How to Organize a Kitchen & Every Day Papers

how to organize a kitchen, how to organize papers

 

I‘m not obsessively organized. I do not alphabetize my spice rack or invest money in fancy organizers for my kitchen drawers (as you can see, my silverware is in a jumble and my lone organizer is from my gray blue phase of 1989.). But I do have a couple of systems that work for me I wanted to share today. I’m more concerned with function than I am with perfection when it comes to organization.

Many of you asked after I shared this post on my morning routines how I manage to unload my dishwasher in 2 minutes. Well, today I’ll explain that for the inquiring minds that wanted to know. I’ve shared some of my kitchen organizing ideas before, but I have a brand new system for how to keep paper clutter off my counter, I’m SUPER EXCITED ABOUT IT!!!  I’ll share that idea at the end of the post.

When I set up my kitchen, I organized the placement of our supplies and tools for how we would use the space. Basically, that means I organize around two basic concepts.

1) My kitchen is divided into activity zones.

First, I group activities that take place in the kitchen. So I put all my basic baking supplies in one area, all my cooking supplies in another. This makes pulling out cooking and baking supplies easy, as most of what I need is within a step or two. I also keep all of my every day dishes on open shelves, so they are easy to pull out and just as easy to put away.

Every day dishes are on open shelves for easy access
(side note: if you look to the left,
you’ll see the broken handle on our microwave.
Not only is our handle broken but the microwave
only works about half the time! YAY for us!)

2) I organize the most commonly used, every day items requiring washing & drying as close to the dishwasher/sink area as possible, and always grouped together with other like things.

For instance, all of my cooking spoons, spatulas are together, all of my pots and pans are together, all of my baking dishes are together, all of my plastic/glass storage containers are together. All things that are washed frequently are easy to get to and cabinets are not overloaded with items we don’t need regularly. That means we don’t usually have avalanches when we need to get something out! I also do not worry about perfection. It is perfectly fine with me for my serving silverware or cooking utensils to just be tossed in their drawer, I always can find things — further organization is a project for “someday” if I have time.

With those two simple guidelines / systems keeping our steps to a minimum and a clear plan for where our every day items go, we can unload our pretty new dishwasher in two minutes flat. It is really easy if you know where things go and they are nearby.

Now, I know what some of you are thinking right now. You are saying to yourself, “Easy for you to say. Your kitchen was built three years ago and has normal cabinets and drawers. Mine has no cabinets I can use.’

OK, so I get that. I do. I’ve lived in old houses where I had to be creative and store things on the backs of doors and way down in the basement. But the concept of organizing around zones, particularly by what should be near the dish washing area, is still useful. You might not have the ideal situation all of the time but do your best to create a system that makes sense.

Here are some clever storage ideas I use to keep those “extras” out of the kitchen work zone.

Now, here is the weak link in my kitchen organization system that I solved and wanted to share with you today.  It has to do with important papers that end up in a jumble on our counter or table.

This particular paper problem has been a problem for us mostly just since we moved to this house. I have systems I’ve used before in other houses, but with a new season of life and increasing responsibilities, we’ve come across new organizational needs for this house.

Here is what goes down at our house:

I sit at the table to do a bunch of paperwork. I make little piles of important papers, mail for my daughters, receipts, bills, and lists and spread them on the kitchen counter and table so I can tackle them. Then I get called away to work on something else. I leave the papers there because I am not done dealing with them yet. I fully intend to return. Someday.

My husband enters the room to start his work, and he shoves my piles aside, or he picks up my important papers and sets them up on the “bar” in our kitchen.

My previously “organized piles” get all mixed up together and invariably, I lose something important or forget to pay a bill.

So this week I decided enough was enough. Something had to be done. An intervention was needed.

I thought long and hard about why papers end up on my counter, and what types of papers were always there waiting for me to “deal with them.”

Here is what I realized:

I have file cabinets elsewhere for papers to be stored once I am done handling them, so the problem I was having was with papers that were “in process” or needed more of my attention in the very near future.

