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Are you ready to clear the clutter on countertops and tables 1Is your kitchen table or counter top a landing strip for miscellaneous stuff – bills, keys, chargers, junk mail, school notes, bags, tags, receipts, newspapers, toys, thingies and more?  


You are not alone in this challenge; the kitchen counter is one of the most cluttered spaces in homes.  It is such an convenient place to drop things when you walk in the house that it naturally gathers ‘stuff’.

Have you tried putting a basket there to gather the stuff, only to have the basket quickly get filled up and overflow?  Have you yelled and nagged to all the family to clear the crap, only to have them ignore you?  Have you spent hours cleaning the space up to look clear and calm for a bit, only for it to fill back in?

Are you ready to tame that counter top chaos?

Here’s some steps to help you do it:

Step 1 – Understand What it is -  First you have to understand what all the stuff that is gathering is.  Sorting each item into like piles so you can actually visually see what it is.  You may have piles such as junk mail, school notices, newspapers, receipts, makeup, cords, glasses and any number of other stuff.  It is important to really see what it all is, that becomes the base of any organizing system.

Step 2 – Eliminate the garbage – Take a look at your pile and see how much of it is garbage.  Often a lot of stuff that gathers is stuff that just did not make it to the garbage or recycle bin.  If this is the case then keep in mind you need to have a garbage close to this area, even if it is just a little bucket garbage can for papers as they come into the space. 

Step 3 – Create a Home. Take a look at what is left, this is where you will get the ideas for what needs organized.  Creating a home and a system for this stuff is the key to keeping the clutter under control.

Are there a lot of things that have a home elsewhere in your house but just did not make it back there – like toys or electronics?  Create a temporary space that holds all these misplaced things.

Have a basket for each person in the house where their stuff gets placed in it for them to clean up and take care of. Make it a habit before meals or before bedtime to hand everyone their baskets to go put things away…or if daily is too much, do it once a week. Giving a home to this stuff and a system to get it off the counter will take some habit breaking and remaking but it can be done!

When my kids were young and we had more stuff laying around, I actually had a whole drawer for counter top junk.  I would dump all the stuff left on my counters into this drawer, so when anyone was looking for their junk that they left lying around they knew where to look. Once a month I would clean it out, they were all warned to go through the drawer and get their stuff out…otherwise I was going to throw it out or give it away.   My drawer was a big one and I had a few baskets to subdivide the stuff.  It’s funny now as I look at that drawer and wonder where I put all the kitchen things that are now in it, the reality at the time was it was more important to have a space for all that junk to save my sanity then it was to have the baking dishes that are now in it. This is where you have to make decisions on the best use of your space for where you are NOW…knowing as things change so can your space use.

file organizerStep 4 – Tame the paper.  Paper is often a big issue on counters.  A lot of people, if they do have a filing system, have it someplace like an office or basement desk area.  Unfortunately, the bulk of paper comes into the main space like the kitchen and more often then not gets dropped there ‘for now’ and never leaves.  I suggest you create a paper system that will work where the paper actually flows into.  Having a place to put bills, school notices, coupons and other stuff will stop it from getting dropped on the counter and creating counter clutter. A table top file container works wonders as does a bulletin board for notices and such.

Clutter is just unmade decisions. Kitchen counter and table clutter gathers when you drop things there ‘just for now’. Creating an easy to use system can make it easier to decide what to do with that clutter. Dedication to use the system can help keep that clutter at bay. It may still gather occasionally but if you have a place to put it, the time it takes to tidy up will be reduced!  In this busy world we live in saving time and brain power is a necessity!

Now go tackle that clutter and send me a picture of your clear counters or of you actually having a meal at your table!  

If you want to get more declutter tips, tricks and stay up to date on any events sign up today for our weekly Newsletter (I promise we will not clutter up your inbox) Click here to subscribe : https://kaossolutions.activehosted.com/f/40

Kim


Bonus Tip: One way to keep the clutter off the table is to decide to eat at the table everyday…so you HAVE to keep it clutter free. Some clients I have actually keep their table set all the time in order to break themselves of the habit of putting other junk on it.  A table that is already set will gather no clutter as it is already in use, and it looks pretty too!

table is set

Organizing Your Wrapping Center 1I had a client this weekend ask me what I do with gift bags and bows and all that fun wrapping stuff that can clutters up spaces. So I thought I would share with you what I do.

