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Best? Most Useful? Countertop Utensil Container

My collection of really useful, everyday silicone spatulas, wooden spoons, and various turners/stirrers has just expanded beyond the size of my current countertop utensil "jug."

What do you guys use?
Any pics would be appreciated (yes, I really want to "voyer" a small part of your kitchen...)

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    1. Any good wide mouth vase. I use an old Denby Jar and a chinese vase. Too many utensils for just one.

        1. Hi, Kris:

          I have 'way too many utensils to fit in a countertop container, so what I do is maintain a repurposed tall, round SS cannister (about the size of yours) on the back of the stove holding the 2-5 tools I know I'll be using for something. This leaves enough room inside the cannister to fill it partway with water for keeping the stove and counters cleaner and a quick rinse between uses if I'm cooking a lot. Keeping the tools to a minimum there makes for no searching and easy grabbing. If you watch the TV cooking shows like Iron Chef and Flay's, they just use cheap round SS inserts made for flatware storage--just a buck or two from most resto supply houses.

          Then I keep all my other and specialty utensils in a plastic bin in a drawer. And I actually have a smaller bin-within-the bin, too, which keeps the smaller/shorter things segregated and easy to find.

          This system works really well for me. I found with the large "bouquet" of utensils in an upright container, the stuff falls out, tips over, gets dusty/greasy, and takes awhile to find what you're looking for, etc.

          The downside of this is you need to also wash your container when you wash your utensils.


          19 Replies
          1. re: kaleokahu

            Morning, K,

            I like your system. I've never liked storing tools upright, because I don't like grabbing them by the business end. Sure, my hands are clean, but there's a certain yuck factor for me.

            Add to that the dust and grease that you noted, and it's a total nonstarter for me.

            1. re: DuffyH

              Completely get the "grabbing the business end" reluctance.

              I am trying to figure out how something like the attached pic could be created so you could always grab the handle.


              1. re: DuffyH

                Hi, Duffy:

                Here's the thing: I store the tools I know I'll need in the stoveside container business end *down*. There are usually so few, I hardly ever miss-grab.


                1. re: kaleokahu

                  Hi K,

                  Yeah, I could have guessed that, since they're part of your mise en place.

                  I was commenting on *storing* tools handle down. Can't do it.

                  1. re: DuffyH

                    Hi, Duffy:

                    Well, you *can*, but they play Naked Twister when you pull one out.


                    1. re: kaleokahu


                      Need one of these so they keep their naughty handles to themselves:


                        1. re: kaleokahu

                          You want pretty or functional? Sometimes we have to choose.

                          ETA - You know, on second thought, I kind of like the insert color, and I also like the back-to-front slant on the crock thing. Makes it easier to put shorter things in it. So nope, can't agree that it's ugly at all. Of course, the possibility exists that I only like it because the green is a deeper version of my kitchen wall color.


                          1. re: DuffyH

                            Hi, Duffy:

                            If you find it beautiful, that's great--surround yourself with beauty. In my kitchen, I try to have both beauty and high levels of functionality and durability; life's to short to do without all three.

                            I look at plastic things like this and an instant later, I can visualize a giant mound of them in a landfill.

                            The Joseph Joseph stuff is always well-designed, few abject fails, like OXO, but even more plastic-y.


                            1. re: kaleokahu

                              Thanks for sharing, K, but I'm not the one looking for a solution. I don't keep my utensils on the counter because I don't like the clutter and I'm fortunate to have drawers in my island and within easy reach of my cooktop.

                              I know that I'm lucky, and not everyone has adequate storage space.

                              1. re: DuffyH

                                hey! that's exactly what I do now, too!

                2. re: DuffyH

                  The handles of our utensils in the Le Creuset crock on our counter are long enough to grab the handles. I also am not averse to picking up a whisk by the end. It's easier to grab the silicone spatulas and wooden spoons by the handle. I would worry more about any dust that accumulates in the bottom of the crock.

                  1. re: John E.

                    Yep. It's easy to forget to clean out what you never see without making some effort. It can get icky down there.

                    1. re: mcf

                      I finally stuck a recurring reminder in my phone to alert me about every 3 weeks and then I snooze it a day at a time until there's room in the dishwasher and I wash the holders.

