Is it just me, or does every horizontal flat space beg to be covered? It cries out, "Fill me!! Fill me!! Look at all this glorious room for STUFF! Like that toy you just took away from your kid... yea, bring that over here. That hammer you just used to hang that picture? Give it to me! All that mail/school papers/bills to be paid/coupons... right here, baby! Oh, and how about those appliances that might get used once a month.... I love a good quesadilla maker in my life! That purse? Right here, please! Keys, coffee mug, laptop..."
Can you relate?
This week's FREE TIP FRIDAY, brought to you by H.O.M.E w/ Sarah, is all about ridding your kitchen counters of clutter. Here are 5 tips to clearing off that counter space and keeping it that way:
1. Give Items a Home
Everything that enters your home must have a home! No nomads here. Wanderers not welcome! One rule of thumb I tell all my clients is "store it where you use it." Also, try and create 'zones' in your kitchen. Food prep, bill command center, etc. Your spices and knives should be in the food prep area. Have some kind of paper sorter/stackable paper trays to sort your mail/bills. Be sure to relocate things in your home if necessary. Once you have established this, the rest will fall into place!
2. Change your Mindset
It is easy to think of your kitchen as a central area of the home. In fact, it may literally be at the center of your home. This makes it an easy pass-through and very convenient to place items you'll get to later. So first things first... get rid of the 'counter is convenient' mentality. Deal with tasks as they occur. Now that you've given a home to everything, this should be relatively painless!
3. Out of Sight
Store away items that are only used for merely minutes in the day. Take a toaster, for example. You might make toast in the morning, and not use it again until the next day. That means it is taking up valuable counter space for 23 hours and 55 minutes every day while it's not even being used! Storing this appliance in a cabinet (mine is in my pantry) is a far better option. It only takes seconds to bring it out and put it away. One other example would be cooking utensils. Mine are stored in a container in the cabinet with my pots and pans next to the stove, not on my countertop. Address each item on your counter and see if it fits this bill. You may need to rearrange some things to make space, but it will be well worth the initial time investment.
4. Two-Minute Tasks
When you have a lull in the day, or at the end of each day, try to complete these 'two-minute tasks' to keep your counters cared for and clutter-free. Loading the dishwasher, putting clean dishes away, sorting through mail (see blog post Organizing... Your Mail), wiping the counters down, etc. These are tasks that appear overwhelming, but in reality can be tackled in merely minutes. Don't underestimate the power of completing a task, no matter how small! This sense of accomplishment is quite motivating.
5. Get Everyone On Board
Unless you're single and/or living alone, there are likely multiple people using countertops as a dumping ground. Once new homes are found for things, be sure to share with family members where those homes are. Set the expectation that if you take it out, you put it back. Be an example for everyone in your family. This may take some time (as most routines do) but again, consistency is key. They'll catch on!
And there you have it! Be sure to visit www.homewithsarah.net for more organizing tips under Portfolio: Sarah's Snapshots & Tips.