In order to solve my paper crisis, I needed to apply the same basic principles to my papers as I do to organizing my kitchen supplies.

1) I needed to divide my papers into groups of related items, according to what frequent activity they are related to. After looking through my piles, I found I had about seven different categories of regularly handled papers :  bills to pay, receipts for our church, receipts for my business and receipts for our HSA/insurance, papers/mail for each of my 3 kids,

2) I needed to put my most commonly used papers where they are easy to get to, because storing them any where BUT in the kitchen would probably mean I’d forget about them. I didn’t want to have to run to another room, I wanted them located right where I could get to them quickly if I had a moment to work on them.

My kitchen paper clutter solution:

Behold my brand new, important in process papers file box. I found this cutie at Target. It kept leaping into my cart wanting to go home with me, so I had to buy it.

I made up my files according to the papers I needed to organize and keep on hand. Voila, no more paper clutter filling up my counters. My pretty box sits right on the kitchen counter, ready for use and ready to store papers until I can deal with them.

Why did I wait so long to do this? It took me about five minutes to solve this problem. I love it!

BONUS: I created one file folder for my husband to use, if he find things out and doesn’t know where they go he can put them in there.  And I won’t spend hours searching the house for where he stashed my receipts!

I love having simple systems to keep my house in order! Loading my dishwasher at night and unloading it in the morning, making sense of my drawer & cabinet organization, and now my oh-so-easy system for corralling paper on the counter will all help me to keep my house clean and organized.

What is your biggest kitchen housekeeping/organizational challenge?

This post is part of a housekeeping series sponsored by Electrolux as part of Homebuzz. I received an Electrolux dishwasher in exchange for my participation. The opinions stated in this post are my own. My old dishwasher is being donated to a worthy cause. My previous posts in this series:
My New Dishwasher
Order from Chaos

3 Truths and a Lie

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Comments

  1. I have a similar set up going right now. Only been in existence for about a week but so far the kitchen/dining area is clutter free! We’ll see if I can keep it up!
    Jess recently posted..Easter Craft IdeasMy Profile

  2. Paper is definitely a culprit, Melissa! Current mail, receipts are a big one {and not ones we have to keep either!}, change. There is one counter that is near our kitchen’s garage door entrance that my hubby comes in and I have to say most of it is his. Unfortunately, I never know what he needs to keep or is actually garbage! When it starts to get to me I just ask him to go through it.

  3. In just the past couple of months, I also went and bought one of those pretty file boxes to tame my day to day, can’t be put in a filing cabinet yet but need somewhere to live other than on my counter papers. Amazing what that little $6 box did for my sanity.

    love this post, Melissa. xo

  4. Paperwork…ugh! Now that I am dealing with my grandmother’s and mother’s bills, yes, bills keep coming in, and all their files plus my own, I feel buried. The end of my table is in constant upheaval. Perhaps if I had a trunk, it’d work. Will you let us know how it’s working in a week? It looks fine sitting there on your counter and no one would be the wiser.
    Vee recently posted..Blogger in Draft- Et CeteraMy Profile

  5. Ack! The paper pile-up dilemma! I swear those things reproduce overnight and create more piles. Great solution!
    Why didn’t I think of a ‘temporary’ filing system? Off to Target! Love that file box. :) Hugs!

  6. Do you have any solutions for children who toss shoes and coats and leave a trial which leads me to find them every time…LOL!!! My little Sam is the worse one of the three, but I love my little man dearly! I love your posts! I think I am going to Target today for the little cute designer like paper collector! You have a wonderful day!!!
    Shannon recently posted..YahwehMy Profile

  7. Paper is my nemesis! It is the one thing that is most to blame for any sort of “cluttered” look in my kitchen! I love your idea, and am adding it to my list. My kids are on spring break next week, and I took the week off, so it is going to be a project extravaganza at my house!
    Jenny recently posted..The Hitch of the NicheMy Profile

  8. OK…this is exactly what I need…I can’t believe I didn’t think of it before…I have that unruly stack of bills, school papers for the kids, magazine clippings, coupons etc. and it only gets bigger and bigger everyday…usually I end up just shoving everything into a cabinet to be sorted through later (which inevitably leads to an unreturned permission slip or late bill…yikes). I’m definitely going to try your idea!!! Thank you so so much for the inspiration!!!