I keep all my bags and tissue paper in a clear plastic container so I have easy access to it when I need it. This is the box I use the most as I prefer the easy use of bags and some tissue paper over having to wrap things with paper.  I also like the fact that bags & tissue are reusable so there is less waste.

ribbon box 600Bows and ribbons are kept in another box...although looking at this I now feel I have way too many. Full disclosure- I use to have a side business where I made and sold gift baskets. Most of these ribbons are leftovers from that business as I just don't use them that much anymore. After taking this picture I realize I have not bought ribbon in over 10 years and it is time to reduce it a bit as obviously I won't use it that fast. Yes even I have more stuff than I need sometimes.  Understand that most clutter is unmade decisions...I have just not taken the time to make the decision to let some of this go, I just realized it will seriously take me another 10 years or more to use all this ribbon. I do not need it or use it!  So I am letting some of it go!

wrapping paperI have another container for wrapping paper, bubble wrap and a brown packing paper roll as we do have family who live on the other side of the country so we do ship things that way occasionally.  Again I do not have a lot of paper and if I did not have a big house I really would not have this large of a container for paper.  Right now it works.  One idea I have used for clients in small spaces is hanging garment bags with all the wrapping stuff in it so it fits nicely in a closet and does not take up much space.  

How do you store your wrapping paper?  Share with us any cool ideas that work for you, we love to see new ideas!

Come over and join us in our Facebook Group as well for more support and ideas.

www.ClutterSupportGroup.com

Kim

 

Camping Lesson How Much Stuff Do I Really Need To Survive My husband and I went camping this weekend for the first time in years…well to be totally honest we cheated a little, even though we were in the campground at Fundy Park we stayed in one of the parks permanent tents called an Otentik. It was a good compromise as we do not own a trailer and my body said no to sleeping on the ground in a tent lol. The Otentik was like a little cabin in the woods.

It was exciting to get back to the wilderness and enjoy a few days in the woods hiking and sitting around the campfire. During the weekend I had a big aha moment as I was doing the dishes from our breakfast. I realized how little we really need to be happy and enjoy life. EVERYTHING I needed to cook with, eat off of, drink from and clean with fit in one box. Yes, one box! I have a huge kitchen at home, with LOTS of stuff in it, but when push comes to shove I only really need ONE box of stuff to survive and be happy with. It was a clarity moment about how much stuff we surround ourselves with that we don’t actually need, and that the maintenance of that much stuff takes up valuable time to keep it clean, valuable space to house it and valuable brain power to think about it. Less stuff = more time for peace and fun!

camping boxWhen I was camping it was so easy to decide what pot to use as I only had two – one big and one little. It was easy to clean up after too, as we only had a few dishes that took us less than 10 minutes to clean – without a dishwasher too! It was great, and left a lot of time to relax by the fire, hike on the trails and visit with other campers.

So my challenge to you this week is to think about what you REALLY need to survive. Could reducing the amount of stuff surrounding you clear the way for you to have more time and space to enjoy your life? Does all that stuff you have actually make your life simpler or does it make it more complicated, cluttered and overwhelming?

Think about it! And if you are ready to tackle the excess and reduce what you own, come join my Facebook group where I share inspiration, motivation and information on living a clutter free life. There is a video in the group about my lesson learned on this trip, check it out:

www.ClutterSupportGroup.com

Come connect with us today!

Kim

inside otentikme and the otentik

Toy Room OrganizingKids toys can sometimes take over a space and you can feel that you live in a toy store after a hurricane goes through it. The important thing to remember when deciding on storage solutions for kids’ toys is that it has to be easy for the kids to put their things away. As a former preschool teacher I can tell you that having a dedicated spot for everything and making it easy for the kids to know where that spot is can reduce frustration, time and tears.

