daily kitchen counter clutter help

lucy7280June 30, 2006

We are building a new house and a small (5' x 6') "home office" was incorporated into the plans directly off the kitchen to house all the daily kitchen counter clutter (school papers, bills, to pay, to file, sport schedules, etc.). A pocket door closes this space "to hide everything" if necessary...it's a great idea, but i would like some suggestions as to what to put into this space to help keep us (me) organized...i don't want a traditional desk set up....i would like a work area at countertop height with a stool along the 5' wall and possible a file cabinet, but then not sure....I don't need cabinets that close because the whole room can "close" if necessary...does anyone have an area similar maybe in the laundry area or off the kitchen that really works for them...any suggestions for what physical pieces to have built in to help?

thank you

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Will you also have a large pantry and enough space to hold all of your small appliances as well as enough drawer space in the kitchen? I'm asking to get an idea if this space will be used strictly as an office or will kitchen items find their way in there?

Will a computer sit on the counter in this "home office"? Is there a window in there?

    Bookmark   June 30, 2006 at 12:18PM
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We also built in a small office off the kitchen, and it's been very helpful in keeping all the papers in one place. I only wish I had pocket doors to hide the whole thing (a great idea, BTW).

I'd suggest making a detailed list of all the sorts of papers/activities (like bill paying) you'll be storing/handling in the space and then think out what kind of storage you'll need. I mistakenly thought my big desk would hold everything, and it doesn't by a long shot.

My two (short) filing cabinets do double duty as the 'legs' of my desk, which is a 6-foot long butcher block slab, much like your countertop would be. The filing cabinets are great for long-term paper storage. However, I don't have smaller drawers for little things like pencils, stamps, etc. I also don't have any above-the-desk shelves or cabinets (I have big windows instead) and rather wish I did for things like my address book, dictionary, garden journal, and other things I like to have out in plain sight for easy access. I'd recommend a few shelves at a minimum.

I'd also recommend a bulletin board somewhere in there to post important notices, photos, kids' artwork, or whatever to add your personality to the space.

Finally, good lighting is really important. Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   July 1, 2006 at 10:38AM
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Marie26, I am fortunate to have the kitchen large enough to hold all kitchen items and storage, as well as a large pantry that will hold food items, large serving pieces, and cases of drinks.
The office does not have windows, however it sits directly behind the large kitchen dining area that is surrounded by large windows, so when the pocketdoor is open, one looks out onto the dining area and then out onto a large body of water. the office sits between the living room and the kitchen; many plans show an extra set of steps in this location....thank you for your interest in helping!

    Bookmark   July 1, 2006 at 4:24PM
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A few hints for smaller office space. My office is about 5 ft wide with one file drawer and two levels of shelves. It's more than plenty for me.

My computer is in my kitchen office and I am at the computer for hours at a time. I do not like the counter height. I find the desk height more comfortable. Each to his/her own.

here are a few ideas for purging paper in you life.

1. Make all your bills paperless and automatic payment. I file the paper bills in the file drawer but I DO NOT need to pay the bill. I purge all paper bills after a few months. I am sure you do it for your mortgage, do the same for all your utilities. The only checks I write are things that I cannot do autopay. I write the due date on the calendar with the amt. Sometimes, I staple the loan bill on the calendar. I staple alot of the time sensitive paper that is absolutely necessary on the calendar, instructions for the kid's summer camp. etc etc. As you get rid of more mundane paper, you will realize that there is only a few pieces of paper that is absolutely necessary each month.
2. Get rid of all your credit cards except one. I buy everything with one VISA only. The VISA is paid in full automatically at the end of the month. I keep almost no receipts. Everything you buy is itemized at the end of the month and you know exactly where you money goes. Most big stores can retrieve your receipt if you have VISA number that you purchased the merchandise. This eliminates the need for receipt filing. (I keep the second VISA at home for in case of emergency, ie the first VISA is lost or if there is a problem, ie stolen number.... etc)
3. Have one large calendar on the wall that gets everything on it for visual reference and reminder. Hard to do without it... Try to duplicate it into the computer calendar. Use web based calendar so you can retrieve it from anywhere, ie work, someone else's home. Be mothodical about transferring it.
4. Keep important notes in the web based calendar program or e-mail program so that you do not have pieces of paper with info. Try to get the teachers to send you notes in the electronic format. Again, no paper.
5. you can chuck the local phone book and the yellow pages. It's on google.
6. You need to have the recycle bin close to the office. This is where the paper recycle is generated, as you sort through mail everyday.
7. Must have a printer near by for those times when you need to print out the mapquest instruction, recipes etc.
8. I do have a bulletin board that I tack a few paper things.
9. I have a shelf type of storage with glassdoor to hid the clutter.
10. I have a white board for the weekly schedule written in large letters.
11. I have one place where I keep all my season tickets to opera, concerts, plays etc. The dates are written on the calendar as soon as I get them.
12. Minimal office supplies needed. Stapler, paper clips (almost never used), pen, paper, scrap paper, pencil sharpner. Small baskets or drawers.
13. A little place for computer cables for the i-pod, digital camera, palm pilot etc, if this is your computer. \
14. Shredder for financial info is a must.

What I DO NOT keep in my kitchen office. My kids junk. They are not allowed to keep their toys, craft materials, markers, paper etc.

You need storage for CDs. If you allow your kids to use the computer and they will have their games etc.

Hope this helps. Go paper less!

    Bookmark   July 7, 2006 at 12:33AM
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