It’s not just dishes that ends up in the kitchen. It’s papers and…everything else! Many kitchens have a little desk area built in or near the kitchen. It seems like these little spaces are too small to be a whole office, but they are usually big enough to hold all the things that get dropped in a kitchen. Let’s see how this kitchen desk area would work much better if it were organized. (No extra charge for the dog butt, front and center.)
If you are new here, check out the five steps that we go through in any organizing project, which I call SORT and Succeed. This system works perfectly to organize a small project like this.
Here’s the fun surprise; this is actually a pretty big kitchen, but the whole room felt like a drop zone, which is what we call areas where people just drop things. It turns out that on the other side of the kitchen, waaaaay on the other side of the island, people were using this huge drawer to drop just about anything and everything into, but most of these things were kinda-sorta desk-related and office-y. Because it was located near the glasses and silverware and didn’t have a purpose, it was just a drawer for shoving.
So, what to do? Well, we found a decent-sized drawer to the left of the desk holding next to nothing, so after sorting through all the junk (I’m allowed to call it that if it’s in the junk drawer), the office-y things got moved over by the desk.
Next, those shelves up top weren’t working as hard as they should have been. They were also a prime spot for shoving. Not everyone has nice shelves like these, but you might have a small cabinet you can repurpose. I’ll very often see a small shelf or cabinet that has been added just around the corner from the kitchen to do the same job. Notice those blue baskets in the cabinet? They are GREAT, but they haven’t yet been assigned a purpose, and so each family member just dumps things in them. We’ll fix that in a moment.
To start, we actually kind of worked backwards into the space. First we organized the big drawer on the other side of the kitchen. We cleared everything out and decided that this was going to be wine and entertaining drawer. That makes a lot more sense, since it is closer to the formal dining room, is directly below the fancy glasses, and is directly above the paper plates and party gear. It could probably use some new drawer dividers to keep it organized.
The drawer we swapped with is over by the desk, which is a perfect size to hold everything need in the organized home office area. To keep it organized, we labeled the heck out of all the little containers. Some of those little containers are actually short vases that had been in storage. See that little bin of gift cards on the left? We found a couple of hundred $$$ in iTunes gift cards that day. And I can see a $50 Wawa gift card right on top in this photo. Be sure to stop into a Wawa next time you visit Philly. It’s THE place for tasty coffee, lunches, a gallon of milk, chips…basically the four food groups plus the most affordable gas in the region.
The shelves just needed a slight peg adjustment and more labeling to make them functional. We added hang tags to each of the baskets to hold things like charger cords, greeting cards, and camera equipment. By adjusting the left shelf upwards, we could fit binders in standing up, and kids in school always are looking for binders. That worked out well, because that short middle shelf then became a paper tray for the kinds of paper the kids might need for homework. Address labels get their own little bin on the top. And it’s a little hard to see, but the top right shelf now has a dedicated place for the label maker. That’s nice to know, so they can organize the laundry room next.
Here’s the organized workstation.
I’ve left the drawer open here to show you how close it is to the workstation. No more trekking across the kitchen to find a stapler! And the tall cabinet under the desk might not look super organized, but it was the best spot for a couple of large office appliances that don’t get used all that often, along with their spare parts.
You might have noticed the trash can to the right of the desk. It was there when we started. I just wanted to mention that many families end up with too much clutter in their home offices because they don’t want to have a trash can sitting out, but it really is a necessity. Add a trash can to a cluttered space, and there’s a good change that the clutter will start to decrease.
Trust me, I know that nobody except me thinks organizing papers and office areas is any fun, but this is a small project with a big impact. When everyone knows where things should go, it makes it easier to find things, and its a cinch to put things away. This is the classic, “A place for everything, and everything in it’s place,” situation.
By the way, if you have piles and piles of mail and paper in your kitchen that you are trying to conquer, you might want to check out my paper organizing online class here.
I think this is a good segue from organizing kitchens to organizing storage areas. If you’ve been following along, or even if you read this years from now, pop over to our free Facebook group and show off your kitchen organizing project this week. Then write down a new goal, and start on your next project this year.