                      1. re: ccbweb

                        I plan to adopt your method. Maybe I'll add "clean under fridge" to that reminder. Thanks for the good idea. :)

                        1. re: NicoletteT

                          If you do, this is a wonderful thing... I can't believe how much dust and cat hair ends up under the stove and fridge in the space of two weeks: http://www.amazon.com/Unger-960022-To...

                          Washes up great in the laundry and mine has lasted for about ten years.

                          1. re: mcf

                            Just ordered an $8. treat for myself. Thank you for the link!
                            Now I can retire the yardstick that gets wrapped in various materials to clean under the fridge. Some jobs are just more fun with their own special tools. :)

                            Thanks so much, mcf. You are moving me into the Spring Cleaning groove, and boy, do I need to get there.

                            1. re: mcf

                              mcf, the cleaning tool has arrived, been put to work, and shamed me thoroughly. :)
                              It's amazing how much dust and stuff gets under there!
                              Love that I can shake it out and pop in the washer.
                              Many thanks for this tip. I'm getting them for my kids, too.

                  2. re: kaleokahu

                    Totally wish I could use your approach.
                    I'm in a rental and the kitchen has only 4 drawers that aren't broken -- they are vertical next to the DW. When I am at the stove, they are to my 7 o'clock.
                    As inconsequential as it may seem, Turning, Scratching around in a drawer, and Turning back -- well, it frustrates me!
                    My 4 drawers are 10" wide, 3 1/2" tall, and 16" deep.
                    1) silverware,
                    2) Stuff: can opener, measuring spoons and cups, those random single-use devices
                    3) boxed things: ziplock bags, foil, parchment paper, and so on
                    4) paper napkins and small equipment: plastic mandolins and graters, rolling pin, larger single/rare-use devices

                    1. re: charlesbois

                      And a salt pig!
                      Do you have a Butter Bell, too?

                      1. re: Kris in Beijing

                        No, but my mother keeps trying to give me hers. I just can't get used to them though.

                      2. re: charlesbois

                        LOL -- that's *exactly how I have mine sorted...metal and plastic in one, and wood and silicone in the other.

                        I have two earthenware vases -- one made in France, the other a mass-produced one my sister gave me as a gift.

                      3. I have a white Le Creuset crock and I love it.

                        1 Reply
                        1. Too many tools. Ok, I am an addict. One for spatulas, one for wood spoons ( and a few synthetic spoons), one for whisks, and one for a metal hodge podge.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: tim irvine

                            Whoa. Different holders but that looks amazingly like my set of kitchen tools. Same fish turner and spider. Really similar ladle and spoons, very similar assortment of whisks. I like it.

                            1. re: ccbweb

                              I really like the selection. Having the exact right tool really does make for a certain kind of "more fun." The other main kind of more fun, of course, is "wow, I flipped the pot roast with chopsticks!" Everything gets regular use except one heavy old tinned whisk I hang onto for sentimental reasons. That and my old Spong coffee grinder get a pass on my "use it at least annually" rule. My latest addition was the coated flat whisk, awesome in tinned saucepans.

                          2. Like ccweb below I use a large stainless steel crock.

                            I think the most important thing is that the vessel can be tossed in the DW from time to time.

                            (p.s. LOVE the pics other people's kitchens too!)

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: pedalfaster

                              I'm not quite certain a crock can be made from stainless steel. ??

                              1. re: John E.

                                LOL. OK then a "stainless steel" ~thing~.

                                Or perhaps a thingy. ;p


                                1. re: pedalfaster

                                  p.s. these tall narrow stainless vessels also work wonderfully with stick blenders. Invaluable in my kitchen really.

                                  1. re: pedalfaster

                                    I stand corrected....or maybe they are wrong...

                                    I recently posted in another thread about countertop appliances that just before Easter, I removed everything of the counter to the left of our kitchen sink. The Le Creuset crock with spatulas, whisks, wooden spoons, etc. is to the left of the sink with the coffee maker. We now have 5 feet of empty counter top. I wonder how long it will last? It's been a week so far.

