Tag Archives: kitchen island

Decluttering with Clutter Interrupted!

Last week I showed you lots of clutter pictures, especially of my Clutter (Kitchen) Island. I also told you that I found some new inspiration. Now you get to read all about it and see some progress and an after picture!

Here’s the story.

I was visiting one of my favorite organizing blogs, I’m an Organizing Junkie, and she was talking about how she was interviewed on the Clutter Interrupted Radio show. Well, I love listening to podcasts while I do household tasks like dishes and laundry (so that I’m not bored out of my mind), so I was all over it!

Once I heard the show (the hosts are Tracy and Chelle, by the way), I was pretty much hooked. So I listened to all of the archives, too. And they have great blog posts to go along with each radio show topic each week, too. Sweet!

Now for the show that inspired me and changed my thinking about my constantly cluttered kitchen island. It’s this one: Next Stop. The Clutter Zone.

On that show and in a blog post, Tracy and Chelle talk about the 3 Steps to get Started Organizing your Clutter Zone.

Here they are:

Step 1: Ask, “What is in the clutter? Why?”

This is the one that was earth shattering for me. WHY is this clutter here??? WHY? Why didn’t I think about the why before?? Maybe it was just the right timing for me to really hear this, or maybe it was my auditory learning kicking in, but it was like a lightbulb went on.

Later I remembered that I actually have analyzed my clutter once before. When I decluttered my master bedroom. That might be the only time.

Of course I needed to figure out why this island keeps getting cluttered and then make changes to help us keep it clear. And I’m not talking about a  general/big picture-type analysis, I’m talking details.

I actually wrote down a list of the things I found on the island and tried to think of why they were there. No, I didn’t write down every single item, but I did notice trends as I was writing things down. This is just the front side of the paper to give you an idea of what I did.

100_6994

Step 2: Reenact: Reality first. Ideal next.

In this step we are supposed to “reenact” what happens when we put things on the island and then talk about what the ideal situation would be. The way I did this was sort of interviewing my family members (except the 3 yr. old) about why they put things on the island and leave them there.

Gabe (7), had a cheery response, “It seems like a great place to put it.”

Ok! Let’s find an even better place!

This step fit in really well with adding to that Why list I made.

Here are some of the reasons that came up more than once:

  • Item doesn’t have a “home”/Don’t know what to do with it
  • The place to put it is too hard to get to, or already overflowing with clutter
  • Keeping things “safe” (away from the 3 yr. old, usually)
  • Keeping things (usually paper) handy, because some action needs to happen with it, or it has important information to refer to later.

I sort of forgot to talk to everyone about the “ideal” part, but I know at least the adults in this house want everything to get put away in its own proper place (and some of those places are yet to be determined). There.

Step 3: Use END CLTR to organize your clutter zone.

END CLTR is an acronym for Tracy and Chelle’s signature organizing method. It gives you the steps to follow to organize a space. You can read more about it in this blog post where they used END CLTR to do a Mud Closet Makeover.

So here’s how it went for me and the island:

E: Empty

Start by emptying the space. I do this for some decluttering projects, but for some reason I haven’t done it with the island. I usually just pick and plod away at it trying to get everything put away. It wasn’t working most of the time.

So I grabbed some boxes and bins and started removing everything from the island and categorizing it as I went, which brings me to the next step….

But first I have to say that it felt SO GOOD just to get all of that stuff off that island!

N: Name Piles

THIS is all the stuff that has been cluttering up my island! Seeing it this way also helps with the “What is in the clutter?” question. There was more paper than anything. A decent amount of kid stuff, kitchen stuff, and look at that trash/recycling that was just sitting on my island!

Categories of clutter from the kitchen island

D: Decide

This is where we decide what to keep, donate, and relocate. Most of this stuff just needed to be put away in the correct place.

I put away the kitchen stuff (had to throw away a few things). I put an apple bookend in the donate bin. I put the arts and crafts stuff in the arts and crafts bin (which needs its own decluttering). I gave the kids’ stuff to them to put away (I may have thrown out a few things first).

C: Contain

The fact is, I don’t want much on my island at all, so I don’t want to do too much containing of stuff there. Right now I have 3 things that should “live” there (and they could get kicked off, too): My fruit bowl (Which should only have food, not toys and paper!), my pretty flour container, and my paper towel holder.