  9. Hmmm…maybe I need to try out one of those boxes and see if that helps me. I have a problem with things (especially paperwork) getting stashed away neatly but then it’s out-of-sight-out-of-mind which doesn’t help me remember to look at them! Does anyone else have that problem? I also have a problem with the little pieces of paper (lists, notes, to-do lists) that accumulate/clutter on every surface. I don’t know how to corral them….they’re things I don’t want to forget but yet I don’t want to see them. They’d get lost in a filing box. Anybody have any ideas?
    Astrid recently posted..Skewered Peeps! fruit kebabsMy Profile

  10. Ugh -the papers! I have the same issue, and I’ll have to try your system. I’ve tried a few different things, but somehow there are stacks of papers lying on the counter. Every. Single. Day. And they drive my wonderful, tidy husband CRAZY! (Although he is very gracious not to mention it as often as he’s probably thinking it.) Gotta tackle this thing. Again!
    Shannon Wheeler recently posted..The Friendship GoalMy Profile

  11. Melissa… are you sure you were writing about you and your husband, or have you had a camera hidden in my kitchen? I am constantly organizing piles of papers on our kitchen island, only for my husband to group the entire pile together and move it elsewhere. I had a similar solution of temporary filing. Now my dilemma is remembering to go into the files and act on things. Out of sight, out of mind. Keep us posted on how your system works out for you :)
    Carolyn recently posted..My First TimeMy Profile

  12. Paper is a huge problem for me though interestingly not in the kitchen. Has anyone tried Flylady’s Office in a Bag in this context? It’s a zippered notebook for bill paying, note writing, etc. The idea is that it is easily portable so you can “grab and go” but it also keeps things corralled into one place. I’m a huge Flylady but haven’t tried this.

    This is a great post, Melissa!

  13. Oh, what a great idea to organize your paper! Do you mind very much if I go and grab the same paper file because that one is SOOOO cute and will work perfect in our living room landing space!

    I can second the kitchen organization advice! Our current kitchen is set up pretty similar to yours, except without the open cabinets cause my daily dishes are not so attractive right now… and it does make cleaning up a breeze. (That, and the fact that cleaning the kitchen is my 14 year old son’s daily chore! lol) It’s one of those ideas that you kick yourself for not thinking of earlier…
    Shauntelle recently posted..In the Trenches with Brian in San FranMy Profile

  14. THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!!!!!! Why didn’t I think of doing this???? I am getting a box today to go on my counter too! It is the perfect solution! I wish I had known about the Electrolux participation! I could use a new appliance….ANY one, they are all almost dead:):) XO, Pinky
    Pinky recently posted..A Pink- Spring Table!!!My Profile

  15. You hit the nail on the head, this is my same problem. No matter how organized my kitchen is, the papers always end up sitting on the counter next to my telephone. This would be a lovely way to have them in sight, but in a prettier way. I bet Home Goods has some pretty ones too.

    Thank you.

    Karen
    karen recently posted..Inspiration and a new web siteMy Profile

  16. Melissa, I love your “Zone” ideas….I do the same thing and it makes my life so much easier. I’m a little short on cabinet storage…but it still works…just like you said!

    Regarding the PAPER!!!! Yikes…what happened to our paperless society? TeeHee! I’ve been giving my customers a similar suggestion to your pretty Target box….my Sort and Store Tall File Basket which also has a Wrought Iron Rack that can be hung on the wall…it’s great when counter surfaces are at a minimum. Plus…I suggest making a file folder for each person in the family. Even or the kids…a place for their mail & school forms etc. goes in a labeled file in the basket. Easy to find at our fingertips…but not filed away in the deep recesses of an office file drawer. Most of this stuff is in and out anyway. Plus when it comes time to file…pick up the basket and go. Additionally I keep a separate basket for bills coming in to the house. Immediately I remove them from their envelopes, and place them in the basket in chronological order of payment dates…with the bills to be paid first – first up in the basket. Stamps, envelopes, address labels, pens go in the basket too. It’s SIMPLE and makes bill paying a snap. And I can haul the basket anywhere for that chore.
    (Sorry to be so long.)

