My kitchen always looks messy!
astor818
June 6, 2013 in Design Dilemma
Any ideas of how to wrangle the "message center"? We can add cabinets or shelving, but there is no other spot to put these things in the house. It's an open plan as well, everything is visible!
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Brenda
any chance you could make room for something like this?

[houzz=A Big Island][houzz=Conley Kitchen]
June 6, 2013 at 5:25am     
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lhisaw
I would use one or more of my cabinets to get all the stuff off the counter tops. Ditch the green plant and instead have a tall orchid. I might also get rid of the clock and the shelves below the clock, and put a really unique interesting piece on the wall there - maybe a brightly colored oil painting to give it a pop. Love your cabinets!!
June 6, 2013 at 5:28am     
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swibmama
Function before form. It first has to be usable and easily accessible. Here are a few suggestions. First, pare it down to only what is absolutely necessary. How many pairs of scissors do you need? How many pens, rulers, sticky pads, etc. Be as vigilant to keep it that way as you are to wipe down the countertops. Next, you might look at some of the craft/organizational sites on Houzz or Pinterest. There are lots of fun ways to store these things that make it look nice but still be readily available. Finally, if you want it covered, perhaps you could think "in the box." That is, a breadbox! Or an antique tin box, or an old fashioned wood soda box turned on its side to use as cubby holes. A box will look heavier, but it will keep it all from view. Whichever look you prefer that still makes it work, will work!
June 6, 2013 at 5:35am     
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Andrea Vertolli
It seems like you have a lot going on! Too many different surfaces- wood, glass, metal, black counters- with no cohesion. What is that above the sink- tile?mirror?a pass- thru? You need to put away all the stuff, only keep out small appliances, utensils,decorative accessories ,etc. then unify the space with paint, maybe paint the lower cabinets? I like the horizontal cabinets on the left so maybe put them on the right as well. A sexy faucet would be nice also.
June 6, 2013 at 5:36am     
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jmask
simply changing the tray that holds the message center stuff to match the color of the counter could help blend it in rather then pop on the counter. Also, match up the accesories, stapler, pencil holder etc. to blend them in as much as possible....oh and ditch the plant. A rule of thumb for the kitchen counter, if you don't use it everyday, put it away.
June 6, 2013 at 5:38am     
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swibmama
Those cabinets that Brenda suggested are terrific. I agree about minimizing stuff on counters. Our house is for sale right now so our counters are nearly bare. I'm never going back! : )
June 6, 2013 at 5:38am     
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Andrea Vertolli
Sorry, changed my mind I think open shelves would look better- no uppers at all.
June 6, 2013 at 5:39am   
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jclindberg
It looks messy because it is messy. Eliminate unnecessary clutter and put things away in the cabinets.
June 6, 2013 at 5:44am     
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sshipper2
I would recommend either replacing the uppers cabinets or placing solid contact-type paper behind them to hide the contents that are inside. You definitely have fun and unique cabinets but because they are slightly transparent, they are contributing to the clutter look and feel. Placing a contact paper or solid door on them will help eliminate this and help focus the eye. I would also eliminate the little shelving units and clock that are to the left of the sink. Finally, just removing some of the items on the countertop will make a big difference!
June 6, 2013 at 5:45am     
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Angel Tollison
Paint the lower cabinets a light gray or off white. When you look at the space, it looks like the top and bottom dont go together. I like both apart but you need to connect them together.
June 6, 2013 at 5:47am     
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hayleyyvonne
Put as much stuff away as possible and yes, remove the plant. Also if you can, remove the glass shelves under the clock and then move the clock down a little. After that, paint the bottom cabinets white like the top. There are just too many different colors happening so if you painted them it would really bring it all together!
June 6, 2013 at 5:52am     
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ftlone