Here’s my BIG idea for the kid/toy clutter that I know will end up there unless I can invent a force field for protection. I’m going to keep that blue container (from the picture above) in the kitchen and whenever I find toys and such on the island, I will put them into that bin. Then it’s the kids’ job to put it where it belongs! I hope you love that idea, because I do!!

Now about that paper clutter. Huge amounts of paper clutter. Guess what? I have a solution worked out thanks again to Clutter Interrupted! One new thing I have is an inbox, but that’s not all. I’ll tell you all about it and show you pictures in my next post! I can’t wait to show you!

L: Label

Not necessary in this case. :-)

T: Test/Treat

Now I need to test things out and see how they go. Right now things look good. I know a lot of it is just putting things away every day so that it doesn’t pile up to an overwhelming state. I may need to test out some different places for my inbox. I’m trying to pick a place that is not actually on the island, but near it.

I’m planning to test things out until October 1st, because that is about a month into the new school year, and you know school = clutter.

Can you believe I almost forgot to put a before/after shot in this post? The after picture is the “Treat” part of this T.

Clutter Island Before:

Kitchen Island 7-20-13

Kitchen Island After!!

Kitchen Island!!!

R: Revisit

On or about October 1st I’m going to revisit the kitchen island and see what is working and what needs to change (if anything). I’m going to put that date on my Google calendar to remind me.

Thanks Tracy and Chelle from  Clutter Interrupted  for helping interrupt my clutter!

And in case anyone is wondering, I am not affiliated with Clutter Interrupted in any way. I just love what they are doing and wanted to share!  :-)

I would love to hear your thoughts. Do you have a clutter zone where you would like to try this method? If you have any additional ideas for me, I always love to hear those, too!

I linked this post up with the Organize It! Link Party.

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Filed under Before and After, Declutter, Hot Spot Check Up, How To, Kids

Have you missed seeing my clutter pictures? Look no further! Clutter Island: Before Pictures

Hi Everybody! I hope you have been having a fabulous summer! I have. It’s just been really nice to spend time with my family. I love my family!

I really, really, thought I was going to get my house back in order (as much as I can do “order”), but I haven’t gotten very far. I’ve hinted at it before, but things really fell apart around here when I went back to work last year. I’m going to be brave and post a picture I took in May:

Clutter, clutter everywhere

I know. It’s craziness. This was a “before” picture. We worked on it the same day and improved it (especially all of the random stuff on the floor), but I never took an “after” picture because it just didn’t seem like enough improvement to me. It’s not like I cleared the kitchen island or the desk or the big stack of boxes of junk.

Oh my dear Kitchen Island, a.k.a. Clutter Island.

The last time my island was clean and clear was around October of last year. I kept taking before pictures thinking I was going to get it cleared, but I never did. So here’s a progression of clutter over several months in pictures! Fun with clutter!

Clutter Island in January:

January 2013 Kitchen Island

Clutter Island in March:

March 2013 Kitchen Island

Clutter Island in June. Layers of Clutter, People, layers!

Kitchen Island 6-20-13

Clutter Island in July. In case you are wondering about those red and white legs sticking up. That’s a decorated Santa container. Yes, Santa. Yes, July. That’s a Christmas DVD there, too.

Kitchen Island 7-20-13

Now this is when I decided to do the old 15 minute timer thing and work on it in chunks until it was done. Here’s a progress picture from a different angle. Well, there is some white space, right? And a cute boy!

Kitchen Island 7-31-13

I wasn’t getting very far with the 15 minute strategy, even over several days.

And then… I found some new inspiration that I can’t wait to tell you about but this post has gotten so long I’m going to leave it for the next post. Can you believe I’m leaving you in suspense like this?!

OK. I will tell you that I did clear my island!!! Not only that, I’ve learned a lot about my clutter. Does that sound weird? Anyway, I’ll be back soon to tell you how I did it and with some process pictures and after pictures. Yippee!

Are you having a great summer? How are your cluttery spots doing?

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Filed under Clutter, Hot Spot Check Up, Paper Clutter

Hi There, Kitchen Counters!

Tsh from Simple Mom was doing her Project Simplify in the kitchen last week, and I decided to join in. My kitchen counters were drowning in clutter and I needed to save them. And that is just what I did. I bet you would enjoy some before and after pictures. Here you go!

Before:

After:

Before:

Here are some of the things I had to deal with from the end counter there.

