Thursday, March 10, 2011

Creating a Mail Center - by: Carmel

Hi, it's Carmel from Our Fifth House, and  I'm back again this week to show you how I tackled a very unorganized area of my life - dealing with the mail/paper clutter!  Sorting through the mail is not my most favorite thing to do.  It seemed I just never had a good system for where to put the mail or how to keep it organized.  So, I decided to create a little mail center in the heart of my home (the kitchen).  I finally found a purpose for the "desky" area of my kitchen. 

Since we moved in last March I've been trying to decide what to do with this small area in my kitchen.  Here it is photographed poorly back in September. 

This seemed like the perfect place for incoming and outgoing mail.  The above picture looks pretty clean, however mail, stamps, coupons, etc. were usually stuffed in there.  With the help of my french wired tiered stand (Willow House), I turned this little space into this. 

I created a little mail/bill-paying/note-writing/coupon-saving/menu-keeping center!  WAHOO!  I'm kind of in love with this whole making-this-space-work-for-us thing we've got going on now!  For months I was so stumped with how to use this area of kitchen.  We've never had a "desky" area in a kitchen before (not in one of the previous 4 houses we've called home!).  I guess that's why I was kind of at a loss with what to do here.  Now, we're using this space as I think it was intended?

I took the top tier off so the stand so it would fit under the cabinets.  Then I cleaned out the 2 junk drawers below, and used an array of different glass containers (we already had) to hold office supplies like paper clips, stamps, pencils, etc.  I love those Maker's Mark wax covered glasses - a little nod to the Bourbon loving state we call home!  I also pulled my note pad and cards out of the junk drawer to make jotting down my lists and sending notes really simple and easy.  Not having to dig around for these things in the junk drawer is pretty sweet (in my opinion) and the ol' junk drawers have never looked so good.

I realize I won't be winning any Martha Stewart organizing awards, but hey you didn't see them before (it.was.bad.). 

I used chalkboard place cards that I had picked up at Target months ago to label Incoming mail, Outgoing mail, and mail we need to Keep (like invitations).  So, bills that need to be paid go into the incoming slot and then once they're paid they go into the outgoing slot (I know - I'm a genius right?!).  And, yes I pay almost all of my bills the old fashioned way; only a few things get paid online.  Crazy to some I know, but that's how I roll.  Anyhow, keeping take-out menus easily accessible is so key :)  Also, love to have a place for incoming coupons that need to be filed away in my coupon folders (yeah- I've got coupon folders- don't be a hater). 

I used Command strips to attach the labels (I'm so in love with those things).  

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I'm using my Villa Stoneware Appetizer Tray (Willow House) for mail that has yet to be opened, our keys, and phones.  

I added this canvas purchased at Marshalls a while ago to add a pop of color and make this area not seem too utilitarian.  

This little area truly serves a purpose now, and it really helps to keep things running smoothly.  That's always a bonus for a busy mom!  It didn't take much time or money either.  I used things that I already had on hand.  Repurposing items like a tiered stand that you might use for entertaining is always a good idea.  This way you get to enjoy the item all year long rather than only when you're having a party.  Also, looking at your glassware and ramekins as storage containers can also help to control clutter, and they make mundane things like stamps and paper clips look good :)  

So, any Spring cleaning or organizing going on in your home lately?