                              2. re: pedalfaster

                                I have a stainless "thingie" too. Actually several. Mine are from Ikea and have dime-sized holes in them. I'd rather have heavier crocks but these were inexpensive and I put a few black garden rocks in the bottom which weight them down.

                              3. Another post about my Le Creuset crock, which is about 6 1/2"x6 1/2", and it hold a ton of stuff- I counted 31 items and I have no problems rooting around in it.
                                The flared top seems to help a lot.
                                I must say, thanks to this thread, I finally cleaned it out.

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: monavano

                                  oh, thank you for this -- it's nice to see someone has a harder-core addiction to silicone spatulas than I do!

                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                    I don't know if you can see them, but I have 2 "baby" spatulas that were sort of an impulse purchase from Sur La Table, and I love them!

                                    1. re: monavano

                                      I have one like that -- it's great for smaller cans and jars.

                                      1. re: monavano

                                        Just last night made a spice paste in the mortar & pestle, and was so glad to have a baby silicone spatula to scrape down the m&p for more thorough mashing. It was a $2 throw-in on a larger cookware order, and it's great to have a spatula I can dedicate to this job (because no matter how thoroughly it's washed, it's bound to end up garlicky).

                                        1. re: ellabee

                                          My "baby" spatulas were throw ins, too- to qualify for free shipping.
                                          Nothing scrapes out small jars of mustard or jelly like it.

                                  2. Mine looks a lot like ccbweb's. It is a large stainless steel container I bought from TJ Maxx or HomeGoods. However, I don't keep all my utensils there. I only keep the one which I regularly use. If anything I don't use at least once a month (or once every two months), I keep it elsewhere. Just like my knives. I only keep about 6-8 kitchen knives in the kitchen.

                                    1. I use USA made crocks available from Lehman's Hardware.

                                      1. I use a bamboo one from Walmart for wooden utensils, a stainless steel one from Walmart for stainless steel utensils, and a black plastic container from Walmart for nylon and silicone utensils. Form and function. Different utensils can look good in mismatched containers. The utensils are the decorative part :)

                                        1. i had 4 red le creuset crocks filled with stuff. now i'm housing all the utensils in a drawer with dividers next to the stove. anyone want 4 red le creuset crocks?

                                          13 Replies
                                          1. re: eLizard

                                            Herb pots for that color pop in your kitchen, maybe?

                                            1. re: DuffyH

                                              i think i've decided to go whole hog on the b&w. i'm going to do a photo wall of b&w photos in black frames with white mattes

                                              1. re: eLizard

                                                That can be cool, too. I'm a big fan or re-purposing things. I would upend the crocks so they're not open tops, spray the whole mess black/white, or perhaps polka dots, waves, whatever, and use them as island decor.

                                                But that's just me. Finding them a good home is a very nice thing to do. :-)

                                                1. re: DuffyH

                                                  i can't craft to save my life. what i lack in ability i really really lack in patience and effort.

                                                  1. re: eLizard

                                                    I can't craft, either. I'm just good with spray paint and tape. It was just a thought. :-)

                                            2. re: eLizard

                                              Hmm, 4 red Le Creuset crocks would be nice. My kitchen is all green and yellow though, but I have thought of adding red also. Do they have lids? -- I'd only use them for sugar/brown sugar/flour/coffee or whatnot.

                                              1. re: eLizard

                                                I switched out 3 Fiesta ware crocks fro my Le Creuset!

                                                1. re: eLizard

                                                  If you were seriously offering as a pay it forward sort of thing, we could use at LEAST two. The kitchen in our apartment is cramped and we really need some good crocks for utensils.

                                                      1. re: sumrtym

                                                        so that would be a resounding "yes"

                                                2. In my tiny apartment kitchen, space is very much at a premium. I keep two enameled wire baskets at the back of the stove where utensil handles can hang down between stove and wall, with my knife strip directly above them, and a big glass Mason jar on the counter for spoons & silicone spatulas. The baskets have little hooks on the front for smaller items.

                                                  Left basket: 5 assorted whisks, 3 metal spatulas, microplane, 2 knife sharpeners (one Western angled, one Asian angled), potato masher, measuring spoons, garlic press & silicone basting brush. Right basket: Wire strainer, crescent strainer, tea strainer, measuring cups, flour scoop, coffee scoop, 2 cheese slicers, microplane/zester, & vegetable peeler. And a very old box grater perches in between the two baskets. A dozen assorted knives live on the magnetic strip above.