  17. LOVED reading your tips. We just moved our dishwasher closer to where everything else is. Makes me smile everytime I unpack it now! Yay!!!
    Janine recently posted..A little shopping funMy Profile

  18. Ok, so this post really helped me. The whole idea of organizing your kitchen into zones. I think I pretty much already have that down, but there are a few things I struggle with knowing where to store… decorating things that are not currently in use like glass canisters, vases, wire baskets and trays that I rotate around (kitchen?, guest closet?), medicine stuff (kitchen?, bathroom?), lightbulbs and other maintenance oriented stuff (kitchen?, mud room closet?, basement?)…

    There’s a possibility my issues come from the fact that we just don’t have lots of storage options other than the regular cabinets and closets. We’re newly married and have been kind of slow in purchasing accent furniture. Anyway, I’d love to hear some storage ideas on this random non-room-specific stuff.

    As always, I so enjoy your blog!
    Katie Peters recently posted..Shop Landsend &amp Modesty MattersMy Profile

    • I think you can use the zone idea for the other items as well, just keep them out of the kitchen work area of course. As long as they are grouped together it is a system that can work! Everyone’s home is a little different so it is hard to say where things should go in someone else’s house without seeing it. We have always had shelves in our garage or basement to hold maintenance stuff like lightbulbs, filters, refill type stuff. Then I have shelves for seasonal decor as well. I also use baskets for those “extras” that you just don’t know where to keep but you know you don’t want them to get lost in the garage. The post on that is here: http://theinspiredroom.net/2010/10/06/31-days-of-autumn-bliss-day-7-clever-extra-storage/
      Good luck getting organized!

  19. Leanne
    Twitter:
    says:

    Hi Melissa, you have some great and simple organizing ideas. I’m hosting We’re Organized Wednesday through Saturday and would love for you to link this to the party if you get a chance.

  20. I love the system you’re using. I love everything about keeping things organized. Great ideas on kitchen organization–I agree with having ‘centers’ to keep everything. I also love the idea of having the file box right where you use it to corral papers!
    And I had the same blue cutlery tray until a few months ago. You’re right–it was all the rage when I got mine in 1989 too. :)
    Pam recently posted..Goodbye Ugly Tide Container- Hello Pretty BottleMy Profile

  21. Thank you! This is my biggest organizing problem as well. Too many papers that don’t have a final resting place for too long. I have a file box, but I don’t keep it out. Duh! It is cute enough to have out all the time, I just kept thinking it needed to stay in the bottom cabinet, which apparently meant I was too lazy to bed over and get it out. I will get it out today and clean off my bar! Thanks!

  22. I had a kitchen system when our kids were in school too. I had a big low-profile wicker basket in the corner on what we called “the little counter” that’s basically an additional built-in we use as a sideboard. All the day’s papers went into to after we sorted through and tossed those we didn’t need. When the basket got full, I’d put the papers into a box labeled for the current school year and take it to the store room.

    Papers that needed attention and/or sent back to the school with signatures, were dealt with on a daily basis to keep the clutter down and to make sure we didn’t forget anything important :)

    I have all those “important” papers still saved and our boys are now married with kids! My goal was always to take some of them and put into a scrap book along with photos. Ah well….it’s never been done yet and all the photos that should be used in there are also still in labeled boxes. There always seems to be other projects to do…but maybe someday :)

  23. I have a system for the mail that I go thru the minute I walk in the door from work. Nothing takes precedence over that. I go thru the mail, weeding junk mail, and each family members mail and throwing away what isnt needed or wanted. My personal mail/bills go in one location on my dresser, my hubs on his.. The kid’s go on the stairway to the upstairs. Since most of our children have moved away from home, I want to either make or buy a rack to leave their mail in so it doesnt hang out too long on the staircase.

