Get Your Kitchen Counters Buttoned Up.
Approach your counters with fresh eyes by taking photos (as many as you need) of the area. This will give you a new perspective and most likely more motivation as well.
Think about how many gift cards and coupons that have expired because you misplaced them. Or how about bills that have gotten lost (or worse, thrown out) in the stacks and piles of paper and mail on your kitchen counters? When you have clutter and piles, it’s not only affecting the cleanliness of your home, it’s costing you money! Pay a bill late and you get fees, forget to use the $25 grocery coupon and you’ve thrown out free money.
- To battle this, create an organized paper sorter on the counter, like the Mail.Sorter™. Have a bin with slots for bills, catalogs, correspondence, etc. If you force yourself to sort out the important mail from the junk everyday, you will at least have won half the battle.
Next, create a coupon organizer, divided by the Month the coupons expire, instead of the type of good the coupon is for. That way, every time you go to the store, you can grab just the coupons for that month and will never lose any in the shuffle.
Set a weekly time to go through everything in your Mail.sorter. If you can at least commit to going through all of it once a week you can reduce the overwhelming work of having loads of piles to sift through.
Cut back on the subscriptions to magazines or direct mailings that you never read. For example, if you get a bunch of catalogs for home goods to stores you never buy from, call their customer service and get yourself off of the mailing list. You’ll be cutting down on clutter before it even reaches your house! Try www.catalogchoice.org for starters.
For family’s with multiple children (especially ones with older teens and kids) create separate folders or sorting slots for their school mail, magazines, or extracurricular information. It’s also good to have a “Parents Read/Sign” folder for items that you need to take care of for them, like permission slips or new schedules.
Have a “Things Drop Zone” at the door. If you can get a box with compartments, that’s even better. Use this box for keys, purses, wallets, phones, backpacks, whatever items usually end up in the middle of the kitchen counter or scattered all over the house. As long as these items have a common place they land everyday, you’re all set.
One of the hardest things to keep track of is the family calendar. To keep from missing important dates, be sure to keep track of everybody’s schedule on one, master calendar. Try posting a Whiteboard in the kitchen area to make sure that one person isn’t stuck with the responsibility of tracking down every detail; this will ensure that all family members are responsible for inputting their information into the master calendar each week (ideally on a Sunday afternoon).
Only keep active items on your counters. For example, scrapbooking and art supplies should have a bin, drawer or space where they belong, especially if your family only uses them 1 or 2 times a month.
Try mounting corkboards inside of your kitchen cabinets to hang up coupons, business cards, receipts, etc. that you may want to use urgently and not file. They will be tucked away but easily accessible.