                                                  The basket system works very well in an extremely small workspace. Everything is in sight and within easy reach. Of course there's also a drawer full of less frequently used items, sleeping quietly until they're called into service.

                                                  It sounds as if all that stuff must be jammed in & cluttered but it's all really quite accessible: everything comes out effortlessly even though the baskets are, er, heavily populated.

                                                  If I upgrade to a phone with a camera I'll upload a pic sometime.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: eclecticsynergy

                                                    Here's a pic of my little workspace arrangement with the baskets and my knife rack above.

                                                  2. For me, in a decently sized kitchen with island for prep space, it's a combo of drawers, cabinets, and mostly le Creuset crock things. Some highlights:
                                                    * Amazon broke several of the crocks in shipping, Chef's did not.
                                                    * separation of function or materials: from left to right metal turners (mostly); rubber turners and some whisks (too many whisks in one jar get tangled); mostly metal whisks; plastic spoons/servers/pasta spoons; wooden stirrers/spoons/'spatulas'; some misc implements - but crocks fare poorly for that, hence the right drawer filled w/ misc tools - unorganized though (??). The left drawer is the measuring drawer and hot pad drawer.
                                                    * wine keep cool devices with scissors and tongs to left of stove.
                                                    * there are two fire extinguishers within easy reach on either side of the stove (and another 4 w/in 20 feet - yes, I'm paranoid/prepared - have you had a house fire?)
                                                    * tasting spoons in a glass, and measuring spoons as well in front of the crocks.
                                                    * in the bin above the crocks, lots of pyrex measuring cups of 1-2-4 cup sizes and lots of mise en place bowls of various sizes. Redundancy beats mid cooking cleaning as possible.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: danlind3

                                                      I would need Xanax to cook in you kitchen!

                                                    2. I bet mine is the wackiest - it's a giant glass skull-shaped mug that I received for free (with purchase of a giant fruity slushy drink) at the Treasure Island Casino in Las Vegas. (See link below for pics) - http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/18140367...
                                                      ...Do I win the prize for silliest utensil holder or what? (I started using it because at the moment I didn't have any alternative...then when we moved, the dear hubby told me he really liked it & didn't want me to replace it with a classier item!)

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Morticia

                                                        Hey, that's pretty cool. I'm a huge fan of skulls. I'd do the same thing but my girlfriend would probably just let me have my skull fetish in the man cave in the basement :)

                                                        I'm still waiting for the time when I can let myself spend $50 on some Crystal Head vodka. I'd get two collections with one stone with that, being skull AND bottle.

                                                      2. I have two of Pampered Chef's tool carousels:

                                                        I have one for rubber spatulas, whisks and wooden spoons, and the second is for everything else. You can get A LOT in them, which probably explains why I have acquired so many tools!

                                                        1. Two large Le Creuset cherry red 4 qt. ceramic crocks and one AC SS cooks tools kit. Just behind my induction unit.See Picture.

                                                          1. Have too many tools that I use all the time to even think about putting them in a drawer. I definitely thing more is better in some cases. I'd go crazy with 1-2 spatulas, wooden spoons, whisks, etc.

                                                            Everything is pretty much at arms length and OUT all the time. A few years ago, one of my thrift store haunts had a messa stoneware crocks. I was CHEAP and only bought the 2 biggest ones... should bought them ALL?!? Similar to charlesbois' crock... easily a gallon with a crown on them.

                                                            I think, if I had the kitchen of my dreams with acres of storage space... the tools would still be OUT all the time.

                                                            1. I use an old crock that came from a hermit cabin in the back woods my inlaws purchased years ago. It's marked "Patented in 1896." I'm hoping the old man that lived there used it in his kitchen and not beside the bed :)

                                                              1. I use a couple of crocks - one is a 2 qt Hall China bain marie and the other is the largest canister from a set of 4, a glazed terra-cotta with hand-painted fruits on a white background. Himark made in Portugal. One of the very few kitchen items that survived the great marital split of 1999... ;)