Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Taming the kitchen counter paper monster

This is a question I get a lot as a Professional Organizer. It is also an issue I deal with myself. PO or not I still have a lot of paper that comes in and one thing I have noticed in my own home as well as clients homes is that even if you have a home office or another place you designate as the place you pay bills and deal with mail it all comes in and winds up on the kitchen counter first. They say that the kitchen is the heart of the home and so it stands to reason that whenever anyone comes in the house they tend to gravitate right toward the kitchen. A lot of kitchens are connected to the door that leads to the garage where everyone comes in anyway, but even without that the kitchen counters seem to have an invisible paper magnet in them! I decided to tame my paper monster for good. First I took note of where the paper mostly gathered on the counter and realized that it also gathered on top of my microwave.
overall area the paperwork gathered
Top of Microwave

Other counter w/day planner and phone
Notice the extra coupons &notes on the fridge

I realized after looking at these spaces that I needed to re-arrange them so they made more sense. For one thing what you don't see in these pics is that the microwave and toaster was on the opposite side of the kitchen from where everything else is cooked and so when making anything I had to take more steps across the kitchen and back track to whatever I was doing otherwise. On the other side where the microwave and toaster were was also the first area you pass when you enter the kitchen and therefore seemed to be the main landing spot for all the paper, except for things like takeout menus and pizza coupons etc. which were put over on the fridge and my day planner which sat over there because that is where the phone was. So..I switched them! I moved the microwave and toaster over to where the phone and other stuff was, and moved the phone over where the toaster and microwave were. I purchased a new file system through Clever Container that I absolutely love, that is designed to file the mail in keeping your counter free and clear. It literally has a file for everything that comes in from school papers to bills and in between. It included had labels to put on the folders and even had a laminated sheet explaining how to file everything the folders are a complete system not just folders. Plus it was cute so that is always a bonus. It cost me $40.00 which I thought was reasonable considering it was sturdy, the quality of the folders was exceptional, and it saves my sanity by not seeing all those papers cluttering up my counter!
Now that the Microwave and toaster are over near the fridge my cooking is streamlined and I can take messages, file the mail, answer the phone,& have a recycle bin directly underneath the "mail center" all in one spot.  I should note that the mail fail system is not supposed to be permanent and should be cleaned out each week when you deal with the stuff in it, but it is great to have it all organized in the short term. I love it! Check out the after pictures below and let me know what you think.
Clever Container "File the Pile" #0812  $17.95
Labels that come with file folder system

Folders are "panic no more" #0811 $22.95

my dayplanner is now in the back of my file systemR

New incoming mail and paper center!

New cooking center!

There you have it, my new system for taming that paper monster. What solutions have you found? Leave them in the comments below I would love to hear what others have used to tame their paper monster. Also to order any of the products I listed above go to: clever container. Consultant # 544

Have an organized day!

1 comment:

  1. Very excited to look through your blog for organizing ideas! We are a homeschooling family and love to stay organized.