A while back on my personal blog, I shared a connundrum I was having over kitchen laundry. We recently started giving up paper-towels. I was never a huge paper-towel user in the first place, but I was a disposable wipe person and I was getting more and more ashamed at the amount of wipes I was tossing out with the trash and I figured there had to be a better way. Turns out, there is. Having a stash of dish towels in one of our kitchen drawers has revolutionized our kitchen cleaning. Especially with a toddler in the house, spills are planned into our day and now I can rest easy knowing that I am using a much more planet-friendly system of wiping up spills with cloths intead of wipes or paper towels.
That said, we go through a lot of dish cloths in a day. For a while, I was tossing them in a heap next to the door to our basement (you can see them in the pictures below). But that was neither sanitary nor aesthetically pleasing so I was searching for a better solution that wouldn't entail opening up the door to the basement and chucking them down the stairs towards the laundry.
(Bonus – that super awesome mat infront of our sink is actually three 'Finer Things' FLOR tiles!)
I know, I know…I said this was a Monday series…but on Thursdays I like to talk about design from a parent perspective (usually I try to elevate it above the Rorschach-like splatters of food my toddler leaves on the floor) so today I thought I would look at something that has been a major part of my kitchen counter scape for the last 15 months: the bottle rack.
Before I got married, I didn't even know how to make a grilled cheese…I know…ridiculous. Now, three years in, I would consider myself a pretty good cook…this is mostly in part to an unhealthy obsession with cook books but can also be traced to my love of kitchen utensils and gadgets. In our house the rule is if you don't use it, you lose it…so the fact that the picture below shows such a diverse range of kitchen utensils MUST mean that I've graduated from grilled cheese to at least something requiring a whisk, ladle, one of those skiimmer things and a mulitute of spoons and spatulas…right?
Well, it turns out that for me to work best, I need my tools handy. Thus, we keep our long handled kitchen tools in a caddy on the counter as I am sure many people do. My husband brought this caddy into our marriage and I am glad he did because there is nothing more frustrating than trying to quickly get a spoon or spatula out of the caddy and having the handles get stuck and end up dragging the entire caddy down the counter while you burn your French Toast.
Unfortunately, I have no idea where our wooden caddy came from…fortunately, I've found some other fun options out there that would look none too shabby on even the best looking kitchen counters.
Ah dear readers…I have a confession to make. I can not for the life of me figure out how to store my veggies. We belong to a CSA during the summer which means that once a week, we get a bounty of produce that I quickly 'process' and for the most part store in the refrigerator until time for consumption…but there are still a few items that boggle my mind.
You see, way back when in the great-counter-clearing-experiment-of-'09 I banished our system of counter-ripening fruit to the pantry cabinet in an ill guided attempt to be one of "those people" who have nothing on their counters. But while the cool, dry, dark storage was great for my onions and garlic, my apples, bananas* and any other veggies that had shown up for the week did NOT like being hidden in the dark. No, instead, the cramped quarters caused the ethylene from the apples and bananas to build up even faster over-ripening every piece of produce in a matter of just a day. I needed to find a better solution.
Until this time, I thought the only option was a hanging basket; which would be the perfect solution if we had someplace to actually hang it where it wouldn't bonk us on the head:
Thankfully, there are lots of options out there for counter-top fruit storage. The key to keep in mind is that every fruit gives off a certain amount of ethylene gasses so it doesn't hurt to separate your produce. What better way to do that than some pretty bowls?
A dessert platter is a great way to get some height on your display and allow you to store more than one fruit in the same footprint:
A little more space consuming, but pretty none-the-less; storing your veggies in one layer on a platter is a great statement:
Here's a fun, smaller scale basket with great lines that would look pretty in any manner of kitchens. All this time I thought the all-one-fruit in the basket thing was for aesthetics…but now I know…yup…now I know the truth about ethylene:
A small collection of matching wood baskets is a great way to keep 'em separated yet still maintain a coordinated look on your counter…although don't be fooled by this photo…I'm sure those bananas and the apple were ripening that avocado just as fast as the shutter could click:
Speaking of coordinated looks…how about these G-O-R-G-E-O-U-S china baskets!! LOVE LOVE LOVE…but, they're small…good for berries…but not good for the amount of veggies I need to store:
Lastly, I found this interesting, fun display idea over at ETSY…I can only imagine what fun the cat would have if I went and displayed every piece of fruit on its own individual stand on the counter…and she doesn't even get up on the counters.
The jury is still out on this one for me. I just don't have that much space on my counter to give up so in my indecision I usually just lay everything out on the counter. Which takes up just as much space, if not more, on the counter and doesn't look pretty. It's a vicious circle.
Any one have any magic solutions I haven't thought of yet?
* no…our bananas do not come from the CSA; but we have a toddler who loves him a banana so even though they are from a different continent, I still need to purchase and store them
I know…SOAP PUMPS? What could be more boring??
But here me out. You see, a long time ago when I was just out of college and living a particle-board-and-milk-crate-furniture lifestyle, a friend of mine confided in me that it was his personal horror to see dish soap out on the counter. I was young and impressionable and he was hip and fashionable so from that moment forward I banished my dish soap to the dark, musty area under the sink also known as where-random-cleaning-stuff-goes-to-die.
I lived this dish-soap-free-counter existence for quite some time having also made the decision that I never wanted to ever live somewhere that didn't have a dishwasher.
And then I had a baby and thus the dish-soap-under-the-counter philosophy of kitchen design became a royal pain in the arse – you never realize how annoying it is to go and fetch it everytime you need it until you have bottles and nipples and teethers, etc. et. al. to be cleaned every ten minutes.
(not the worst offender out there stylistically, but still not necesarily kitchen design sensitive)