Organizing the Kitchen Command Center (Hot Spot)


It all started with a mess.  You know the kind.  It’s like a fire that starts with just a few embers.  It gradually grows until it becomes a blazing inferno!

That hot mess in our home always happened next to the fridge.

There is a small counter space between the fridge and stove and it has some kind of force that attracts papers and all kinds of miscellaneous junk.

Really, it’s just too close to the table.  Everyone that walks through the kitchen “temoporarily” sets their junk stuff on the kitchen table.

I don’t know about your home, but dinner time is usually one of the busiest times of day here.  My hubby often has meetings in the evenings, and the girls have lessons right over the dinner hour twice a week.  So, any junk that was left on the table was shifted over to the “hot spot” next to the fridge.

I also developed a bad habit of putting “pending” paperwork there.  So add the junk to the papers and what do you have?  A HOT mess!

This is what it looked like (on a good day):

It ate away at every bone in my wanna-be totally organized body.  I hated that pile.

I needed a solution.  So, I took some time to identify what kinds of papers (and stuff) were getting stacked there:

Bills, school papers, coupons, receipts, pending documents, stuff my hubby needed to take to work with him, department store and grocery ads, plus some miscellaneous junk like rubber bands, broken toys that needed gluing, books, batteries etc.

When I thought about it, I realized that there were really only a few categories which the papers fell into.  The miscellaneous junk I could deal with, but not until that pile of papers was tamed.

Although my desk and filing cabinet are not too far away (in the basement), I realized the inevitability of papers accumulating on the counter, so I decided to make this area my “Command Center”.  I came up with a frugal idea and made my own file folders out of some old ugly green hanging files.

I bought a magazine file at Walmart and made one file for each of the following categories:

Weekly Grocery Store Ads
Department Store Ads
School Papers
Pending Documents
To Be Filed

Grocery Ads:  I like to look through the ads before I plan my trip to the store, and this was a great solution for me to keep them accessible and organized.  Each week, I just dump the contents of that folder and put the new ones in.

Department Store Ads: (with those awesome 20% and 30% off coupons) are all contained and ready to go if I get the chance to go shopping.

School Papers: are now kept together and I can easily refer to them when I need information about field trips, projects, snack schedules, etc.

Coupon Inserts: I keep the inserts for a few weeks.  I don’t bother cutting them all out – I only cut out the ones I’m sure I’ll use.  I follow Money Saving Mom and Bargains to Bounty and refer to the coupons as needed.  {They are both great sites that match up grocery and drug store sales with the weekly coupons so I don’t have to!}

Pending Documents:  In this folder I keep documents like medical papers I have to take to an appointment, camp information, and whatever else is coming up that has paperwork attached to it.

To Be Filed:  This is my “temporary” file.  Instead of clogging up the table or counter with tax receipts, insurance paperwork, warranties and instruction manuals, etc., I just pop it in the folder.  When it starts to fill up, I take it down to my filing cabinet and file the papers in the appropriate folders.

I also started keeping my Bill Organizing File and my Home Management Binder there.

This system has worked so well for me.  The other miscellaneous junk that used to accumulate {rubber bands & batteries} is easily spotted and dealt with before it creates a mess.

Now, I feel great when I look at my nice clean, junk-free counter.


15 Responses to “Organizing the Kitchen Command Center (Hot Spot)”

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  1. Monica says:

    I just found you this morning while searching through other Linky followers. You have a great place here and I look forward to learning many new organizing tips. This is often a problem spot at our home too and I have yet to figure out how to tame it. But, you have helped me out a great deal. Thanks!

  2. wow, what a difference!! your file folders are beautiful!!

    • Ginny says:

      Thank you, Heidi. It was fun making them. I always find it easier to keep things organized if I like the way it looks. :) Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Dawn says:

    All I can say is I wish my messes were as nice as yours! hehehe Beautiful organization!

    • Ginny says:

      Yeah, well, my husband was the one to mention that it was a pretty “neat” mess. ;) That’s a picture of a good day – it got pretty bad before I made those folders. :) Thanks for the compliment though!

  4. Denise says:

    Looks great, Ginny!

    I love all your creative ideas. What a blessing you are!

  5. Ginny says:

    Great idea. I have a hot spot pass-through window with a counter between the kitchen and the dining room that I keep a basket for the mail and misc. papers but it seems to be always overflowing. I like the on the spot filing system you are using. Thanks for the inspiration. Ginny :)

  6. Erin K. says:

    I love your folder categories. I am going to use these ideas (going to using hanging files…but make them pretty). Love your blog!

  7. Freedom says:

    This is strange. Too strange. My counter set up is identical to yours (before you got organized). The calender is in the same spot. The fridge is in the same spot. The electrical outlet is in the same spot. The mess is in the same spot. This will work for me. Thank you!!!!!!!!!

  8. Kristy says:

    Any tips on getting hubby to use this set-up? my papers are tamed, but his are a mess!

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