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But let’s be real — the only person truly inconvenienced by things like digging the food processor out of the coat closet was me. I lived alone. Once I moved in with my spouse and added children to the mix, however, the amount of stuff (thank you, wedding and baby registries) increased exponentially, and my — I mean our — counters accumulated more and more bells and whistles.
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This year, I decided to go back to my roots. I set out to once again clear my counters — this time, for good. Here’s how my counter-clearing comeback went down.
Attempt: Hide small appliances.
If my goal was to frustrate and bewilder my children, who drink at least two smoothies a day, then I could call this attempt a success. Every day was a game of guess-where-Mom-put-the-blender. I mostly gave up, although I’m still hoping Vitamix introduces a heavy-duty blender that’s easier on the eyes.
Attempt: Get rid of the knife block.
Attempt: Scrap a few small appliances.
The toaster, pasta machine, and deep fryer left the house with no objections from my husband, who hates cleaning them as much as I do. On the heels of these successes, I tried willing myself to drink my coffee black, so I could get rid of the milk frother — never mind that my husband has no intention of giving up his oat milk foam. We did try a stick frother, but it just didn’t have the power of our Capresso. The frother, like the blender, is staying, and I’ve accepted its fate.
Attempt: Choose tools with a smaller footprint.
Okay, yes, the handheld milk frother was a fail, but we had plenty of other successes. Our Instant Pot serves as a slow cooker, pressure cooker, and air fryer, all in one. This kitchen scale folds so compactly that it can fit in our silverware drawer. This foldable drying rack cleared a whole section where our standing rack formerly sat. And by deciding to use our collapsible camping colander regularly, we were able to get rid of our giant stainless steel one, freeing up cabinet space to store the appliances we don’t use daily.
Final result: We reached a middle ground.
In the end, I realized clear counters were unrealistic for us. My kitchen isn’t a showroom — it’s a workhorse, a hub for my family. I now acknowledge that effortless meal prep is more important than idealistically clear counters.