Week 3 of the Clever Girl Organizing Challenge: In the Kitchen, part 3

It’s our third week in this stretch of our 16 week challenge, and we’re going to wrap up the heavy work in the kitchen (we’re going to come back in a few weeks to work on glassware/cups, but that’s another assignment.)  This week, we’re going to focus on some of the non-food ares in the kitchen.  You know what I’m hinting at, right? 

16 challenge


Week 3:  Surfaces and Stash Spots


Level 1 Challenge: Stash spots:  Under the sink, and the other drawers (junk drawer, dish towels, etc.) that you haven’t already done. 

How to tackle this one:  These, again, are going to be best done by clearing everything out, giving a good wipe down, and then making decisions about what you still need to keep, and if this is the best place for it to go.  For under the sink, thinking about whether or not you still actually use the products you’re storing here is key. 

Junk drawer… I know, I know.  It’s hard.  You’re going to find lots of things that may really have no other home, or, this has just become its home by default.  If you find truly that everything you keep in there should still stay in here, then tidy it up. Use smaller containers for different categories of items.  But think critically… do you need a 5th charger? Do you really need this many pens (and do they actually work)? Are you *sure* you know what the cord goes to?  Is that battery still good? You know how to test batteries, right? 

Take your battery, and drop it on a hard surface on its end.  If it lands solidly with a thump, it’s good.  If it bounces a bit, it’s bad.  

Why does this work? Apparently, when the alkaline in the battery breaks down, it creates a gas inside. That allows it to be bouncier.   

Level 2 Challenge:  The surfaces — the counters, the buffets, the table, etc.   Some of you may have been addressing this naturally as the first weeks of the challenge have gone by.  But maybe you haven’t. Dealing with surfaces means a few things:

  • Items may have ended up here because they  don’t have other homes.
  • Items may be here because they go somewhere else, and you just haven’t moved them yet. 
  • You may be using this space as a communication vehicle:  “If I leave this here, my husband will see it and do something with it”
  • You may have a number of items you keep out all the time as their home, but you don’t access them often (think: small appliances, canisters, etc.) 
  • And, I’m sure I could find other examples of items that are your surfaces right now


Honestly, for some of you, this might be the biggest challenge that we’ve taken on so far.  It means making decisions about things that you’ve been able to ignore for a while. It means assigning homes for things that may not have one yet.  It means facing some things you didn’t want to face.  

There are a couple of reasons we’re doing this:

1. Having lots of items on your counters and table and surfaces can really be clutter, and even organized items can be visual clutter.  Visual clutter can cause stress, and for a lot of people, they don’t need to have additional stress added to their life just from spending time in their kitchen at the end of a long day.

2. The kitchen is often the space where items that were deemed important can get lost.  There exists the possibility that your kitchen might be one of those kitchens. 

3.  Our continued goal in getting organized is making sure you can live the life you want to live in your home, the live it the way you want to live it.  Reduced stress, room to work and get things accomplished, finding what you want and what you need as soon as you need it, etc.   Having your counters and surfaces full of items can get in the way of achieving every aspect of this goal. 

How to tackle this one: Start small.  Start with one pile, one zone, one view, one square foot.  When you’ve completed it, keep moving.  Have a box or basket ready for “going somewhere else”, so that you can corral those items and then deliver them to their homes when you’re done. Keep asking yourself: “Do I have a good reason for keeping this, or is it here just because I haven’t come up with a reason not to?” Do this assignment over several days if you have to. 

You’ve already seen the benefit of taking before and after pictures, and this assignment is not different. Before pictures will help you see the things that aren’t jumping out at you; really take a look at them. 

Pace yourself, and finish the kitchen strong!  Next week, we’re heading in to start tackle clothing… 




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