    My biggest paper problem is coupons at the moment. I have many many & all different sorts & sizes. I’ve used every coupon sorting system out there.. some still work for me and some dont, but I dont stay on top of them all the time. I bought several pretty decorative cardboard boxes 12x10x3 that I can put my loose ends in and still keep my table and kitchen looking neat.

    Love your blog.. thanks for sharing!
    KimH recently posted..The Steroids Circus Is Far From OverMy Profile

  24. Rochelle says:

    I LOVE THIS BOX IDEA! I have a kitchen island that catches EVERYTHING! I will be stopping by target this weekend!

  25. LOVE! I was actually looking at something very similar at Walmart about a week ago but I haven’t made it back yet to pick it up. Just curious and looking for inspiration – what did you used for category labels?

    @Shannon – We put a 4-hook coat hanger on the wall in the porch at kid level, a small plastic tub on the floor to catch wet things, and for a while all their shoes went into a laundry basket in the hall. Now that the weather is improving and we don’t have six snowsuits in the closet I’m working on consolidating that a bit.
    Karen recently posted..Recipe – Mashed Potato CasseroleMy Profile

  26. Love that box, running to Target to grab one. I do have the same issue with papers in my kitchen. My filing system is all the way downstairs in the basement (my office/studio). Who wants to trek down there every day? But this is a nice and PRETTY solution! Thanks for sharing:)

  27. Oooooh pretty shiny new box! I have a similar system (but definitely need a pretty box from Tarjay!) I also go through and recycle mail immediately and put all bills together in one spot. We still get the crazy paper pile up but by the end of each day I like to put things where they belong (because I’m completely scatterbrained and if I don’t then like you said, bills won’t get paid, etc!)
    You always have such great, simple ideas that I can put into play – thanks Melissa! Keeping my eye out for a pretty box at Target!
    Lisa recently posted..My Destinations SignMy Profile

  28. Too funny! I was at Target the other day eyeing a similar organizer! I didn’t see that one with the flip down lid, but one that had 3 slots in the top at an angle to fit file folders. I held off buying it because we have yet to choose accessory colors for the kitchen, and I figured hubby would throw a fit if I picked the “wrong” color. I also want to get a tray organizer for the table to put magazines and catalogs in that we want to look thru before tossing.
    Jackie recently posted..Taking it one day at a timeMy Profile

  29. Great ideas…and to think this whole time i wasn’t organized.
    Thank you Melissa!
    so i should get rid of my junk drawer? recently posted..confession thursdayMy Profile

  30. what do you think of me getting an oak filing cabinet to put in my dining room?
    I’m thinking of a filing system recently posted..confession thursdayMy Profile

  31. maybe even two oak filing cabinets because you never..never know when you need one right?
    i like oak recently posted..confession thursdayMy Profile

  32. Great post. When we moved into our current house I asked my husband to feel free to start unpacking anything but the kitchen (I was at work), guess what he unpacked. I still haven’t fixed it yet so my dishes are across the kitchen from the dishwasher and it drives me crazy!
    Katerina recently posted..Apple and Parsnip Soup RecipeMy Profile

  33. LOVE your Target box! I will have to pick one up on my next trip there. I’m constantly trying to tackle all the little papers, receipts, bills and this will stress me less to know that I can wait until I have a minute to put it where it belongs. But in the mean time, it’s tucked away in the cute box!
    Jessica {magnoliaqueen} recently posted..colored bubbles a love-hate relationshipMy Profile

  34. angela0716 says:

    Love the quote… Organized enough rather than Obsessively organized. That is going to be this perfectionist’s mantra from now on.

