The trouble is, this lovely, long stretch of work space is also a clutter magnet. A convenient drop spot for homeless items, papers, receipts and files (not to mention the items that actually belong there), it rarely affords me more than 11" x 14" of viable workspace.
Because clearing off the counter feels insurmountable, it's a task I relegate to the bottom of my to-do list. So, in an effort to reclaim the space, I've been playing a game with myself. Each day, I need to remove 10 items from the counter and put them away (I can't count them if I just move them to another location where they remain homeless). If I don't take away ten, they get added to the next day's quota.
Following a great piece of organization advice I heard years ago, I sometimes start from the bottom and work up. Sure enough, the papers and miscellany at the bottom of the pile are usually easily -- and quickly -- dealt with.
After my last serious attack on the counter, I became more careful about just how much dropping and running I did, so, although my "take away ten" strategy is helping me make progress, it won't solve the main problem: a small stack of items with a photo album as its foundation. When I bought the photo album, I knew I was solving one problem (finding a home for miscellaneous photos) while creating another one (finding a home for my new purchase). Consequently, my no-longer-new purchase is still sitting on my counter, taking up more than its fair share of space.
The good news, though, is that once I decide on a home for that one item, I'll more than double my available space.
I think I see a light at the end of the tunnel of papers.