Clear the Kitchen Pile

One of the things that drives me crazy is a messy kitchen counter. When the kids come home from school, their backpacks are emptied and their school stuff ends up on the island. The husband comes home and the mail ends up in a pile by the phone. Ack! And there it sits: the inevitable kitchen pile. Right? Yes, I know you have one, too. Don’t feel bad, we all do! In my post, 10 Habits of an Organized Person, the first habit I mentioned was to have a place for everything — that includes the kitchen paper pile. So, here’s what I do to clear the daily clutter.

1. Have a catch-all spot for mail and papers that need to be read and sorted. This spot, I found, needs to be out in the open and not tucked away somewhere, otherwise the papers will just pile up. {Out of sight, out of mind.} I have chosen to incorporate my “pile” into this tiered plate holder. The bottom plate holds the paperwork, while the top holds {very ripe} bananas or other such fruit. {Hmm…someone needs to make banana bread or smoothies.} You can choose to make your spot anything: a cute bowl, a basket, a tray, a pretty file box. The goal is that by the end of the day, that “spot” is empty, so when you walk into the kitchen in the morning you’re not faced with a pile of papers.

kitchen pile

2. Go through the mail right away. Our mail comes late in the afternoon, so my husband usually brings it in when he comes home from work. I/we sort the mail on the kitchen island, where the pull-out garbage and recycling bins are located. (If you’re pile is not in the kitchen, make sure you have a recycling container near you.) I’ll make a pile for bills, one for things to keep, one for recycling, and one for items that need to be shredded. (I shred anything with our name or address on it.) All of our bills that are not paid online go in a drawer in the office (where the stamps and envelopes are located). Things to keep are separated into coupons, invitations, paperwork that I need to complete, etc. Each of those has a separate area for safe-keeping. Coupons usually go into my purse, otherwise I completely forget I have them. We have a mail slot for invites, etc. Important papers – such as field trip info, school forms, picture order forms, team info — go into a magazine holder I keep in a cupboard.

On a side note, one way to cut down on the mail clutter is to opt out of receiving unsolicited mail (like credit card offers). Simply go to this website and you’ll be free of unwanted mail and telemarketing calls in minutes!

inside storage garage

3. Have a place for the kids’ school stuff. The kids’ notebooks and iPads for school usually stay on the island during the week {unfortunately}. My organized self would rather have them stash their stuff in their respective cubbies in the mudroom, but to ensure homework stays front and center it helps to have it front and center. Am I right? Plus, we have an outlet on the side of our island where the iPads can be charged. In the morning, they can just unplug them and stick them in their backpacks. The paperwork that comes out of these folders, such as newsletters, activity offers, and graded homework and tests, all get recycled. (I usually save special written reports/papers they’ve done and file them.)

kids piles

Until we’re a completely paperless society, there will always be paper clutter. The key is to find a system that works for you. Spend 5 minutes a day going through the pile and it won’t overwhelm you. Cheers to keeping your kitchen pile tamed!

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