If the kitchen is the heart of the home, why is it filled with so much stuff you love to hate?
There’s that incoming mail and outgoing bills.
Add the magazines, newspapers, coupons and shopping lists.
children’s artwork and notes from camps, school or sports teams.
Add to that
recipes printed off the Internet, items borrowed and items to be returned.
In most kitchens I organize, the dishes are
the least of the problem. They tend to have a home and stay put.
aggravating situation for most homeowners is the endless snowstorm of
paperwork on the kitchen counter. It gets sorted into stacks and spread out.
But then you need to cook so it gets put in one pile and moved to the table.
Next thing you know, there is some kind of paperwork on every surface
including sliding down the face of the fridge.
To conquer counter clutter, handle paperwork and remember those darn rented
movies or borrowed casserole dish, you need to get really tickled!
A tickle file does just that – it tickles your
memory. It’s so easy to use that you will wonder why you didn’t try it soon.
To get started, choose a container that can
hold a stack of file folders. Do not choose one with a lid. It should be
open-topped so you can drop in mail and papers all day long. You can find
all kinds of metal and plastic products that stand upright and hold folders
at office supply areas. For an attractive look on the kitchen counter, I
like to get a rather tall, rectangular wicker basket, which might have been
designed to hold magazines. Grab a manila file folder to take shopping with
you, and then you can be sure the files fit in it.
Take a marker and number a set of folders 1 to
31, representing the days in the month. Take another 12 folders and label
them for the months of the year. Drop them into your basket or container.
Now you are set to tickle your memory.
See the paperwork drifting about the kitchen
counter and sliding down the front of the fridge. Grab all of it – bills to
pay, class brownies to bake, committees to call, receipt for taking back an
item, and so on. Take each paper and place it in the folder under an
appropriate day. Put the bills a few days ahead of the due date, to allow
mailing time. Anything you have to remember next month or in future months,
drop in the month’s folder.
Each day, pull out the folder for that day and
tickle your memory for what needs to get done. If you simply do not have
time that day, the tickler file has still worked. It tickled your memory.
Move that item to the next day or the next week, where you will be reminded
Each day, continue to place incoming paperwork
into the tickle file. Now continue the memory reminders by dropping your
video store receipt in, to remind you what you took out and what to return.
As you come in the house from the library, drop your library card or receipt
to remind you of the books you need to return. When you have a brain flash
that you need to return your friend’s borrowed toy, casserole dish or book,
then drop in a note that will remind you.
You may wish to add a folder that reads “File
Me” for those items that you just need to keep but require no action. Place
that folder at the end (or beginning) of the week to remind you to empty it.
At the end of the day, return that day’s empty folder to the
back of the basket. Tomorrow’s folder should be in the front, keeping your
counter’s clean and you tickled pink that you are organized on a daily basis