Simple Tips to Help You Organize Your Kitchen Drop Zone

Simple Tips to Help You Organize Your Kitchen Drop Zone

I don't know about you, but there is something about the start of the new year that makes it the perfect time to tackle a home organization project. Once I take down the Christmas decorations and our busy schedule slows down a bit I can finally breathe and take on some of those things that I have been ignoring. I have a desk in my kitchen that has become a sort of catch all. Papers the kids bring home, coupons I want to use, do-dads that probably go to something I'm just not sure what, all make a home in this area. I know most people have a junk drawer in their home, I have a junk desk. This is our kitchen drop zone. We all have one. A drop zone is an area, that when left unattended, will gradually take over. I decided to tackle this area that I had been neglecting and I'm sharing some organizational tips that I discovered along the way.

Several years ago, my husband installed built-in's in my closet. Organization doesn't come easily to me. I tend to be a shut the door and forget about it kind of person. But I did find that after my closet built-ins were installed and I had designated places for all of my things,  I suddenly became more organized. The problem with this desk and cabinet is that there just isn't any designated place where things go. I finally think I've instituted some organizational tips that will help keep my kitchen drop zone looking clean and organized.  Let's take a look at the side by side.

The cabinet above my desk has turned into our candy/cookbook/Idon'tknowwhereelsetoputit cabinet. The kids go to a party, they put their goody bag on a shelf. Candy gifts from Christmas find their way into a box or bin. Empty wrappers abound next to overflowing cook books with broken spines and random chargers and I swear nearly every single felt pad made for floor protection found it's home in this cabinet. We had taken to just shoving things on the shelf and closing the door real fast and hope that nothing fell out! Underneath the shelves, I have open cubbies. I "thought" I was organized because I found some plastic bins that fit in each cubby but really, each cubby just contained clutter and trash better.

The problem with disorganization is that you just don't know what you have and then you end up either going without, spending time you don't have looking for the missing item or spending more money to replace something that works perfectly well. I don't even want to talk about the drawers! It had gotten to the point that we didn't even attempt to open up these drawers because we knew we couldn't find anything in them any way. They were stuffed full of mechanical pencils with no lead, pencils that weren't sharpened, pens that didn't work and five tape dispensers because I kept buying tape rolls never finding one when I needed it.

Organizational tip number one: keep, donate, trash

This was an overwhelming task to tackle but it needed to be done. I started by cleaning out the drawer. I had a bag for things I wanted to keep, one to donate and another for throwing away. I removed the drawers and was able to dump the extra junk into the trash bag.

I used the AutoRight SteamMachine to blast away all the left over gunk and grime. I know, I know, AutoRight sounds like something you use for your car.  It is! Who doesn't love a good product that can work double duty? You don't need to spend hundreds of dollars getting your car detailed when you can detail your car at home.  Not only can you clean your car with it, you can also use the SteamMachine for cleaning inside the house. I love how the steam works to clean without too much effort. I simply blast the area I'm cleaning with the steam and then wipe out the mess. No need to use any chemicals. The only thing I use to clean is steam so it's safe for the whole family.

Organizational tip number two: start small

Once you get started and see the progress, you will probably get motivated to keep going. Thankfully, seeing the progress happens pretty quickly when you are working with steam!

I have several different types of stone surfaces in and around my desk. There is granite on the desktop and travertine surrounding.  There are different care recommendations for both, but the one thing that is universal is that I can use steam to clean them both.  There are some chemicals that aren't recommended for cleaning, so I play it safe and use steam to clean them.

I don't want to totally gross you out, but I even got underneath my desk and used the AutoRight SteamMachine on the trim. 

Next up, I cleaned out the upper cabinet shelves and set to work on getting those cleaned.

I have no idea what this mystery stain was but it completely went away with just a little steam. Seriously. You know how your parents always told you when you clean you need to put a little elbow grease into it? Nope. Not with the SteamMachine!

Organizational tip number three: keep it simple

I knew that the cabinet couldn't go back to the horrible unorganized state that it was in before. But I also knew that my kids {OK, me} couldn't handle a complicated organized system and since I'm always one to want to use what I have on hand, I took out some boxes I have been hoarding saving. I made sure they fit in the shelves and then got met with another problem. The hot pink boxes don't really "go" in our kitchen. I remembered some wrapping paper that I had and decided to wrap my new storage boxes in some of that. 

I would recommend using a really heavy weight paper so that it holds up well over time. I started by cutting the lid off of my box. Then, I cut a piece of paper that was a bit wider than the side of the box that I was covering. Place your paper down on the front of the box and start creasing it. Again, heavy weight paper will give you the best creases and once you crease it, it will be much easier to work with. Follow the creases and fold the bottom edges in like you are wrapping a package. I held the paper with tape from one of those rolls of tape that I found in the drawer. I continued wrapping the box. I cut on the creased fold at the top so both edges would fold nicely into the inside of the box.

I can't believe what a difference it makes and since I used what I had on hand, this organizational project didn't cost me anything. You know what else made a big difference? Those faux drawer fronts. Yep, faux. They are totally fake! I'm showing you how to make them on my blog so once your done reading about how to organize your catch all cabinet, come on over and read how you can make faux drawer fronts.

Organizational tip number four: get rid of any extras

I couldn't believe how many things we had that we didn't need and how it's so much easier to find everything in the drawer now that we have gotten rid of all the multiple items.  After taking inventory of the items I had, I thinned out my supply. Donate the items you don't need that are still in good working order. Think of local organizations that could benefit from your surplus. 

Organizational tip number five: store like things together

Once you have the items that you want to keep, sort the like items together. I have all my pens, pencils and office supplies in one drawer, while the other drawer now has all my adhesives and cutting supplies.

Your kitchen drop zone will always be a place where clutter will quickly gather. With these five simple organizational tips, you should be on your way to taming that clutter as it happens.

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