Interesting topic. My mother likes keeping her counter space clear so she can fill it with decorations. I have a more practical approach and feel the kitchen should be clean yet efficient.
Regarding a sponge: We stopped using those after we found this thin nylon open weave dishcloth. It stays odor free and easily rinses free of debris. Scrubr is the name, http://www.amazon.com/6pack-Dishcloth...