OK - the kitchen counter is finally organized!! Woo Hoo!! The "before" shot doesn't actually look as bad as it was. There was a pile of paperwork and mail that had to be sorted under the present. Also, the spice rack was overflowing with items so I needed to go through and throw out some spices that were too old or I just was never going to use.
Organizing the counter took a lot longer than I expected. There were a few things that were going on that held me up. First, good friends of ours moved out of the country, back home to the Netherlands (boo hoo). They brought over 3 boxes full of pantry and fridge items in case I could use them. So in the middle of my organizing project, I get handed more stuff! I appreciated that they were thinking of us but it did take awhile to sort through everything and then figure out where to put items we were keeping. You should have seen the kitchen counter during that process :}
Once I sorted through all their food, I decided to give any we weren't keeping to a local food bank. I decided this would be a good time to go through my pantry and add some items. So I was able to do some organizing of our pantry, although not completely.
Then, I needed to finalize some upcoming vacation plans so we would have a place to stay. I get really into planning for vacations and love reading travel books about the area and looking on the web so this took a lot of time. I got it done, though, and I've got to say, we got some great deals! I learned that it pays to not only look on the web for deals but to call the actual properties, too.
Finally, we had conferences with both my sons' teachers last week. My sons go to year-round school so it was conference time. That always takes up a chunk of time. So there were a few things that slowed me down during this part of my organizing project.
But I love the way the kitchen counter looks now, and so does my husband. I learned a few things during this process. First, I need an "office" area in my kitchen because I need these items on a daily basis. So I set it up in the right-hand corner. The trick is to keep it organized so it doesn't overflow to the rest of the counter. Second, I need an area where I can stash mail and paperwork that I need to work on during the week. I want it out of sight or it looks too messy, but there was nowhere to put it. So I cleared out one of our drawers so I can stash these items there. The biggest challenge of that will be to make sure it's not "out of sight, out of mind" - I need to regularly look through that drawer. Finally, the mail and the boys' schoolwork really piles up quickly and I need to tackle that on a daily basis to not get overwhelmed, which is sometimes hard to do when things get crazy.
Now I'm going to work on our living room. A lot of items (books, toys, etc.) get piled up on side tables and a chest. I want these to look streamlined and get everything to its proper place. On to the next project...