Little Things Can Make All the Difference

Over the last few weeks I’ve been slowly reworking some of our organizing systems.  Tweaking them to fit our new home and the demands of a busy school year.  In my mini adventures I’ve discovered something that I never really thought about before:  Sometimes it isn’t the system that needs tweaking, sometimes it is the items around it that are causing the problem.  Case in point, the paper part of our drop zone.  It was slowly getting out of control, and I was kind of lost as how to fix it.  Then one morning I was making coffee and an idea hit.  Maybe it’s the stuff AROUND the drop zone that is causing interference.

Problem Area

Pretty cluttered huh?  This is why the problem started.  In our old home, our kitchen was seriously lacking counter space.  So we had to pick and choose what we kept out.  The coffee maker and kettle won that contest as we use them almost daily.  The espresso machine, coffee grinder and french press were given homes in cupboards and the pantry, and we used them less and less.  Travis is a BIG coffee fan, and it always made me a little sad that he couldn’t use the espresso machine more.  When we moved into our new home and saw this part of the kitchen that was kind of apart from the rest, we both thought the same thing “Coffee Zone”.

coffee, tea, hot beverage station before pic
Coffee and Tea Zone

I love having access to everything, but it sure did make for a very full countertop.  I used trays to help keep like items with like, and to help make it easy to clean the counter, or move the items out of the way if we needed some extra counter space.  Then I added the file box as part of the drop zone  (because it makes sense there) and it got even more cluttered.

mail sorter, action file, before pic
Drop Zone Before
While we both love having the espresso machine out, we weren’t really using it.  On the other hand, we’ve had unseasonably warm temps here, and aside from morning coffees and evening teas, we weren’t really drinking warm drinks.  It didn’t feel right to hide it away again, but I wasn’t really sure what else to do.  Since I wasn’t sure how to solve this problem, I left it alone at first, but day after day it niggled at me.  Every time I walked by or glanced at the area it bugged me, and kept bugging me.  Then one day I pulled out some of our platters and inspiration struck.
space, organizing, cupboard
Lots of Space
This cupboard is directly beneath the coffee zone.  That empty space was where I was storing our pitifully few serving platters and trays.  Pulling them out gave me an idea.
espresso machine attachements, grinder and coffee storage
Clutter Be Gone!
I moved some things around in the cupboard, and made room for the items that didn’t really need to be on the counter.  The grinder, french press, and espresso attachments are now all stored within easy reach, in the cupboard.  I put them on a tray so that when we want to use them they’re easy to pull out.  I tucked my muffin tins and loaf pan in behind them because I don’t use those very often.  And on the bottom there, you can see how little serving platters we have.  So, what was the result on the counter?
clutter free
The Beautiful Afters
What a difference!  I’m totally thrilled with the results.  I only moved a few items, but it made a HUGE difference.  I used trays again, just cheap plasticy ones from the dollar store.  They’re there more to protect the counter than anything else.  Especially with the coffee maker being under the microwave shelf now.  Having it on the tray makes it easy to slide it out to get the coffee going and to slide it back out of the way!  And the drop zone?
after pics, organized, mail sorter, action files
Drop Zone After


That’s much better too.  It is easy to get to it.  I have it on a tray too, this way if something spills on the counter the paper stuff won’t get wet.  Eventually I want to get a better tray for it, so that I can move it to the table to sort through.  For now though it’s doing the job it’s supposed too.
Just for fun, here’s one more before and after for you.
Problem Area
organized end
Problem Solved!
And in case you’re wondering where the carafe and sugar bowl went, I typically keep them on the table with me while me I’m working.  Less back and forth means more work done for me.  (less shiny objects to snag my interest!  lol)  When I’m done with them they sit in front of the espresso machine.
Anyone else made some small changes lately?  Do you ever find that the little things can make the biggest difference?
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One Comment

  1. I love the way you have contained everything on separate grouped platters. This gives me a lot of ideas for my kitchen!

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