  35. I’ve been using a “catch-all” basket with only two dividers for a similar purpose, but I like this idea SO much better. Especially since I am forever having to look through the basket to find that *one* receipt that I just know is in there somewhere. And what a cute file box!
    Emily recently posted..Five Signs of an Exam WeekMy Profile

  36. HELP!!! You’re talkin my language. Oh yeh, organization. I’m not the everything perfectly lined up and straight kinda girl, but….a place for everything and everything in it’s place.
    So my kithcen island is my, HELP ME!, spot. My daughter’s cell phone, school papers, bangles, and whatever else she doesn’t want to take to her room, my husbands, wallet, keys, mail, and whatever else he doesn’t want to forget tomorrow, all find their way to the island. I have places for all of these things but I have yet to train these rascals.
    Islands are a place to relax, get away from it all, have a nice sip of something wonderful and dream the day away. Oh wait, that’s a different kind of island. Okay, I’m back.

    I welcome any ideas you may have. I have considered just not stressing over. Afterall, it is our island. :)

  37. Paperwork is def. my biggest problem. No matter how clean/organized I get, it comes back to haunt me. Great post and tips, friend!
    Sandy recently posted..“New Sonoma Diet” 3-Book Giveaway &amp Connie’s Amazing Hummus Recipe!My Profile

  38. Thanks for sharing such easy to implement ideas for organization. Great solutions! I didn’t know Electrolux made dishwashers. Too bad they didn’t give you a new microwave too! hee hee Thanks again!

  39. Great idea Melissa, I’m always looking for attractive ways to handle clutter. I use a soup tureen for all those little things you can’t seem to throw away, just in case they belong to something important, a carved wooden box to store vitamins on the kitchen counter (so we can remember to take them) and a three tire basket for mail, newspapers and such. A place for everything and everything in it’s place.
    Love your blog.

  40. Hi Melissa – what a great solution for all of the papers we all have to deal with. I can’t believe I was at the store today and just happened to notice a pretty file box similar to yours but I wasn’t sure what I would use it for. Well, now I know! I hate having stuff laying around so I’ll definitely be heading back there to get it! Thanks for such a great idea!

  41. The box is a great idea! Yesterday I bought a houseplant to set on a little table where I was temporarily dropping off mail, catalogs, magazines, and other items. It’s a reminder to keep the space clear (except for the plant).

  42. I just saw those adorable boxes at Target, too. They were calling Melissa AND Glenda.

    Fondly,
    Glenda
    Glenda Childers recently posted..DEFINE YOUR BLOG party timeMy Profile

  43. Melissa! You deserve a big hug and a kiss! Yes…what a light went on in my head when you described this. I’ve been prisoner to the thought that you can only store papers AFTER you have finished with them…but the piles just overwhelm me. I never seem to be able to finish working on them..then they get moved..or lost…or food spilled on them! Oh my…you have saved me. I’m headin’ to Target tomorrow to solve my dilemna and I’m buying hubby one too for his farm! Thank you my dear!
    Debbie
    Debbie recently posted..Baby Chicks have arrived! Keeeute!My Profile

  44. I spin around in circles, I need to get organized! Between unfinished projects, projects in my head, and paperwork coming in each day…I am crazy! I will try a little harder each day to be more organized! Thanks for the post!
    Debbie
    Debbie recently posted..Thinking outside the grapevine!My Profile

  45. I organize my kitchens in the same way each time we move. And I have put file folders and something similar to your box on my list of items to buy when we come home this summer for vacation- we didn’t bring our big desk and filing cabinet with us and the desk the embassy has provided us with doesn’t quite meet our organizational needs. The paper clutter has almost given me a twitch!
    Tara G. recently posted..Pinned!My Profile

  46. Oh I love that your dishwasher is so close to things, I really wish I had planned a whole lot better!!! I solved our paper problem a couple of weeks ago… We had a hideous post pile where all interim papers stacked up… the recycling went out, and everything had a place, files, folders, whatever but all the pending papers just stacked up. The problem: I figured that things were just not getting put away – ever… the story of our house!!! So I started putting things away then and there… we removed our post pile there is nowhere to put stuff now unless it is away… perfect, wish I had thought of it years ago. It is amazing how quick it is to deal with somethings that I was just dumping forever before I put it away… it works for us and I am steadily moving interim piles out of the house and actually putting stuff away!!! I know – who would have thought of actually putting stuff away!!!

