Personally, I keep as much OFF my counters as possible. Make sure I have good drawer organizers and keep only what I need on hand. Less clutter on the counter makes the kitchen bigger. And for tools that you don't use regularly, put them in cabinets as far away as possible. Most important thing - determine what you think are essentials. For me, it's a shorter list. And those are the things I keep handy and close by. Shears, a good pairing knife, a good chefs knife, a couple of good pans, etc. etc.