Kitchen counters are a lot like desks: they’re both flat work spaces that tend to attract clutter. As with desks, the approach to countertops is pretty much split down the middle: there are those who find it comforting and handy to keep things out and those who prefer a clear-space approach. Usually you’ll find the former married to the latter. This is just the way things work.
While I’ve struggled to develop clear-desk habits, I’ve always liked a clear counter. I find I can’t cook—or don’t want to—if the counter feels crowded. Meanwhile Alpay, who keeps a perfectly clear desk, likes everything out in the kitchen—napkins, plastic wrap, waffle iron—on the precept that why put it away when you’re just going to pull it out anyway?
Recently, we reached a détente whereby I agree to keep out certain often-used basics like coffee, tea, and a row of pantry condiments, while Alpay has agreed we really don’t need to keep a month’s supply of mineral water within reach. Because we don’t have the space to keep everything out-of-sight, I found new homes for the various serving dishes that tend to collect on top of the refrigerator and used the space instead to line up our large supply bottles for a next-best solution that’s attractive and functional.