The bones of your kitchen are very workable. The remedy seems somewhat simple.
1. de-clutter - as others have mentioned. Start with totally clear countertops then as a few things return you will be able to see where things become "cluttered/messy".
2. remove the clock and open shelving, remove the multi colored window treatments. remove the lower horizontal glass door unit below the 3 vertical units. In the new area created install a open horizontal shelf. It can be home to 6 or so matching canisters / boxes etc.
3. re-install the horizontal unit as a vertical unit (likely changing hinges) and install it vertically over the message center area. change the message center to a magnetic white board and try and limit its use to what is current. The lower shelf of the new cabinet above can help.
4. in the clock area - repeat the same color / thickness of the open/floating shelf be very selective what goes on the shelves in size and color- that will determine the feel of the kitchen
June 6, 2013 at 5:54am     
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allihappysnaps
utilise a small drawer if possible and get a stationery tray (you know like a cutlery tray) and put all your pens and bits n pieces in there.
June 6, 2013 at 5:55am   
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barbiecue
When I saw your picture, visually what looked too busy and the first thing I noticed were those tiles over the sink I think you need a quite subtle back splash. I didn't even notice the stuff on the counters until I looked for it. Your eye is drawn to what is at eye level get rid off the shelves between the windows and the plant it will help clear your line of sight and I think your impression of the room when you walk in will feel less crowded.
Who doesn't struggle to keep "stuff" off their counter-tops? I also agree with the advice of some of the others though. Try to get rid of what you really don't need on the counters. I used to have a "catch-all-basket" for bills and keys etc. and guess what it did catch everything so I got rid of it and it helped.
June 6, 2013 at 5:59am     
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Lonnie Clackum
I would consider buying or building a pantry storage cabinet which would give you storage for your kitchen accessories. Open shelves could be put on the side of the pantry to give easy access to items such as the pens, scissors, etc. Or you could decorate with collectibles and potted plants. You may want to browse Ikea. They have some pretty nifty storage solutions which would coordinate with your existing cabinets and appliances.
June 6, 2013 at 6:04am   
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boobooweebs
Why not use the drawer directly below the counter to hold pens, pencils, paper, scissors etc. and choose a deeper, darker, possibly lidded container to hold incoming mail? If you need to post a calendar/schedule can you tuck it inside a cabinet say, beside the fridge? Your kitchen appears messy not only because of the message centre area but because there is too much on the counters in every area. Try to work differently by getting things out as you need them and then put them away. Even things used daily like small appliances and cutting boards can be put away after use. By working in this way your kitchen will be less visually distracting and you will gain working space on your counters. The clutter in this room is currently at odds with the sleek, shiny, streamlined materials used in the kitchen. Remember: clutter breeds clutter.
June 6, 2013 at 6:07am     
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hollywaterfall
I agree that it is visually more cluttered than ACTUALLY. The backsplash behind the sink needs to be changed to make it disappear more. The cabinets need new doors or as another suggested maybe a covering behind the glass. I like the cabinet message center that was posted but you could also work with what you have. Move the clock and plant to where you want the message center. Extend the glass shelving up the wall to the height of the existing cabinets. Use the shelves for smaller items like spices and coffee/tea accessories. Do not have anything behind the sink on that ledge. Use the small open cabinet for things like a radio. The key is unity. Like things with like things. Even if you get some decorative baskets that are all the same and put them on the counters and throw things in them, it will seem better.
June 6, 2013 at 6:22am   
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treinen
