Recently I attended an event with Howards Storage World thanks to Brand Meets Blog. A group of bloggers were able to meet with the HSW team (both from the company and in store), see some products from their new catalogue (drool!) and pick their brains on all things storage and organisation. When they asked me what my biggest problem was I discussed the eye-sore that was my kitchen counter.
When I shared on my facebook page I was met with many others who suffer from EOCS – end of counter syndrome. The rest of the kitchen was fine, but the last part of the counter was a magnet for things in transit, papers and mail being dropped temporarily, kid bits and homeless items. I knew this was my home challenge to sort out when we visited the Howards Storage World shop at Mt Gravatt after the blog get-together. Just check out that “before” below – cringe worthy.
Like many of you I have seen beautiful command centres and launch pads on pinterest and blogs. I would lust after them, but be brought back to the reality of my own home situation. What do you do when you live in a mostly open plan home with almost no bare walls (so many windows), no entry way (we walk right into our living area) and no spare room / mud room / garage with internal access?
Like every home organisation challenge you need to find what can work with your space, your budget and your abilities / interest. We plan to renovate a bit in the future so I was not looking to invest a ton of cash, nor did I have many options for where to relocate these papers and items. Instead I worked with my hot spot and made homes that were organised, clearly defined and covered what I needed.
First I had to think about what I wanted from this space – what things were collecting there in piles and mess. It can be tempting to make things more complicated than they need to be so I kept it as simple as possible.
I already house my menu plan hidden on the side of the fridge (even if a fancy menu board is what I wish for).
I already have a filing system, bill system and my kids don’t need a whole chore board.
My kids and husband have their own launch pads in their rooms – hubby has his keys, wallet and phone on his bedside and the kids have a space in their rooms for their backpack, library bag, school hat and shoes. If those are working there is no need to force them to learn something new.
So what did I need?
- a place for my recipes
- a place for the kids homework books and readers (they had a “home” nearby but kept being placed on the counter for me to see, so I went with this…)
- a holding place for incoming information we needed to make decisions on (sale flyers, events, school notes)
- a home for my household notebook (had been living in my office)
- a launch pad for my personal items as I change handbags a lot and often leave without an item I want
- a spot for my planning sheets I use
- my diary in a central place so I can check it each morning
My 3 piece clutter hot spot solution
1. The staff at Howards were so helpful as I was determined to solve this clutter hot spot that day after months of struggling to find a solution. In the end I found one piece available for purchase that I loved (in the photo above, white stationery cabinet with drawers), but needed more.
2. Standing by the counter of the store with the manager James I noticed a mail sorter unit they were using for their own papers and bits and pieces. I knew it was the right piece and wanted to buy one. Unfortunately it is currently not in stock, but like a friend giving you the shirt off their back, James and the store owner Jenny offered to let me have their piece to finish off my counter – shocking myself I agreed to take it home!
I shared on my facebook page as I transformed the old wooden unit with some spray paint (my first ever effort and I am sold on how it can transform an item you may like, but want to update).
3. The final item is a simple magazine file holder from IKEA that adds a little pop of colour and houses all food related items.
The breakdown of what ended up in each piece
Mail sorter unit on the left holds from back to front (image below):
- current “to do” folder (anything I need right now)
- household binder (polka dot binder just peeking out)
- notebook for work and blogging and often my ipad (not pictured)
- clipboards with my intentional living daily planner (seen on one clipboard with to do lists behind them) and my kids planning sheets (lunchbox planner and weekly schedules)
- change purse with cash ready for the kids weekly school lunch treat day
Magazine file holder: labelled “Eat” (contents in image below)
- Take out menus (red plastic folder)
- My recipe collection – updated since my recipe binder system and now housed in a spiral bound book (planning to go digital in 2013) + 5 colour coded plastic files holding my recipes to try, my frequently baked items, kid food recipes, etc
- Our entertainment book for Brisbane (coupons for restaurants and cafes)
The white stationery cabinet: (images below)
- The shelves are designated as follows from top down:
- 7 yr old shelf (homework book, readers, notes, invitations – anything not yet processed or completed)
- 9 yr old shelf (same as 7yr old)
- activities shelf (flyers for things we might do, our adventure journal)
- Mom and Dad shelf (mail to be processed in or out, small outgoings like a DVD to return, something to read)
- The top drawer is labelled “write” and houses pens, post it pads, envelopes, stamps, cards, and a small blank notebook.
- The bottom drawer is labelled “go” and is my personal launch pad – anything I could need to take in my handbag on a given day lives here. Sometimes I need my business cards, other days I am taking public transportation with the kids and need our “go cards”, tissues, mints, coin purse, and other bits and pieces. I unpack things from my bag when I am changing bags and can grab whatever I need that day / week.
- I leave my diary opened on top and can grab it when I need it or enter dates as I go through the mail, kids papers, activity flyers
So with three simple pieces I have organised a ton of paper and odd bits and pieces that used to be dumped or piled up (or simply get misplaced at times). Since I started this project 3 1/2 weeks ago I have not had a single pile on that counter space.
If you have a hot spot in your home you can tackle it one of two ways – either look at what piles up there and turn that space into an established and organised spot for those items, or make it impossible to clutter it up (add a vase of flowers, a basket, some decor item that forces you to put the things away). I have used method two for my coffee table which is on week 2 of being clear again.
Do you suffer from “EOCS”? Do you have a command centre or launch pad in your home? What’s your biggest clutter hot spot?
Find your simple,
Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post, but I received products at the event and purchased the large white unit (with drawers) with the gift card included in the event sample bag.