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Organize that Junk Counter

January 3, 2012  —  Written by Julia 

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You know that counter in your kitchen that everything seems to fall on?  Mail, keys, items that need returned or dropped off to neighbors, nail clippers.  Oy vey.  Ours is right under the microwave.  Because it is concealed on all sides, I sometimes pretend that company can’t see it–I’m 98% sure they can.  
Besides being unorganized and a black hole for all of our junk, no matter how clean the rest of the kitchen was, it still looked messy because of this counter.  So yesterday, on an itty bitty budget–I organized it.  I wanted to make sure my solution was something that was realistic–we are always going to have all sorts of papers on this counter to be filed, and some that we just need on hand–I needed something that could easily store these so it wouldn’t be inconvenient to keep it tidy all the time, not just for a day.
After returning items to neighbors and getting rid of things on the counter that had no business being in the kitchen in the first place (true story: there was a black shirt rolled up underneath all that junk?!).  I headed to the store.  For $5 I picked up a vertical paper sorter.  Originally, I thought of just using a stacked paper tray, but the counter is pretty small and a vertical one just fit better.  While picking up the paper sorter, I also got a small cork board that fit on the back wall so I could pin up and store smaller things (tickets, paint chips we’re currently deciding on, and anything else that we would normally hang on the side of the fridge). 
The chartreuse pen holder was actually a toothbrush holder I found at Ikea a few months ago for 99 cents.  I bought two and have been waiting to use one some place.  The framed peacock art cost me zero dollars and zero cents.  It was actually a Special K ad I found in a Women’s Day magazine!! You know I love me magazine “art”.
Cut to size and put in a frame I already had on hand, added something pretty to the counter that serves as extra motivation to keep the rest of the space looking pretty, too. OOOOooo Aaaaahhhhhh.

That’s my realistic quick-fix for a junk counter.  Do you have one in your home?  Please tell me I didn’t just share my mess with the world and am now standing alone.  Either way, I am so happy with our fresh counter. 
Before:

After:


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What do you think?

  1. Jane says:

    good move on the magazine art. that space looks idealic!

  2. Kate says:

    Hi! Love your blog. I clicked over from Young House Love and just have to say… I am a fellow magazine art lover! I’ve been tearing out my favorites for years and just saving them. :) Thanks for the motivation to actually display them! Your new corner looks fantastic.

  3. Thanks, Kate! Sounds like you could make an entire gallery wall!

  4. Thanks so much, Jami! Your house it beautiful and inspiring for us as well.

  5. Jami says:

    Hi, Julia. You are not alone, I have a corner on my counter that is the catchall and it drives Jason insane. I love what you did and need to figure out what would work for my area. Also, love your blog and have enjoyed seeing all you have done to the house. It is also inspiring me to get going on some projects of mine that I have been putting off.

  6. I love the magazine art and the space looks so much better now!

  7. I am ashamed to admit that I have about 5 of these little “clutter corners”. We’re moving in a few days and I’m definitely keeping this in mind. That’s a toothbrush holder? Get out.

  8. That little vase is supposed to be a toothbrush holder? I bought one too, and use it for pens. Huzzah!

  9. You too! Your blog is so fun!

  10. Hahaha! Maybe it is the “ch” sound. Ah well. :)

  11. the vertical organizer is definitely a good move. also whenever i hear the word chartreuse i instantly think it means pink. i know it’s green, somewhere in the back of my head, but i still see fuchsia.

  12. Jessica says:

    NICE. I was just sitting here loving the fact that I have nothing to do tonight and wanted to use it to tackle so major organizing issues. Thanks for the motivation. :)

  13. Victoria Bradley says:

    I need to do this to the table by our front door :/

  14. Katie Strawbridge says:

    Just found your blog via Better After and spent a good couple hours last night browsing through all your posts – I’m a huge fan! You guys remind me a lot of my husband and me – we just started a blog a few months ago to keep track of all our projects in our new house. Keep up the good work! :)

    Katie – StrawbridgeStuff.com

  15. Elaine says:

    Organizing is so fun! Looks great and so polished now. Love the DIY art!

  16. meaganbriggs3 says:

    I need to do that magazine art!! We totally have a clutter corner on our counter and I have YET to find a solution…

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