Ikea has a great tamboured door tall cabinet that you could install where your message center currently is; this sits right on the counter: open its easy access to the phone and necessary clutter/closed and the mess is out of sight! Consider doing a magnetic chalkboard paint system on the wall just around the corner from this cabinet, add an Ikea Grundtal wall storage system here with lots of options on containers, baskets, and hooks that would let you organize things that need to be readily available. Look for boxes or baskets that will fit on your countertop under your wall cabinets to group all the little goodies that need to be in easy reach; place square or round containers inside to organize and separate. Replace the 'tiled' look privacy cover on your sink window with a white colored top down/ bottom up blind, or use a window film on the lower window panel that matches the frosted glass cabinet fronts (the tile pattern is only adding to the visual 'messy' look)
June 6, 2013 at 8:08am   
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astor818
Treinen, I was actually looking for the tamboured cabinet from IKEA, great ideas, thanks.
June 6, 2013 at 9:01am   
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astor818
Why does everyone hate the plants on the wall? To me they don't contribute to clutter, but add some vibrancy. Everything else, agreed. We don't use the drawer because my husband has taken it over. It's a point of contention between us.
June 6, 2013 at 9:02am   
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astor818
If you all look again, you will notice that many of the things that are out have no where else to go. The drinking glasses on the glass shelving for example, and the soap for the sink. Where do I put that stuff? Also there is a large espresso maker. The two windows are problematic as they take up the space for cabinets. Thanks for your suggestions. I would love to see JCLindberg's kitchen, and then write something unkind and unhelpful to him/her.
June 6, 2013 at 9:20am   
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suzanne_m
I agree with what all that has been said. If you feel it still looks cluttered, maybe you can add a little tier, 6 in. high to your counter opposite to the sink to hide the view from the open area. Also, if you like to have a plant, I would remove the one you currently have and get a smaller one that you can place on the tier close to the wall.
June 6, 2013 at 9:20am   
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jclindberg
I was not being unkind, just truthful.
June 6, 2013 at 5:08pm     
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Alicia Heyman
I smiled when I read the comment by jclindberg...thinking..."that really is the problem". I'm guilty of the same "messy" condition in my desk area and I know that based on my personality...that mess is just going to happen. In the kitchen, I have learned to create areas to hide things. I think a cabinet like the one that Brenda suggested may be the best solution. You can still have the clutter that you need to function There are pilers and there are filers. I put my mess in baskets and bins and boxes... anything that completely hides it. Someone else mentioned a darker tray...go for a darker BOX... with a lid maybe. And I agree with everyone...lose the backsplash. It doesn't really give you anything...and takes away from everything else. Just creates more visual clutter.
June 6, 2013 at 5:37pm     
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zusu
Is there any way to add a deep drawer to store the things on the counter that you need for message center when not in use? Dont know how much you are willing to do but...Get brutal about clutter. Experiment with cleaning off counter top and then walking back in your room and you will want to keep it that way because it will calm you !! Ditch duplicates or things you dont really need. Give to someone who does. Like the idea about painting cabinets to work better with the top treatment- the two things are fighting each other. I am always surprised at what I can do without after being around people who are neat freaks which I am not!! Pretty kitchen already-dont stress!
June 6, 2013 at 6:29pm     
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astor818
It's a window not a backsplash
June 6, 2013 at 6:59pm   
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hollywaterfall
astor-to the right of the clock IS a window but what is under the window is distracting. From the picture it seems like a tiled backsplash. Is this not correct? I also think your eye just doesn't know what to do because of all the shapes and sizes. Like I said earlier unity is the key.
June 7, 2013 at 6:07am   
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suzanne_m
I believe both are windows but the 'backsplash" you are curtains.
June 7, 2013 at 7:10am   
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Judy M
I'm confused! You admit your "kitchen always looks messy"and ask for help. Yet when suggestions are made you are angry at the honest answers offered.

