ideas. I hate clutter also!
Thanks, Debbie!! There will be more coming soon!
Thank you for this great post. I’m going through boxes that have been in storage too long. I also have things that belonged to my parents. I can’t handle things on the counter either. My sweet hubby likes things where they can be reached, although I must add he is other wise very neat. You can tell whose bath sink is whose. I have a crystal tray with two perfumes where he had his shaving mirror, shaving cream, deodorant hairspray, soap, several towels on cabinets, and more. After sharing this counter with me a while he started putting things away. I never said a word..it can happen.
Omg, I completely understand!! Same thing here! Hubby is relatively neat compared to other people, but he, too, likes to keep certain things out. I just don’t get it. It often seems arbitrary. Like he loves to put his baseball cap on my garden cherub by the front entry. But the closet is *right there*! He also keeps his keys on the table, an inch from the little decorative box I bought for exactly that purpose. It drives me nuts and I always put them back in the box… lol.
What an inspiring post! Thank you for just the right encouragement.
I’m so glad it resonated with you!!
This is the exact post that makes my counter top corner tier so impressive. I am able to keep my butter, salt, pepper and cinnamon sugar close at hand and organized. I also have one on my coffee bar for cups, sugar and creamers. If you would like to share I can be found at TheCornerTier on Etsy. My husband built what I wanted after I was unable to find a space saving design that would work for me.
Be still my heart! This is absolutely my favorite type of post! Being organized makes my heart happy. Before retiring, I was a freshman academic advisor at Clemson University. 18 y.o’s are very needy and love to email. Hundreds of emails would appear overnight, usually followed up with “why haven’t you answered yet?”. UMMm…you emailed me at 2 AM! Read, answer, delete is the way to go.
Haha! I love that!! And yes, I need order or I can’t function… 🙂
I love this post. I consider myself fairly organized, BUUUUUT, I had my email so organized with folders for each client…when I was working. Now retired, my email program doesn’t allow for efficient division of subjects. I need to hold onto a lot of business emails, but can’t do it. I’m even willing to change email programs; I’m that desperate.
Oh, yes, I must have my folders. I would quake without them… 😉
I notice that you use a lot of silver and it always looks polished and beautiful. I have a lot of silver and would love to use it that way, but where I live on the coast, my silver tarnishes very quickly. How do you keep yours looking so nice?
Thank you! I think by keeping it out and using it, it tarnishes less. Or maybe I just see it more often and so clean it frequently. But also, I actually like a bit of tarnish in the recesses. As long as the rest is clean and shiny, I like some dark bits in the crevices.
Any ideas for pretty paoer towel holders?
I love Michael Aram’s. It’s in this post: https://designthusiasm.com/white-kitchen-remodel/
Here’s the direct link: https://rstyle.me/+8CkLkeeokobdczm2e_YBXw
I really love this post! You have such unique ideas on using these items that make for a great look! A real inspiration! Thank you
So glad you felt inspired!!
Lovely ideas! However, I feel sorry for your mother in law when you visit her home.Judgemental. Maybe Sometimes people enjoy seeing their stuff out. It maybe comforting to them. Not everyone can be typeA or finicky housekeepers. Unfortunately, not everyone is a neat freak, nevertheless people do try. No one wants people to visit their home and hear people complaining, especially when you’re not the one that has to live there and pay the mortgage and other bills. People do try. Speaking for the clutter underdogs. Enjoy people’s company (feeling). We are not on this earth forever.😉
I think you’re reading something into this that wasn’t said. I very clearly stated, “This from a woman whose home is otherwise spotless.” I’m talking about a small pile in the corner of the counter that is in distinct contrast to the rest of the house. Hardly a judgement of my mother-in-law but rather an observation of a curious anomaly in her home. I also clearly stated that the same space could be used to house a container to hold the items. I’ve never visited her home and complained to her.
The post was about clear counters. I used this as an illustration. It would be pointless to say go ahead and keep all your clutter on the counters. The given is that people are entitled to do that. But if they prefer that, then they don’t need to read my post about organizing your counters.
We must be twins on design ideas! I too love the plastic clear bins and the baskets. My unsolved problem is how to store the big bags of popcorn and potato chips, which invariably end up on my desk thanks to my husband. Your creative management of the grocery bags may work for the chips and popcorn as well. Thanks.
My solution to the chips dilemma is to buy very few and keep them in a rattan basket at the top of the pantry closet (in fact, right next to the grocery bags… ;-)). We do always have the flat pretzels and those I keep in one of the Oxo pop top containers.
I just love all your ideas! You have such a beautiful eye for decorating. I am always inspired after seeing your posts & hope that someday I’ll be better organized -Lord knows I need your posts. I love them all! Thank you so very much for sharing.
Thank you so much for your kind words, Sally!!
I would love to be able to keep my counters totally free, except for a vase of flowers! However, we have a very small kitchen, so many appliances, etc. have to be on the counters. I have opted to make a couple of bookcases in the next room (“dining room”) as storage for other appliances, etc. with their respective extras. Also my various baking pans, and oversize metal mixing bowls on some shelves. 1 bookcase has doors in the middle that hide 2 shelves. On the top shelf and top of bookcase I have decorated as it’s seen plainly. I have 2 lower shelves that I hide with a tension rod and “curtain”. The other bookcase top shelf and top of case are decorated. The rest of the shelves are again, covered with a “curtain” on tension rod. The bottom shelf is sturdy, so holds my Kitchen Aid stand mixer, and my cast iron pans. I had a great toss out of expired foods, enough to clear 3 shelves in a bookcase in my office, and have organized the food in the cabinets where I can see what I have, to avoid buying so many duplicates. YOU have inspired me to do all of this, as well as organize under my kitchen sink. Next I want to tackle my bathroom cabinets and hall closet. This is an old condo with built in wood shelving unfortunately… The final hurdle will be discarding old unwanted photographs and negatives. Those are in a BIG box on our closet floor… Thank you for all your organizational posts, they are very helpful. 🙂
Sounds like you’ve been very creative and resourceful with your solutions! I’m so glad my posts have inspired you. It feels so good to be organized, doesn’t it?