1. Olive Oil
Keeping olive oil on the counter near the stove is one of the most common mistakes we see. Sure, it’s convenient to just grab the bottle when you need it, but heat and exposure to direct light can affect the quality of the oil and make it spoil faster. Of course, the same rule applies to other types of oil, as well as vinegar and sauces. It’s best to keep all of these ingredients in a dark cool place, so just move them into the kitchen pantry or a kitchen cabinet.
2. Dish soap and sponges
The kitchen sponge is one of the most germ-ridden items in the entire house. Surely, you wouldn’t want to keep it close to your food. Still, many people do precisely that, storing the kitchen sponge as well as the dish soap on the counter next to the sink.
Speaking of dish soap - don’t forget that dish detergent is a chemical substance that shouldn’t come in contact with food or be ingested and please don’t keep it near food. The best place for storing dish soap, disinfectant, and kitchen sponges is in a cabinet underneath the sink.
Like olive oil, spices are very sensitive to heat and direct light and will lose their flavor and aroma faster when stored near the stovetop or exposed to direct light. As Stephanie Bostic, Ph.D., a food safety expert told Reader’s Digest, “light, and heat from sunlight or cooking surfaces, can degrade the flavors faster than if you store them in a cool, dark place.”
Therefore, it’s a much better idea to move the spices rack into the pantry or a kitchen cabinet, right next to other common cooking ingredients like oil and vinegar, for convenience.
4. Papers and letters
Nothing gives off an impression of a cluttered and messy kitchen more than a countertop riddled with newspapers, bills, junk mail, and random notes. And that’s only half of the problem, as all these papers also seem to attract spills like a magnet, and then you have to deal with the additional headache of drying them and hoping that the bills and letters are still legible and don’t look too terrible.
Instead, we recommend reserving a drawer for papers only if you must keep them in the kitchen. Or even better - move the papers to a spill-free zone like the desk.
No one argues that keeping knives on the counter saves a lot of time and a knife block looks quite prominent and fancy. However, there are several issues with it, too. First and foremost, it’s a safety hazard for the little ones, as keeping knives on the counter also means that they’re within the reach of kids.
In a home with kids, it’s best to keep knives in a drawer with a lock. In addition, a large block can look bulky, take up a lot of space, and it’s also quite difficult to clean, so it might not be the best choice in homes without kids as well.
6. Coffee and tea jars
It’s fashionable to buy decorative matching canisters for coffee, tea, and sugar these days and display them on the kitchen counter. And while it can look quite pretty, they also get dirty very quickly when you’re storing them in the same place you’re preparing food, so keeping them on the counter isn’t such a great idea.
In addition, they can take up a great deal of room, so it’s a much better solution to display them on a kitchen shelf. This way, they will still be accessible and make a beautiful display piece but they won’t be such a mess to maintain.
7. Snacks and sweets
Sometimes, easy access isn’t a very good thing. When it comes to snacks and sweet treats, the more visible they are, the more likely you are to notice and eat them. So it only makes sense that it’s in our best interest to keep junk food as far away from the counter as possible. In fact, keeping all the foods you’d like to limit in less accessible places like a high shelf in the panty is a great way to keep cravings and temptations at bay.
8. Electronic devices
Electronic devices are so convenient that you might be tempted to bring them into the kitchen to follow a recipe, listen to some music, or even watch the news while cooking or cleaning. Alas, very few of them are truly waterproof and all of them are pretty tough to clean, and all this obviously clashes with the damp and steamy kitchen environment.
Look, we’re not saying that bringing your devices into the kitchen is completely off-limits, but we’d still like to point out that keeping them on the same counter you cook is not the best idea. Instead, place the laptop, smartphone, or smart speaker in a place where water and spills never occur.
9. Kitchen appliances you don’t use daily
Kitchen appliances are a tricky subject, and choosing the ones you should keep on the counter will really depend on your personal habits. Most people prefer to store the coffee maker and an electronic kettle on the counter because they use them every day, and that’s a good general rule of thumb. But if you’re not a huge coffee drinker, you may actually prefer to put the coffee machine away.
Likewise, if you cook and bake practically every day, you may want to keep the stand mixer on the counter, which wouldn’t be such a good idea for those who only bake occasionally. You get the picture - put all the appliances you use regularly front and center and move the ones you don’t use that often in the cabinets or pantry. This is guaranteed to save you a lot of precious counter space and will make your kitchen look neater, too.
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