There are dividers that fit in drawers that help to keep them
More organized.

The plant would probably be fine if other parts of the kitchen were less visually cluttered.

Your upper cabinets seem to be a sort of see through front, which also adds to a visual clutter.

Anything displayed on a shelf should be the same color to avoid the contrast.

If you have anything in a cabinet you haven't used in six months considering storing it somewhere else or eliminate.

We all tend to accumulate things and once there is not enough room for everything it is time to remove and reconsider items.

I hope some of the suggestions are helpful.
June 7, 2013 at 7:27am     
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suzanne_m
I am missing one word in my comment: 'I believe both are windows but the 'backsplash" you see are curtains'
June 7, 2013 at 8:10am   
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groveraxle
MHO: I love the kitchen. I would not paint lower cabinets, nor obscure the glass in the uppers. They are already obscure enough and they are beautiful. BUT, if you want this kitchen to look like the beauty it is, YOU MUST GET THE CLUTTER UNDER CONTROL. Sorry for shouting, but the crux of the problem is all the stuff out on your counters and you have to make a choice: keep it this way, or find a solution to make it go away.

Perhaps you can steal some space somewhere for a floor to ceiling pantry. It wouldn't have to be deep, but would need to have enough square inches to hold everything that needs to be put away. Then with some judicious rearrangement--things you use every day close at hand, seldom used items in least accessible spots--you could clear those counters and your kitchen would be a knockout.

Anecdote alert: in the process of gutting and redoing their kitchen, my friends discovered they had EIGHT cutting boards. Now they have two. I'll bet if you empty your kitchen, you'll discover all sorts of things you don't need.
June 7, 2013 at 8:12am     
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Vivian
I too am a clutter addict and moved into a very small retirement house. Take everything out of upper cupboards and sort into four piles. Use Daily, Weekly, Monthly and a few times a year. The bottom shelf is for daily, second shelf for weekly and top shelf for monthly. Arrange in patterns that look good when you close the doors. Throw out the idea that glasses go here etc. Make a coffee center and use the cupboard above or below for "coffee or breakfast things. Organize by function and you are more likely to put it away immediately. I would paint the grey squares (if they are window clings better yet) on the wall behind the glass shelves and put up 2 or three heavy duty glass shelves all the way across for a linear look unless you open the window. Put your dish detergent in pretty bottles and find a solid color ceramic container in the grey or white to hid your scrubbers etc. Easy to reach and off counter. Close to stove use metal spice racks or hang metal utensils as art. Cannot see that wall. Ugly bulky things go below and put the seldom used stuff to the back of bottom cupboards. I like to use the cloth cubicles because they are easy to pull out. Message center should be all chrome or stainless steel. Bread box for paper etc, jars for pencils chrome frame for cork board and paint the cork black. Office supplies have a variety of holder but you need lids so that you can hide things.
June 7, 2013 at 8:54am     
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jclindberg
Maybe you could use something like this on the wall shown in your second picture? I use a file for each child's paperwork and then one for me and the household. I got it from Ballard Designs, but Pottery Barn and others have similar ones in different styles.
June 8, 2013 at 6:54am     
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astor818
thank you for the helpful suggestion JCL and VIVM. Also thanks to Grover for the compliment on the cabinets. They aren't really mismatch it was very intentional, but alas they are 10+ years old. I might buy new fronts for the base cabinets. Also, so you all know I chose pics that were handy. My kitchen isn't quite as horrific on a daily basis. I've already moved the cork board out of sight and ordered my husband to empty the drawer under the tray. I will purchase some things for hiding daily used items. The squares are plexiglass "curtains" for privacy covering windows. The windows are one of the reasons we don't have adequate cabinet storage. All will be remedied I hope by a second rehab. I appreciate all of your input.
June 8, 2013 at 11:06am     
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hollywaterfall
Astor-if those squares can be detached from the window then imho do so. But if they cannot maybe a curtain or other window covering can be used. They don't look at all cohesive and unifying. Your kitchen is not bad and I think it mostly just needs to have not so many colors and textures. If you change any of the cabinets I think it should be the top ones and the bottoms are all the same. The top are both horizontal and vertical and a mixture of chrome/glass. If you rather prefer the chrome/glass look then I don't know what to say. Stainless steel would not work in a cabinet and your counter is already black so painting them black would be too dark. Btw, I like the organizer JCL posted and the canisters above that as well.
June 8, 2013 at 6:17pm   
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jclindberg
