Clearing Kitchen Counter Clutter

Click the image to go to the post on Delta Faucet’s “Inspired Living” site.

A few months ago, I came home and thought we’d been burgled.

I walked in the door after work, and noticed that everything had been removed from our kitchen counters. Well, not everything — the jar of corks we’ve saved from wine bottles was still there … but even it was in a different spot, on a counter across the room.

“Did the cleaning lady not lock the door behind her?” I wondered, and I walked into the living room to see if the TV was still there. It was … which made even less sense to me. Who would steal an old blender, a tabletop wine opener, a Mr. Coffee, a big-ass cutting board … but not a TV or a computer? Even the steel mesh fruit basket we use to stash recyclable plastic shopping bags was missing.

When I opened the cabinet where we store drinking glasses, I found the jar that holds bottle stoppers … and that’s when I realized we hadn’t been robbed. We’d been tidied.

As I started walking around and opening doors, I found everything stowed in odd places — the wine opener and blender alongside the pots and pans under our gas cooktop, the coffee maker somehow wedged in amid the spices and baking supplies, and the basket of shopping bags under the main sink. Our cleaning lady had apparently tired of moving these stalwart fixtures on every visit, and decided to find them new homes.

“Well, the kitchen does look a lot cleaner,” I said to myself … and then I pulled everything out and started putting them back in their traditional spots. After so many years, how could she not know that a blender wouldn’t go under the stove — it would go in this other cabinet, with the food processors and various other small appliances?

Then I stopped: If it should go in that other cabinet, then why were we leaving it out on the countertop every day?


Our kitchen’s a little cleaner now. Which made it particularly appropriate when I was asked to write a piece about cleaning the clutter off your kitchen counters, and what actually deserved to be there. You can read it here.

Your results may vary. (At Casa Flor, we use the Mr. Coffee machine only occasionally, to make hot water for tea, so there’s no need for it to stay out.) It also depends on how many cabinets you’ve got; space can be at a premium in historic houses with vintage kitchens, which means you’ve got to either purge or make peace with a little clutter.

WHAT SAM WORE: 1/1/16 (happy new year!)
shirt010116 pants010116 shoes010116
The shirt: Lightweight cotton waffle-weave henley, on clearance at Hollister.
The pants: Jeans from Uniqlo, New York.
The shoes: Suede All-Stars, on sale at

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