Question: I use my kitchen counter/bar as command central: bill paying, correspondence, phone calls, daily to-do list, menu planning,… I have 2 top cabinet spaces, 1 drawer & 3-4 lower cabinet spaces (mostly under bar). But my counter stays cluttered because I like it all “handy”….Do you have any suggestions to make this space presentable/neat on a daily basis? Presently, my laptop & files are in my bedroom & closet. Thanks for any suggestions.
Answer: When you describe the cabinet and drawer space, is that all of the built-in storage space you have in the kitchen? If so, it sounds a lot like my old kitchen in which you learn to become organized out of necessity. If you have all your pots and pans stashed away in your cabinets and you still have this available space, I am jealous! I will assume the circumstance is the former – small kitchen and cluttered countertop.
It sounds like everything you use this space for requires only a small amount of countertop storage space. The problem comes in to play when you pile everything there. I would suggest taking advantage of your walls. If you have available wall space next to your bar or countertop, hang a set of wall pockets there and label appropriately. Wall pockets are available in many different types of materials – from wood to mesh to plastic – so you can find something to suit your style. Even with a set of 3 pockets, you can cut down the clutter. (If you don’t have available wall space, consider matching baskets or stacking trays for countertop use)
- Bill Paying: For incoming bills only. Open your bills, check to make sure they are accurate, then replace them in the envelope. Write the due date on the upper left hand corner of the back of the envelope and place in your wall pocket labeled “bills”. Once you have paid the bill, discard the envelope, put the bill with your outgoing mail and file your “receipt” in your personal files.
- Correspondence: I would keep business and personal correspondence separate. In this pocket, you can store letters requiring responses, offers you’d like to consider, even a pocket calendar that lists birthdays, anniversaries and other important dates that call for a card, letter or phone call. It may be a good idea to keep some blank note cards in this pocket as well so you always have stationary on hand for last minute well-wishes.
- Menu Planning: If you plan your weekly menus on a regular basis, congratulations! I have tried for years to get into the habit of planning menus in advance and am still struggling with it. We are doing well if we know today what we are cooking tomorrow. I’m sure you would have a better idea of what you need from this category. However, if I were creating a wall pocket dedicated to menu planning, I would include:
- a calendar (pocket sized would work)
- a folder for all the recipies I would like to try (magazine & newspaper clippings, etc.)
- copies of all the recipies I plan to make in the coming week. When you are ready to go grocery shopping, you can either take the recipies with you, or write only those things you need to buy on your to-do list.
Now that most of your stuff is off the countertop, you have room for a sorting basket – or something similar – that can hold a notebook (for to-do’s/phone calls), stamps, return address labels, pens and pencils.
I hope this has given you some ideas! Happy Organizing!