Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Organized in 40 Weeks: Kitchen Clutter

I decided to follow Lisa Woodruff's Organize 365 Whole House Challenge.  This week she is encouraging those following the challenge to clean up "kitchen paper."  Since I am both a challenge follower, organizer, and a blogger, I felt like elaborating!  What does kitchen paper mean to me and to you?

Organizing Kitchen Paper Clutter

First of all, your kitchen clutter may not be her kitchen clutter.  She encourages families to maintain a command central in the kitchen.  This means all of the paper entering your house would go to your kitchen command center.  This also means that when she tells you to tackle your kitchen papers, she is telling you to go to the place where your paper gathers and to start there.

Where does your paper collect?Do you have a family command central for paper, bills, and calendars?

My paper used to gather in the kitchen, then it would begin to gather on my dining room table, then it would begin to gather on my desk, and it might even have gathered into my living room.  What a mess, right?  We let papers collect and gain control of our homes.  Enough is enough.

This is why Lisa Woodruff suggests picking the kitchen as your paper station.  If your kitchen is large enough to keep a family command center to house the bills, papers, coupons, advertisements, and to do list components, then set apart a portion of your kitchen for this use.  If your kitchen is too small, then you may consider having an entry way table committed to this use or a family desk for a command center.

Decide where the papers of your home will be met head on and organized.

The "Saturday" Basket

Alright, so Lisa calls her basket a "Sunday" basket, but I choose to do my organizing on Saturday.  Therefore, my basket is called the Saturday basket.  What is a Saturday basket, you might ask?  It is your incoming paper zone.  Everything that you need to address at some point will come into your house and into this basket.  Immediate mail needs will be taken care of immediately.  The basket will be gone through once a week, you pick the day.

On Saturday, I grab my basket and I begin to go through the mail, advertisements, coupons, new store rewards cards.  I'll tell you what to do with those items in just a second.

First Step for First Timers

If you do not have a ground zero aka family command central, you can still get started on this part of the 40 week project.  Lisa suggests putting all of your papers into one big laundry basket.  Pull it all together in one place, then conquer it.

Here are my suggestions for sorting through the laundry basket of papers:

Take one blank piece of paper.
Write your priorities down from top to bottom.
My list is something like this:

  1. God
  2. Personal Health
  3. Husband
  4. Child
  5. Home
  6. Family and Friends
  7. Work
  8. Ministry
  9. Hobbies
This is how I file my working (current) papers.
I make hanging folders labeled with my priorities.
I make folders inside of each hanging folder with subset categories.
Under Home I have a folder labeled house cleaning, one labeled menu planning, and one labelled home organization
You can then group your papers into these categories.  If the piece of paper doesn't belong in any of your priority categories, then it probably doesn't need to be in your active life.  You can make a separate pile of papers that need to be filed in permanent storage.

Master To Do List

As you begin to group your papers, grab a notebook or legal pad.  Think about it, you kept these papers for a reason, but has that reason ever been met?  You need to add papers to your to do list.  You may have kept the Shakespearean play calendar, because you really wanted to go to a play.  Add it to the to do list under "husband" for a date night.  Maybe you kept a set of coupons and have been meaning to use them.  Add it to your home to do list and to your menu planner.

Your master to do list can be a very amazing resource.  However, be realistic.  This is not your life on paper.  This is what might happen in an ideal world.  Take a breath and you will weekly make a plausible to do list.  Lisa intends to get three home items done a day and three work items done a day.  In her life she realized she can realistically do no more.  In my life, I can realistically get one item done a day.  GREAT!  Then at least I'm closer to my own goals for an organized life and doing the things on my to do list that I put on that list.

The Clip

Lisa at Organize 365 also talks about her "one" clip that she uses to keep coupons, kid's papers, outgoing mail, etc. in line on her refrigerator.  I just bought my clips recently and since we are a homeschool family, I don't seem to be using it for kid's papers yet.  I'll have to see how they get used in the future.

The Gist

I mentioned in my last post (which was about 6 months ago) that you will have temporary files, working (current) files, and permanent files.
  • The Temporary Files go in your Saturday Basket.
  • The Working Files are filed in an easily accessed file tote.
  • The Permanent Files are kept in a filing cabinet or set of plastic filing bins.
All your temporary files will become a part of your to do list and become a part of your working files, be thrown away, or will be filed in your permanent files.

Any questions?  I'd be happy to answer questions and you can also join Lisa Woodruff's Organize 365 Facebook group page listed on her website.  Enjoy!!!


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