Day 4: My Countertops are WHAT Color?

Today is Day 4 of the 30 Days to Less Stuff and More Life Challenge. If you want to jump in, go get the book at Amazon, Simple Living – 30 days to less stuff and more life.

If you summed up minimalism in one word, clutter-free would probably be the main word most people used.  My kitchen counters are, indeed, magnets for stuff, and on Day 4, Lorilee challenges us to clear them.

She and I have one thing in common (really, more than one, but for the purpose of this exercise we’ll limit it to one).  We both live in apartments with small kitchens.  After that we diverge somewhat.  She has two children.  I have five.  I don’t have any idea how she cooks, but I cook three meals a day from scratch, as well as freezer cook once a month or so.  Two members of our family are on dietary restrictions.  Three of our children are somewhat independent in the kitchen…as long as they can reach stuff.  I want to keep it that way.  Therefore, I did not completely clear off my counters.  I’ll show you how I adapted the clear surface challenge in pictures.

Counter space between the stove and the refrigerator.

My counter space is divided into four sections.  Section 1 is between the stove and the refrigerator.  I do the majority of my cooking on this side, as you can probably tell from the before-photo.  It’s a little crowded.  I have a glass cutting board, a knife block, a jar of cooking utensils and serving spoons, as well as various ingredients.  Some people just don’t know how to put everything back up when they’re done with it.  Ahem.

The second picture looks so much better, even though I left the cutting board and the knife block in place.  First, that cutting board is heavy and big.  It won’t fit anywhere else.  Second, the knife block has to be kept out of reach of young-ins but within reach of chefs.  I’m short, so it’s not going in the cupboard over my head.

Yes, much cleaner.

My kids think the toaster and cinnamon-sugar shaker are married and must live together.

I exiled the cinnamon-sugar shaker to the cabinet. I hope the toaster isn’t lonely.

Section 2 of my counter space houses my toaster oven, eating utensils, and various incidentals.  We use the toaster oven every single day, so it would be counter-productive to a simple lifestyle to put it away after every use.  In fact, I might hurt someone for putting it up, as if that would ever happen anyway.  At this time, I don’t have a drawer for utensils, so the silverware has to stay on top of the toaster.  I might be able to clean a drawer for it later, but we only have three drawers total, two of which are really narrow.

This is a convenient spot to leave all the clean dishes that the putter-upper can’t reach. Somehow, no one else ever thinks of completing the task.

Section 3 is another small corner next to the sink that serves as a catch-all.  I lay hand-washed dishes here to dry.  Cups that are too tall for the lower shelf end up sitting here because the only person tall enough to put them up without a step-stool never does (hint: it’s not me!).

I was not able to put up everything.  We don’t use the coffee pot everyday, so it could go someplace else…if I had a place.  I might be able to squeeze it under the sink when I get to the chapter on cleaning out old supplies.  For now, it and the paper towel holder will have to stay there.

Finally, my long counter.  This is the dark hole of the universe.  Everything gets trapped here: incoming mail, lunch fixins, school projects, etc.  It doesn’t help that it’s the first flat surface you come to when you walk in the door.  It’s a natural junk reserve.

I didn’t really like that wine rack anyway, so I put the bottles on top of the refrigerator.  I hope that wasn’t part of the horizontal space challenge.  I left the candle and the half-dead Mother’s Day plant.  We use the candle frequently, and I’m holding out hope for the plant.  Pretend you don’t notice the dish rag I forgot to throw in the laundry room.

So, my kitchen is cleaner for today’s challenge.  I like the look of it, but I can’t say for sure that it will stay that way.  Even if things eventually make it back to the counter, it’s all been wiped under.

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