  47. Don’t know if you have tried this, but our microwave handle broke as well and guerilla glue has kept us going until we can buy a new one :)

  48. Great idea, Melissa! Luckily I have a very organized husband who keeps me in line, lol!
    bridget {bake at 350} recently posted..Birds Nest Cupcakes with speckled egg cookie toppersMy Profile

  49. Love hearing organization tips … maybe because I’m so bad at it, but I am a pile person too. They are organized piles but sometimes they sit there forever and then they get into messed up piles, just like you said. But I’ve found a solution – thank you!
    Kristin recently posted..Precious IvoryMy Profile

  50. I love your kitchen paper organizer! What a great idea and what a difference it would make to have a place to keep everything organized. Papers pile up at our house too and I hate not being able to find what I’m looking for.
    Sandy recently posted..A Forest WalkMy Profile

  51. My ‘in-process’ paper stash is a dreamy Coach Messenger bag from more than a decade ago when I was a corporate gal. I can bring it with me in the mini-van line up when I have car pool, I can grab it to take wiht me to work or leave against the dresser in my room. When something needs to be addressed, it gets filed in there, then permenantly filed when complete.

    My current dilemma is chilren’s artwork. We have a gallery by the art desk, but I promise my daughter churns out no less than 30 pieces per day. I send many to family by mail (just to rid of it in a responsible way) and I toss a great deal, but my girlie loves to see her work on display! I could paper our entire home in a month!
    Missy June recently posted..A Fiery ExperienceMy Profile

    • I totally understand the “Museum Effect”. Haha I tried scanning the art and putting it in one of the books you can have made on line OR like the ” olden days” at a Photo/ camera store. Huge, HUGE HIT!!! Now it can sit on a coffee table or on a book shelf! VOILA!!!

  52. I think I have the same microwave…Kenmore Elite? You know that venty-thing up top? I snapped that off trying to clean it…I thought it just popped on and off…nope, broke it off.

    I am drowning in papers! I have tried the file box system but I think because I don’t look after it right away, it gets overwhelming. The rest of my kitchen is pretty organized :)

    • Yeah, bummer about the microwave, I love great quality appliances and clearly our microwave was built to last two years. Hmmm.

      • Priscila Gonzalez says:

        Hi Melissa, love your advices very helpfu! I’m 7mths pregnant and today we tried ur husbands 5 min clean up. It worked! So excited :) by the way I had the same prob with my microwave. Thank God he gave my husband the grace to fix things some way or another. He opened our microwave. Turned out to be a $10 part. I love my microwave and wasn’t ready to part. Who knows urs might be fixable for a reasonable price.

  53. You made me laugh because … I do alphabetize my spices. I’ll hang my head and hide in the closet now.
    Beverly recently posted..My American Idol Review Of Last Nights ShowMy Profile

  54. It’s funny how we all have different quirks. I alphabatize my spices and the insides of my drawers are organized, but my counter tops are a DISASTER! I like to have things out where I can see them, so I can deal with them. But being a busy mom, I don’t often get around to dealing with them. And I love clear counters, so I get all panicky about the insanity. I’m going to try your paper organizing method. I have a strange cupboard in my kitchen that I emptied, painted and am putting back together so it works harder for us. Hopefully, I’ll have a good system soon!

  55. Wow, what a great post! I love your tips and photos!

    I would love for you to share this on my link party this week. I know my readers will love this too! http://thriftmeblog.com/lets-organize-2012-kitchen-countertops-recap-link-party/

  56. Sharon M says:

    Yay! These are the best tips I’ve seen. Thank you and I love your posting style too. :)

  57. I just read your article….love it! I’m going to use the daily filing system.

    PS…We have the same microwave with a broken handle. I had to laugh when I saw that picture.

  58. CampbellKatie says:

    Great posts. I am looking forward to trying your 4 step “clean enough” solution and your paper tamer, tonight. Thanks for the motivation.

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