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Clutter Control: It’s in the pot

September 3, 2009

Kitschy kitchen counter clutter is not for me. Sterile, empty counters are my dream.  No  appliances, no “cute” little containers of cooking utensils, no olive oil jars, no salt and pepper.  I’ll enjoy a scented candle or vase of fresh flowers on the counter, but that’s it.

Speaking of counter space, my landlord recently removed the wall between my kitchen and the dining room, installing a niiiice big bar counter between the two rooms.  See?

Kitchen Bar Counter

This spacious counter liked to accumulate my “keep-near-back-door-of-house” clutter.  It drove me crazy.  After a year I could take it no more.  I devised this DIY shelving solution that is custom-fit to the kitchen wall – i.e. landlord-friendly!

I measured up the space and got a board cut into shelves at Home Depot. Using handy-dandy “L” brackets, I affixed the shelves to the wall.

I gasped, horrified.  (Ok, so I’m dramatic. I take these projects seriously.)  The top shelf was slightly warped.  I didn’t want to redo it, so I glued an edge around the shelf to trick the eye.

(Photo below shows the warped shelf with the first edge glued on.  It also shows the abrasions on the wall where an ugly towel bar had lived.  Short of major sanding and re-plastering, I had no way to completely hide it.)

Projects 021

When the glued shelf edges were dry, I blended the shelves (and brackets) into the wall with two coats of that boring apartment-white paint that covered the walls of my kitchen.

And then came the storage – the fun part. Four terra-cotta pots were just the right size for holding the small items I wanted to keep at arm’s reach in the kitchen.  I painted them with the Glidden brand Granny Apple Green that I used on my accent wall in the dining room.  To finish things off, I installed hooks on the bottom shelf and hung my dog leashes, oven mitts, and a dish towel.  Voila!

Projects 040

Finished Kitchen CountersAbove, the finished product.

Below, A close-up of the flower pot storage. Left to right, they hold:  dog cleanup bags, more dog bags, craft paint and brushes, and gardening tools/seeds.

Projects 025

In the future I’d like to spiff up the shelve’s edges with some moulding, but for now, as I’m saving my moolah for a trip to Italy with my bf, I’m just happy to have clean counters!  (Well, almost. The hunt for the perfect hanging fruit basket continues.)

So remember, when it comes to clutter, the only way to really contain it is to re-think the storage solution in the space where it occurs.

For the detail-curious, here’s a cost breakdown.  Note that the bulk of the cost was for decorative storage.  The shelves themselves were much cheaper than anything I could have bought.


  • 1 Pine Board – $5.00
  • 2 Pairs of Metal ‘L’ Brackets – $5.00
  • 4 Metal Hooks – $2.50
  • Paint – Free (leftovers)

Decorative Storage Containers:

  • 4 Terra Cotta Pots – $12.00
  • 1 Decorative Storage Box – $4.00
  • Paint – Free (leftovers)

Total cost for clean counters: $28.50

Kitchen Counters

So have any of you DIY’ed cute kitchen storage in lieu of purchasing those fancy contraptions at a store?

14 Comments leave one →
  1. Julia permalink
    September 3, 2009 8:36 PM

    Excellent Job Jane! I love that it blends right in with the wall. It really is such a space saver and a great DIY idea. Good work!

  2. Julie permalink
    September 6, 2009 5:29 PM

    Cute, cute! Nice job, looks really nice!

  3. September 10, 2009 11:27 AM

    I love me some clutter control! Your clean countertops are fab – great solution- – – – I’d save my finishing bucks for italy too!!

  4. September 10, 2009 12:08 PM

    FABULOUS! That is what I call “bang for the buck.” I need something like that on my way out the back door. What a great inspiration!

    • Borrowed Abode permalink
      September 10, 2009 12:20 PM

      Thanks! My whole pet-owning life I’ve had clutter near whatever door I used. I absolutely recommend implementing something. I was fortunate to have a great little space for it.

  5. September 10, 2009 1:09 PM

    I love it! Blends right in and is very cute! (also love your profile story about rearranging the furniture in the morning, I got a good laugh over that!)

  6. September 14, 2009 2:27 PM

    I love that idea! Such a great use of space!!!!

  7. September 14, 2009 4:57 PM

    Very clever idea! . .and organized too. A container for everything. I’ve got some of those clutter spots at my place too.
    ~ ~Ahrisha~ ~

  8. September 18, 2009 12:29 PM

    I love it!!!
    That was wonderful inspiration!

    I was thinking about doing something very similar!
    It came out very lovely.
    First time stopping by your blog.
    Will definitely be back!

  9. Gaabriel permalink
    July 20, 2010 4:37 PM

    That’s adorable! Great start to de-cluttering! If you saw my apartment you’d laugh at me even using the word de-clutter, but you appear to be going in the right direction. I love the pots and the hooks are a brilliant idea!


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