I had 4 mugs sitting on that counter holding pens, tools, and other miscellaneous stuff! I took it from 4 mugs to 1, although the paper towels are hiding the 1 mug in this after photo.

And let me tell you, I was serious about getting those counters clean. I took everything off the counters, including the microwave. This is the grossness that was behind and under the microwave and coffee stuff:

And here it is now:

Here’s another before of a little counter next to the refrigerator:

After:

Here are a couple more after pictures to enjoy:

I got a “Wow!” from Mr. RSS and it feels great to be in my kitchen right now.

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Filed under Before and After, Cleaning, Declutter

Hot Spot Check Up: Revisiting Kitchen Island

Every week I post about a clutter hot spot in my home. This week I’m returning to the kitchen island, which is the hot spot that started this whole thing to begin with. 

Oh, Kitchen Island, how I’ve missed decluttering you! 

Here’s a before picture:

I actually took a second before picture from a different angle just to show you that I did at least have a small area that was clear… (Am I just trying to make myself feel better here? Whatever works!)

Here’s the after picture:

The story with the island seems to be the same as with most areas I work on. After it gets cleaned up and decluttered, I’m able to keep it looking nice for a while, and then just a few things are sitting there out of place or “just for now.” and it still looks pretty good…

But then those items start to invite all of their friends. And those friends invite even more clutter friends until it’s a wild and crazy clutter party.

I’m thinking maintenance is key. Need to work on that.

I’m so happy to have my island looking clean and clear. I’m a much happier cook with more space. And there’s a more peaceful feel to the kitchen this way as well. And I do have some cooking to do…

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Filed under Before and After, Declutter, Hot Spot Check Up

Hot Spot Check Up: Desk! | Week 1

I’ve been checking in on a clutter hot spot each week. I take a picture of that spot and post it for all to see. I just spent 7 weeks on the kitchen island, and now I’m moving on to the desk (AKA The Desk of Paper Clutter Madness).

Tuesday night, I started instinctively clearing the island to get ready for my hot spot post. When I remembered that I was moving on to a new spot, I almost stopped….but I decided to keep working at it even though I wasn’t taking a picture of the island. Yay!

About 6-7 months ago, I did a major desk declutter/clean up/organize session, and the results were great. Some of it has stayed under control, some of it hasn’t.

Paper clutter is one of my biggest clutter struggles, and of course my desk loves to collect papers.

Here’s a picture of how it looked about a week ago:

But you might remember that last week I was hosting a playdate, so I was doing some major cleaning up. Our desk sits right between our kitchen and our living room, so it is very visible. I worked on cleaning it up, but in the end I did not have time to deal with all of the paper clutter, so I put it all in a box and hid it in the basement. Hey, at least it fit in just 1 box, right?

Here’s how it looked after the clean up/declutter/clutterhide:

And now, here’s this week’s picture:

Most of the clutter that was added there this week is actually because the kids were using the desk as their “teacher desk.”

I am planning to go through that paper clutter box. In fact, it is now sitting next to the desk. Feel free to ask me about it if I don’t report back with an empty box.

I hope you’ll join me as I figure out what works and what doesn’t with the desk and the paper clutter!

Other Updates:

  • I’m thinking about a post about the pros and cons of hiding clutter, since I’m becoming an expert on that, it seems.
  • I’m excited to show you some before/after pictures from the playdate clean up sometime soon.

I’m linking up with OrgJunkie’s 52 Weeks of Organizing.

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Filed under Before and After, Declutter, Hot Spot Check Up, Paper Clutter

Hot Spot Check Up 7: Kitchen Island | Ready to move on?

OK, just for fun, I’m going to use last week’s ‘after’ picture as this week’s ‘before’ picture.

Last week’s ‘after’ picture:

Today’s picture:

Some of the changes are subtle, but I’m pretty happy with how things are going. I’m thinking about checking in on a different clutter hot spot next week.

Maybe The Desk of Paper Clutter Madness?

That could be fun. 

Or productive, anyway.

Other Updates:

  • Still working on getting the house ready for a playdate! I’m making progress…and I’m taking pictures!

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Filed under Before and After, Declutter, Hot Spot Check Up

Hot Spot Check Up 5: Kitchen Island

Here’s the picture for today:

Not great, but of course it has been much worse.

