I also use a small, fine mesh skimmer. Or a ladle. Or a large cooking spoon. Or a saucing spoon. Or a regular tablespoon. Or nothing, doing it the way Pete does. :D In other words, it's an easy operation. Nothing to get your knickers in a twist about.
In the stewarding department at school, we made c.b. from the partial pounds returned from classes: dumped them in a pot, melted and allowed to boil, skimmed if someone was nearby to do it (not usually, though), ladled off the clear fat and left the milky stuff and bits of wrapper :rolleyes: in the bottom of the pot. And a place where I used to work made huge batches of a blend of butter and olive oil. If someone had the chance to skim, we would. If not, no problem; we just let all the solids sink eventually and then ladled off the clear fat once the boiling stopped. That made more work for the dishwasher :( , since the solids did cook onto the bottom of the pot. But the resulting product worked -- and kept -- just fine.
I am about to make a new batch of c.b. -- just finishing the 2 pounds/1 kilo I made in March of last year and kept in jars in the fridge. Whenever I need some, I just dig in with a CLEAN knife or spoon. The stuff keeps fine, since you have removed the elements that are likely to go bad.
I also save the stuff I skim off, to put on vegetables. However, I don't save the milky part, or the cooked solids.
Finally: I just read somewhere -- might have been Shirley Corriher (?) talking about advice she received from Paul Prudhomme (?) re: clarifying butter. The advice was: do NOT put the whole thing -- clear fat and milky stuff still on the bottom -- in the fridge uncovered. The fat can pick up odors that way. Make the little extra effort to ladle off the fat while it's still liquid.
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004