Did anyone toast to having more order in 2015!?!? If you are intentional to do a few small projects in January, it will help you to feel like you are starting the year off with less stress and more energy! Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing 5 ways to GO* to help start 2015 off with less stress and more order.
Mission #1, should you decide to accept it, is clearing the Kitchen Counter
The kitchen is my favorite room of the house. For most people, we spend a lot of time in the kitchen, and not just cooking. Guests congregate in the kitchen, you work at the table, you layout paperwork across the counter, kids pull out their colors on the peninsula. It’s the most diverse room in the house, and therefore, the kitchen collects piles of belongings that get dumped on the counter (usually for mom to deal with!). Receipts pile up, collections of miscellaneous papers and trinkets line the wall, and soon you have a depot of stuff you don’t know what to do with.
Assuming your counter is currently a bit messy, let’s start with steps to clearing the counter and then figure out how to prevent the cycle from repeating.
1) Set 2 hours aside on your calendar to work on this task (for some of you it may only take 10 minutes! Lucky you!)
2) Start by sorting everything into piles. Start from the left side of the counter to the right. Piles such as: to file, kids projects, receipts, bills, Christmas cards, toss, don’t know, donate, etc. The categories will form themselves as you go. (don’t walk away to put anything away if it doesn’t belong in the kitchen…set it in its own pile) And don’t forget to look at what’s mounted on the fridge! This is a good time to minimize and start fresh–ready for new artwork and photos.
3) Write down on a piece of paper what pile categories you ended up with. We’ll come back to this list in #5.
4) Take one pile at a time and bring it to the correct area of the house to put it away. If it is a huge stack of papers to file, I’d recommend paper clipping them with a sticky note and then filing them another day. (Otherwise you may never make it back into the kitchen!) If you don’t have a place to put any of the items, decide if they are necessary to keep, and create a place if needed. I recommend the storage place be located nearest where you use these items.
5) Now that your counter is a clean slate, take out the list you made in step #3. Analyze the categories to see what belongs on the counter going forward, and what does not. For the items that do belong, you need to create a place for them. If it’s kid’s crafts that are always done on the counter, but the crayons never get put away, designate a kitchen drawer or get a bin that the craft items can go in so that they are “put away” even if they are kept in the kitchen. If it’s paperwork, I’d recommend getting a tray or stand and labeling it for receipts, mail, school assignments, etc. If you don’t want the paperwork to end up in the kitchen, then you need to create a labeled place for it to go in the office or den. If there is no set place, it’s bound to end up as clutter in the kitchen. (Be sure to set a time during the week to process the trays of paper or they will overflow.) If it’s larger items, the kitchen counter probably isn’t the place for them anyway. 6) Every Monday morning, scan the counter to be sure the items are put away and in the proper place. Teach your kids where to put their projects and assignments so they don’t dump everything on the counter and leave it for you to stress over. And show your husband that you now have a great place to put the mail when he brings it in and a fantastic magazine stand for his industry magazines to sit in. (speaking from experience!)
Don’t know where to put something? I’d love to help! Email me at email@example.com and I’ll give my best advice. Having a clear kitchen counter is the most freeing feeling!
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*January is Get Organized (GO) Month. GO month was started by NAPO to empower individuals, families, businesses and organizations to regain control over their surroundings, time and possessions…to help people save time, save money and reduce stress