The Trouble with Clutter is…

…it can tear you up inside, if your kitchen it describes, it’s bound to make you hide…

No?

Well, it does for me.

I’m all about being clean in the kitchen. But people, this is a house. Human beings with lives live here. We have stuff, we accumulate stuff, and when we don’t know where to put stuff, we have clutter.

Despite the occasional evidence to the contrary, clutter is not a spontaneously generated thing. Organization experts point to the fact that clutter appears when things don’t have an assigned place. This is key. It probably also doesn’t help when things are not returned to their assigned places, but that is another matter.

Here’s what I’m talking about:

Shudder. That is the view from where I stand at the cutting board during dinner prep. I can feel my blood pressure rising just looking at this picture. Has anybody else experienced that stressful  moment when you consciously choose to order takeout because you just don’t have room in the kitchen to cook nor the energy to move stuff to make room? And then you sort of shove everything to the side to make room to eat at said counter? Sad story.

Let’s take a closer look at the things that don’t have assigned spaces, shall we? As I cleaned up, I sorted things into piles of like things. Food, like the nectarines, tomatoes, and avocados got moved to another counter since I was going to be using them soon. Dirty dishes went into the sink to be washed.

That left me here:

 

Starting at the bottom center and going clockwise, we have: stuff that needs to be dealt with soon (like bills) and that usually belongs upstairs at Alex’s desk; bowl of avocados and lemon (which, as I mentioned earlier got moved to the side); stuff that belongs elsewhere (e.g., a present still not mailed to its intended recipient and stuff for my car); cookbooks that are out of place; wine…er…; bulk food items that need a storage bin or to go in my freezer; mail and loose recipes that need to be filed, but not urgently; keepsakes or trash; and recent food magazines.

Armed with $15, I set out to tidy this place up, and here’s what I came up with:

I tried to engage Nero in helping me, but he finds my organizing tendencies a bore. See him in the back there, preoccupied with his toy.

So how did I get there? Based on the piles of like things I organized in the previous photo, I determined that I only had really 4 things that didn’t have a designated space: food magazines, random recipes, bills that need to be attended to, and things to be filed eventually. Well, in all honesty, they do have a place, but we’re often too lazy to take them to their final destination immediately, instead preferring to leave them in random places where we foolishly convince ourselves we’ll remember to take them upstairs eventually.

Behold:

And it shall be called “kitchen command center…”

(Sorry for the fuzzy picture quality…phone photo…) As you can see, all those things that didn’t have a place, now have a place! The labels on those file folders read “Recipes,” “To be filed,” and “With a deadline.” I think those are pretty self-explanatory; I splurged on the nice glossy file folders with a pretty design at Staples to make for a tidy and fashionable holding space for those loose pieces of paper. The folders and food magazines are propped up using a simple little stand also from Staples (grand total: $12.98). I even added a little notepad that I already had for easy access to paper for grocery lists, honey-do lists, poems, etc.

Here’s another view of the before and after (and a long-ago promised photo of decor updates in the kitchen):

Before

After

What do you think? How do you keep your kitchen clutter-free? Do tell.

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4 thoughts on “The Trouble with Clutter is…

  1. Carrie says:

    NICE job!!! I love it =) The colors you’ve got going on in the rest of the kitchen are looking really swanky too!

  2. Rhimi Elliott says:

    Great job! Beauty to behold a nice big functional island!

  3. Harris says:

    Looks awesome. Loving the white cabinet kitchen. And the puppy in the background.

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