The stacks of paperwork and general chaos on my kitchen counter has been driving me crazy for a while now! Although most of the papers are jam-packed in containers, you can see there’s a lot of them — as well as quite a few other miscellaneous things — and it looks super messy.
And it’s also sort of overwhelming.
But here’s the thing: I need my paperwork to be close at hand in the kitchen, where I spent a lot of time during my few off-work hours at home, since I consider it to be the “control center” of my house. (And my favorite place in the house is the kitchen alcove, which is surrounded by windows.)
I’m also the kind of person who needs detailed long-term and short-term “to do” list and who has to write notes to herself to remember to do just about everything. (My son thought my funniest note ever was one that said “Shave legs.” What? Don’t people forget sometimes? :)) I shopped around and debated for weeks the best way to store the clutter. My goal was to completely hide the paperwork and other stuff (pens, pencils, coin bank, etc.) that needed to be kept on hand and to bring tranquility to the kitchen.
A couple options were: getting a very small roll-up desk (liked one from Wayfair) to put beside the kitchen table or storing everything in some sort of mini counter-top file cabinet or other container.
Marshalls had some cute legal size drawer sets that could be arranged on the counter top near the microwave, but the powder blue 6-drawer metal one I liked sold before I got back to buy it, and the others were covered in vinyl and looked like the vinyl might come off quickly with use.
I ended up buying two fairly large matching baskets with lids from Marshalls, instead.
The $30 I spent on them was more than $300 less than the desk would’ve been; and the desk would’ve added clutter to the area around the table and would’ve had to be moved to another room when my whole family comes to visit.
They matched the kitchen cabinets and seemed more relaxed than file drawers. So they seemed like the perfect solution.
The first thing I did was take every piece of paper out of every file folder and storage unit and pile it on the kitchen table, along with the other assorted counter-top items. (The counter looked fabulous, but walking by the table gave me a real headache!)
Then I went to Target and and bought a cute pink flowered clipboard and matching notebook, as well as matching file folders and some large hot pink sticky notes.
The clipboard would hold the long-term to-do list. The memo pad was for errands to do the following weekend. And the pink sticky notes (which could be changed quickly) was for weekly goals.
It took more than a week to go through all the paperwork on the kitchen table and a lot of it went in the recycling bin!
I put the rest in the pretty pink file folders inside the largest basket and closed the lid. Just loved the fact that it was all hidden.
Then I sorted through the other counter-top clutter, and put the piggy bank, container with pens and pencils, and a few other things in the smaller basket, hiding them, too.
The last step was clearing the top of the microwave and moving some other things from the counter top.
The kitchen looks so much better! And I feel much calmer every time I’m in it.
I can definitely relate to kitchen counter clutter! I can’t get away from it because, like you said, the Kitchen is the control center. I bring mail in and place it on the stove until I sort through it. Bills go to the office, junk goes into the recycling bin, and questionable stuff ends up on buffet. Eventually, the stuff on the buffet usually ends up in the recycle bin. Why I don’t just throw it there in the first place is beyond me. One thing I did was buy a little red magnetic basket that attaches to the refrigerator. That’s where I keep my pens and a small note pad. Sometimes I use the empty bread bin to hide the paper, you know, when people come over. hahaha. I also have a basket for paperwork but it just usually ends up collecting other stuff too. I’m working on a solution that works for me. Just trying to get better at throwing away.
The refrigerator magnet to hold pens sounds like a good idea. And like you say, all we can do is try to get better at decluttering!
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