Cubbies and containers work well as long as they are well labelled and the containers are large enough to ‘throw’ things into. If the kids have to put all their stuff away in a secret order, like putting a puzzle together in order to get the lid to fit, they are doomed to fail. Look at any reputable daycare center and they are an Organizers DREAM- EVERYTHING has a place of its own and EVERYTHING is labelled, even the scissors have a special stand to go in. there is a reason for this, kids want and need easy to follow directions, they are empowered when they can do things on their own and by creating a space that makes this easy for them you give them power and self confidence. Much better than the constant nagging and occasional loud voices saying ‘this place is a pigsty, clean up your toys’

rubbermaid with toys storedI am partial to large Rubbermaid containers with the raise lids, they allow the kids to throw their stuff in and the lid will still go on, they also stack nicely. I had several of these containers when the kids were young, for Barbie stuff, for dress up clothes, for blocks, for Hot wheels, for…well you get my drift. I encouraged my kids to only have one of these out at a time. If they were playing Barbies then the Barbie one is out. If they went on to another activity they were expected to clean up the Barbies, cleaning takes about 2 minutes as all they had to do it put it all in one big container, they did have a few smaller containers to hold the tiny little items like Barbie shoes and accessories but those never actually worked as it was too complicated to maintain.

playroom organizationSmall cubbies work great as well as long as they are labelled or at least the containers on the cubbies are labelled. We had one that houses all my budding artists creative ‘stuff’. There are lots of different types of cubbies, ours is a metal mesh one that can be reconfigured as our needs change. We got that one at Costco. IKEA has some great ones as well and one of the best kept secrets to buying great kids toy storage solutions is any School Supply stores like Scholars Choice, they have fantastic stuff, as that is their business.

Remember to not be too hard on yourself or your kids, mess happens when they play and we should all embrace the mess DURING play time. By empowering them to be actively involved in the clean up phase you can make it fun and easy so it becomes a natural part of play. Go visit a daycare center and when it is time to clean up you will hear laughter, singing and cooperation. The kids love it almost as much as the playing itself.


Will there be family disharmony after you are gone 1

Okay nobody likes talking about the end. But the reality is we are all human, we are all born and we all die. There is an end to your time here on earth in the body you currently have, in the life you are living, surrounded by the stuff you use. We don’t know when that end will come, it can be sooner than we expected or we can live a long time. But at this point we will not live forever.

Anyone that knows me knows, I am not afraid to talk about the hard stuff. I have seen too many families ignore the hard conversations while someone is alive, then they have to deal with making decisions after a loved one is gone while emotions are running high. I have seen families fight, split apart and hold grudges for YEARS all over ‘things’. It makes me sad. I want to shout IT IS JUST STUFF! But to them the stuff represents so much more.

I understand that the things represent more than the material matter they are made of. They represent the loss of a loved one, they represent control of a situation, they represent holding on, they represent feeling respected, they represent being connected and they represent thousands of other feelings and emotions too.

I implore you today, to think about who will be left after you are gone, what will be left after you are gone and how you can reduce family disharmony over your stuff before it happens.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

#1 TALK TO THEM – I know this sounds simple but it amazes me how many people cannot have this conversation. I know it can be hard, but if you have an open and honest conversation about what they may want, what you want them to have, who gets what…it can save a lot of heartache later.

#2 WRITE IT DOWN – Write letters to those that will be left behind, let them know in writing what your wishes are and lovingly ask them to respect and love each other through the hard times. Written words can be powerful!

#3 LABEL THINGS - Have labels on bigger things, so when your ‘stuff’ is being cleared out, they will know who gets what according to your wishes. Just don’t make them take stuff they do not want…make it their choice please, ask before you label!

#4 MAKE THEM PLAY – if siblings or other family members cannot come to an agreement over who gets what, leave them instructions that they must play a game to see who gets it. Rock, paper, scissors works well and can break the tension.

#5 DON’T HAVE A LOT OF STUFF – You know I had to add this one in, right? Living simplistically and reducing what you have now will make it so much easier for family to settle after. Less stuff, means less stuff to fight about.

The loss of a loved one is always an emotional time, it brings out the best and worst in us. Family disharmony is commom, too common for my liking. Setting the stage and opening communication early in life makes dealing with a sad loss so much easier. Encouraging our loved ones to support and work with each other during that sad time, instead of against each other, leaves a legacy of love and understanding that far outreaches the ‘STUFF’ left behind.

You are NOT your stuff…ensure today that your family know that!

Xox Kim