Friday, January 13, 2012

Organized Home Challenge - Week 1: Kitchen Countertops

Are you an organized person?  For the most part I am: I make a lot of lists, I have a lot of binders, I plan plan plan!  I am great at making agendas, itineraries, meal plans, etc.  BUT my house has issues.  I have trouble finding things.  There are toys EVERYWHERE!  Forms that need to be turned in have no real home.  Mail...ugh.  Don't get me started there!

Last night, once again, I was browsing Pinterest.  Yes.  I know.  It's an obsession.  I can't help myself.  Is there a support group for this? :)  Anyway, I stumbled across this link for the Organized Home Challenge.    It looks like something easy to follow and really great!  So, I'm jumping in.  The challenge actually began with week 1 being January 1 (gee...go figure), so I'm a week behind.  But I think I'll catch up at some point.  If not, oh well.  At least I'll hopefully be more organized, right?!

So, week 1 is about kitchen countertops and the kitchen sink.  Yowzers.  This is an area we struggle.  I'll be honest - I loathe doing dishes.  So if something needs handwashed...yeah.  I'll eventually get around to it, but only when I have to.  And we have a lot of miscellaneous "stuff" on the counters, too: mason jars that have been emptied and washed but not put away, a plant (really?), papers, a hairbow of my daughter's, the toaster which was used at breakfast and left sitting there, a couple of milk jugs that I need to send to school with my daughter next week for a project they are doing...I could go on. In fact, here are the "before" pictures of the current state of my kitchen... (Disclaimer:  my kitchen is u.g.l.y.  It's original to the 1964 house and the decor shows it.  My 5 year plan includes a complete gut and remodel, but I haven't gotten there yet.  So, I'm stuck in the '60's.)

On to the organization:

Step 1: Think About the Function of Your Kitchen
Taylor over at Home Storage Solutions (whose blog this all comes from), lists a bunch of different functions a kitchen can sometimes have.  She then says "the key to kitchen organization is making each function of your space intentional".  Great point!  My kitchen is of course, where we prepare and cook food.  But it's become a dumping ground for papers, a jar storage area, and collection place for miscellaneous other stuff.  It's not the kind of kitchen where people congregate - too closed off and as I said before, ugly.  So, as far as function is concerned, this is (for now) going to be a one function room - cooking/prep of food.  Jars have a home - in the basement.  I just need to take them there.  Papers, etc. don't really have a good solution just yet, but for now they will join the clutter on the wet bar in the den until we get to those solutions (which looks like we'll start in week 10).

Step 2: Create Usable Counter Space and Clear Your Kitchen Table (Mostly)
This step requires you to clear your counters of both things that don't fit the function of the kitchen (papers, jars, hairbows, etc) AND things that do fit the function of the kitchen.  She says anything you don't use at least weekly should not be on your counter top.  Wow!  Good point!!!  A few things I have to find a new home for: canisters that at one point held flour and sugar.  Ummm...yeah.  I really never refill them.  I have other canisters in the pantry to hold that sort of stuff.  Why do I need these?  Because they matched the dishes?  The ones we got rid of several years ago?  Hmmm...And I have a really large bread box on the counter.  I also have a drawer where I actually keep the bread items.  There is always stuff piled in front of the bread box and I can't get to it anyway.  I do have a basket of spices that I use a lot.  I need a better spice solution, but it's what I have for now.  The knife block and utensil jar will stay, as will the spoon rest and the measuring cup set I use for measuring snacks.  The only other things remaining are a couple of cookbooks that I use all the time, and the collection containers for box tops/labels for school and poptabs for the Ronald McDonald House.  Which reminds me, I need to make a cute container for those box tops...

Step 3: Consider These Storage Solutions to Help Clear Counter Space
She has some good ideas here.  Nothing I really need at this point other than the spice solution.  My basket looks good, but just isn't big enough.  I'm thinking about asking my husband to help me put up a shelf under the cabinet that's the right height for my jars.  I only use jars from Penzey's anyway, so height isn't an issue.

Step 4: Create the Habit of Keeping Your Sink Clear of Dishes At Least Two Times Per Day
Ick.  This is where I fail.  Alright, alright.  I'll give it a chance.  At least most things can go in the dish washer! :)

So, how did I do?  Here is the "finished product".

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