I generally like to keep things light around here, but I have to tell you that I’ve had a tough day today. I’ve been feeling really overwhelmed.

I’m doing  a little better now. I’ve been praying about it all – that is so good for me. My sweet husband is a great encouragement to me, too. And I had some chocolate cake and tea (see pictured above).  Now I need some much needed rest. And I do have hope for tomorrow. Starting with right priorities, then one bite at a time, one step at a time. And not in my own strength.

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Filed under Cleaning, Clutter, Declutter, Hot Spot Check Up, Life

Hot Spot Check Up 4: Kitchen Island – and a picture question

Here I am at the 4th week of my kitchen island hot spot check up, and as much as I didn’t want to start it, I actually don’t want to stop! If you want to catch up a bit, here are links to the first 3 weeks:

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3 (scroll down for the picture)

The whole accountability/public humiliation thing seems to work for me, so I’m going to go another month and then maybe move to a different spot. We’ll see.

Sometimes I have really quirky blog ideas. Like maybe giving my kitchen island a blog of its own. Sort of like a 365 blog, except that I post a picture of my kitchen island every. single. day.

Quirky? Yes.

Crazy? Maybe.

A little obsessive about my kitchen island? Probably. Just a little.

Today I’m going to show you 2 pictures, both taken at approximately 10:09 AM yesterday. I often seem to have this debate with pictures that I take for the blog. When the light is low (indoors plus rainy day in this case), should I use the flash or not? Which picture do you prefer here:

Without flash:

With flash:

Sometimes I don’t have much of a choice because I can’t get the camera (a digital point and shoot) to focus in low light, but here I at least caught one shot that was decently focused. And then there’s the “flashy” one.

Either way, the kitchen island is not bad, eh? I’m happy with it.

And by the way, I’m feeling really motivated to do some fabulous before and after pictures sometime soon. I’m craving some big impact somewhere around here. There are lots of places to choose from!

I’m linking up with Works for Me Wednesday, over at We are THAT Family.

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Filed under Blogging, Cleaning, Declutter, Hot Spot Check Up

Hot Spot Check Up 2: Kitchen Island, and Thanks! (I’m talking to you!)

Time to check on the island! I decided that I would give myself a deadline and take a picture at 10:00AM today.

Just for fun, I took a picture last night at 10:00PM. Here it is:

Let's just say we really know how to fill up space around here.

And here’s today’s “official” picture:

Better than last night, not better than last week.

 On a happier note, I’m celebrating 6 months of blogging, and what I really want to say, is…

Thank You!

Thank you for reading!

Thank you for stopping by.

Thank you for commenting!

Thank you for your encouragement, your advice, your comradery.

Thank you for putting up with me!

I am blessed by you!

I have learned so much in these last 6 months of blogging, and you, dear readers, are a big part of what keeps me going! 

Thank you for sharing a piece of your life with me.  It means a lot.

What would you like to see in the next 6 months? Is there an area/topic you would love to see me tackle? I would be happy to hear if you have ideas or requests for future blog posts.

And if you want me to just keep trucking along doing my thing, that’s good too!

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Filed under Blogging, Cleaning, Clutter, Declutter

Hot Spot Check Up: Kitchen Island

I do love my kitchen island.

And I love to put stuff there.

Lots of it.

Everyone does. If you came over, I bet you would put something there.

It’s a big clutter hot spot for me. It’s a nice big flat space and it’s just out of the reach of our 1-year-old. It’s a  great work space. It’s just begging you to put something there.

The problem is that too many somethings are put there and not cleaned up and put in their proper place, and then other somethings get put on top of those, and so on and so forth…

The status of my island makes a big difference in how my home looks and feels. My post Island Watch 2011 gives a pretty good summary of how bad the island gets – with pictures of piles of clutter.

I am going to post a picture of my island every week for the next four weeks (I think every Wednesday) to help me keep it under control. It looks like it might work, because I stayed up last night and cleared it off.

So here’s a picture of the kitchen island today:

Other Updates:

  • The kids and I picked up the kitchen and living room, we swept the living room, and the kids picked up the basement/play room/family room themselves. Yay!
  • I still need to clean out the fridge and finish the kids’ clothes project.
  • I still need to go through those “hiding” baskets and boxes of clutter. My goal is to get through one basket by Monday.

What is your worst clutter hot spot right now?

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16 Comments

Filed under Cleaning, Clutter, Declutter