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Water cooler: Neat ways to free up kitchen counter space

Few places in the home get cluttered more quickly than a kitchen counter.  (Shutterstock)
Few places in the home get cluttered more quickly than a kitchen counter. (Shutterstock)

It doesn’t take much before cooking gadgets and utensils overtake your countertop, especially if your kitchen lacks an abundance of cabinet space. Consider these ideas for freeing up a little space and adding more organizational flow to your kitchen.

An over-the-sink drying rack: Whether you have a dishwasher or do all your dishes by hand, a drying rack that hangs over the sink is a great way to keep up on dishes here and there throughout the day, without having to dedicate a portion of your counter. This is also a great option for quickly cleaning delicate dish and glassware, saving room in the sink or dishwasher and lowering risk for breakage. It’s an added bonus if you’re able to find a rack with a built-in utensil caddy, making it easier to quickly wash and set aside those utensils that were only used for a small task like buttering bread or scooping peanut butter. Having a place to wash and dry small items right away also aids in cleaning as you go while making dinner, rather than having to tackle it all at the end.

Countertop shelf: Having a small shelf handy on the counter is a surprisingly effective tool for maximizing your space, especially when it comes to items that make sense to keep handy like salt, pepper, butter and frequently used oils. It doesn’t have to be fancy; any shelf that is at least 5-6 inches high and about 3-4 inches wide is just enough for those small, everyday items. Not only does it add organization to the counter, it’s a great opportunity to function as a decorative piece as well. Go sleek and white for a modern look, or find a small wood shelf for more of a rustic feel.

Magnetic knife strips: Everyone has an opinion on how to store knives, but a magnetic strip is one of the most functional options. It beats a drawer full of loose knives in terms of knife care and it maximizes space compared to a knife block. Knife blocks have their charm, but they eat up counter space fairly quickly and often display knives that aren’t even used every day. A magnet strip keeps your most used knives handy and makes for an innovative use of wall space. It also has a great utilitarian look that can add a professional edge to your kitchen. A magnet strip is also a great way to keep a pair of scissors and a wine key in reach without having to dig through an all purpose kitchen drawer.

Corner shelf: Similar to the countertop shelf, a small corner shelf will bring utility to the little unused corner of your kitchen countertop. This is an awesome way to keep your favorite spices within reach, preventing them from getting lost in the spice cupboard or rack with all the others. It fits conveniently under the cupboards, or if you have a corner without cupboards, opt for a taller option to store cooking utensils and smaller pots or pans.

Wall hooks: Again, using wall space is a fantastic and incredibly inexpensive way to expand your storage options. Kitchen utensils, especially wood and metal ones, have a beauty of their own, and they can easily double as a decorative element. Not only that, but hanging storage is less dependent on a drying rack – instead of letting them sit to dry, you can hang them right up once they aren’t dripping without worrying about them getting musty like they could in a drawer. You can also hang colanders on the wall, which are often guilty of taking up a massive amount of storage. If you have the option to hang heavier duty hooks, you can hang pots and pans as well. This also adds a great professional look to the kitchen and drastically reduces cupboard storage needs. You can hang your most used few on the wall, or go all out with a hanging pot rack shelf to expand storage potential.

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