After polling our followers, asking our friends, taking a good hard look at our own house, the over-whelming winner of ‘What area in your house would Mom like organized?’ is the kitchen DROP ZONE! So, for Mother’s Day this year, let’s spend some time with Mom for Mom! Creating a system to help keep everyone organized is a great project you can do together, plus you score bonus points when Mom’s love language is quality time or acts of service. If your house is anything like ours, the kitchen‘drop’ zone is a source of contention. With a family of 5, we are constantly coming and going. Mail collects, car keys are tossed, and everyones’ schedules are lost. Worst of all,the drop zone keeps growing! Our area has expanded from just one junk drawer onto the countertop to include both the cabinets above and below. My wife, Pauli, and I try to do our best navigating through all of this, but it just gets overwhelming…so something (actually lots of things) had to go! Here’s an inside peek into this easy DIY project that helps get our crazy life a little more organized!
First, we cleaned out the cabinets and drawers that were the ‘catch all’. This enabled us to sort through the mess and just toss anything that wasn’t necessary. The kids had such a good time helping with this – they took turns shooting baskets into the trash can! Surprisingly, merely reducing the amount of clutter can be a very cleansing and motivating feeling for all of us. We also took the time to wipe down the cabinets and drawers to give a fresh clean look. We then separated everything into piles to get an indication of what type of baskets, bins, or other storage solutions we would need to accommodate the remaining stuff. Seeing the amount of what was left, we decided we needed a definitive separation of the ‘kid zone’ from the ‘parent zone’. Looking over into the kids’ playroom (which just happens to be right off the kitchen), we noticed the dry erase board hadn’t been used in quite some time… so we decided to repurpose it for our ‘kid zone’ organizational hub. It ended up being a great idea because it was already ‘kid level’ and in a space they frequently utilize. We printed out blank chore charts and placed them into picture frames. This way we can write new chores as they come up and the kids can check off when they are complete with dry erase markers (which have their own new holder as well). Each week, we can have a brand-new chart with no need for reprinting or paper waste. We also placed some clips to attach their school announcements and calendars for reminders at a glance. Surprisingly, the kids have enjoyed taking ownership and actually look forward to new responsibilities to add and the satisfaction of crossing them off each day.
As for the ‘parent zone’, this took a little more thought. After looking at the piles we created, we went shopping. We purchased some baskets for the cabinets and drawer organizers for all the pens, pencils, and little things that collect. We found that the pullout shelf in one of the lower cabinets makes a perfect temporary filing system by simply adding a plastic bin and a few hanging file folders. Oh, and the best item we purchased on our shopping trip was my new favorite label maker! For those of you who know me, you will not be surprised that I think this thing is the bomb! I labeled everything. Pauli now loves how she can easily grab the basket and finds everything she needs in seconds.
For the countertop, we needed a more permanent way of hiding the electronics and preventing the sprawl of incoming mail and other papers. First, we found an awesome tray to house all the mail that collects on the counter to keep it contained until we have time to go through it. We hit the jackpot when we discovered that one of our son’s amazing art projects perfectly concealed that unsightly router! I love the look of stainless but knew we might need a new a spot to hang car keys or photos, so I installed magnetic sheets behind the stainless backsplash. So all it took was a few heavy-duty magnetic hooks to finish off the space
and clear the clutter from the counter. What an awesome project to do as a family! Everyone now feels they have a place for their things and agree that it will be easy to keep it up. Let us know some of your success stories, or even some of your struggles – maybe we can help!
Disclaimer: this article was originally written for Up in Cumming Magazine.