Mark Roemer image of a counter that is fairly well organized

Things You Shouldn’t Store on Your Countertops

The longer COVID-19 lockdowns last, the more people are starting to cook at home. Whether it be for peace of mind or simply something they have wanted to do for some time, it is happening. The more we cook at home, the more we will find that we need kitchen gadgets and small appliances. I, Mark Roemer, know this because I have seen myself ordering things from Amazon to make my food preparation easier.

Kitchens used to be larger. The reason is it was very trendy to have people over for parties. As the years have passed, people have become more and more secluded. As a result, kitchens have become smaller and smaller. While this will leave us more room in your front room or other areas of the house, it means that we are no longer able to store as many small appliances or gadgets in our kitchens. Some say the smaller size is due to small appliances becoming even smaller. That may be true, but there have also been a lot more inventions that did not exist in previous years.

With all that being said, I will provide you with a comprehensive list of things you should never keep on your kitchen counters. If there is enough time and space, I may even offer a couple of items that you should only keep on the counter. So, let’s dive right in and explore this list.

Cooking Utensils

This may seem like a good idea, but I can assure you it is not. Having your utensils within arms reach can be useful, but you will find that your utensils will be covered with grease and dust over time. The reason this happens is when we cook, the oils in our food aerosol. This means that the oil becomes airborne when water and other liquids come in contact with it. Once the oil loses momentum, it falls to the first flat surface it can. Often this is your countertops. If there happens to be a utensil in the way, it will fall on that instead. As we know, dust is a constant battle in the home. The oil is still wet, and dust will naturally attract to it. So, instead of having your utensils in your reach, you are going to have a dirty mess that must be cleaned before using them.

My suggestion is to store them on a hook or in a drawer. You will find that they will be clean and ready to use the next time you need them. Also, only take out the things you will need for that cooking session. There is no reason to have utensils out that you are not going to use. They will get dirty and need to be cleaned before you return them to their storage location.


Much like the utensils, it is nice to have the knives where you can easily access them. The truth of the matter is that you rarely need to use all the knives you have access to. Besides, knife blocks have a large footprint and occupy a lot of real estate on your counter that could be better used for something you do need all the time.

I suggest you either get yourself an in-drawer knife storage system or a magnetic strip. Either alternative will be better for storage than those knife dulling knife blocks.


You were at a garage sale or in a store and found an adorable mug tree. It may have looked like an excellent idea, but it wasn’t. I make this claim because once you get it home, you will find that it will do nothing but get in the way. Every time you need to prepare a meal, you will likely have to move them. Additionally, you will have to rinse them out before each use. Our good friend dust loves to hide in mugs.

Rather than using clunky mug trees, I recommend using C hooks and installing them in your cabinet or underneath your cabinet. Either option will be much better than mug trees. Not only will they be off the countertops, but they will also be sheltered from dust and oil.

Cutting Boards

I am going to preface this suggestion with a caveat. If your cutting board is nice to look at, holds sentimental value, or you are simply annoyed at the number of times you need to take it out, by all means, leave it on the counter. Make sure that you put it to the side, so it is not getting in the way. In other words, store it vertically instead of horizontally.

However, putting cutting boards in a cabinet are the far more efficient choice. Try to find yourself a pan sorter and store them vertically. You will free up a lot of space on your counter and keep your cutting boards in top shape the next time you need to use them.

Small Appliances

As promised, I am providing you with something you don’t necessarily need to store in a cabinet. Any small appliance that you use daily should be sitting on the counter. Even small appliances that you want to use daily should be stored there. Sometimes having these out in the open will serve as a reminder to use them.

I want to clarify some of the small appliances I am talking about. No one wants to rifle through their cabinets to find the coffee maker, the toaster, or the tea kettle. Having these at the ready will ensure you always use them.


Kitchens have become a lot smaller. That means we need to be very picky about what we leave out on the counters. I, Mark Roemer, know I would like to leave many of these out on my counters, but it is not an option in my place. Look at your countertops and see what you can put away. It might be a challenging task as you want to have access to your things. Trust me when I tell you that you will be much happier and have a lot more space if you put them in a different location. Good luck with sorting your cabinets.