I actually like your kitchen a lot. I have been staging homes for the last 10 years and if I were helping you get your home ready to sell, I would advise painting your kitchen walls (especially behind the range) a silvery gray and applying frosted window film to your kitchen windows to give you privacy but still let in lots of light. Then, your windows would look more cohesive with your upper cabinets. Finally, I would have your remove everything from your kitchen counters and start adding things back in one at a time. The look of your kitchen is modern contemporary and it needs to be streamlined and uncluttered to show it off to it's best potential. It just involves some editing. The PB organizer I mentioned earlier is made of galvanized steel and a little industrial looking, which I think would look great. Then maybe add a magnetic chalkboard where you had your former cork board. You could also add some accessories in a fun accent color like orange. Just remember to periodically edit your stuff so your kitchen doesn't get cluttered again! It is a diamond in the rough waiting for a little polish. Totally do-able!!!
June 8, 2013 at 6:54pm     
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groveraxle
astor, I took the liberty of cleaning your kitchen a bit so everyone can see how beautiful it is. I would encourage you to look for a way to create enough storage to keep your counters clear rather than rehabbing the whole thing. Nothing wrong with ten-year-old cabinets, especially when they're classic shaker like yours. You might consider painting them, though I like the wood.
June 8, 2013 at 7:06pm     
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astor818
Wow that is so cool! Thank you!
June 8, 2013 at 7:07pm   
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groveraxle
You're welcome. Just so you know, I don't do windows.
June 8, 2013 at 7:09pm     
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astor818
Very funny, good thing my neighbor does! He has a window cleaning business that doesn't use chemicals.
June 8, 2013 at 7:39pm   
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astor818
I've been busy today. I think it looks a little better!
June 8, 2013 at 7:51pm     
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mkmort
You did a great job. Can you come do mine now? I think sometimes we forget we live in our homes and they are not always showplace ready. I think your window looks great too. Did you change it? Or was it just the lighting in your previous photo that made it look dark?
June 8, 2013 at 7:57pm   
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astor818
The window is exactly the same. It must be the lighting. And thank you!
June 8, 2013 at 7:59pm     
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Nancy Travisinteriors
Remove all items from counter leave only things you use every day like coffee maker. Yellow tray should be stored until needed. Lose stuff on walls you have a small rm any clutter is going to stand out.
June 8, 2013 at 8:04pm     
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astor818
I use the blender, the coffe maker, and of course the fruit every day. We use the glassware on the open shelves on the wall every day too. Unless I put an awkward cabinet there, there is no place for them to go. Oh we use the paper towels too. I look at the clock many times each day, we don't have one on our stove it's a Bertazzoni and very old school. Not sure how I could get through the morning routine before getting myself and family ready to leave for work and school having to drag a blender out of a cabinet. Maybe I need a bigger American style house!
June 8, 2013 at 8:17pm     
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mkmort
If you have a bigger kitchen it is just more to clean.
June 8, 2013 at 8:56pm     
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groveraxle
astor, it looks great. Maybe rather than a makeover, you just need to be more diligent about putting stuff away. I know: easier said than done. But if you could keep it looking like it does now, you'd be calmer and more satisfied. Honestly, I like everything about it; I wouldn't change a thing.
June 8, 2013 at 9:27pm     
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smdrovetto
Hello!

I read through the comments, and there are some very good ideas! What I was looking for was actually stated by you. You said your office is the same way.

What I see is that you are a visual person. That's why you have so many materials, colors, textures, AND all your '"stuff" out. I am the same way, and I LOVE your kitchen. If I don't have a lot of visual stimuli, my eye gets very tired. On the other hand, visual people often get overwhelmed by the need to have organization, and managing life can be overwhelming.

I did a personality assessment years ago, that had 4 basic types. The analysis was very interesting. It said my type often lived out of a shopping bag, and their desk is not necessarily a work place, but a recepticle for all the stuff in the shopping bag, and will be covered from one end to the other.

I had done the test at work, and had walked into work with a shopping bag, and was looking at my desk, that had become covered with stuff in about 3 minutes. It was kind of eerie.

My office mate and I sat back to back, and of course her desk had a tablet, with a pen neatly placed on top.

I'm not good at having a drawer, with small compartments that are meant to store the scissors, etc. They will NEVER end up there, because I KNOW I will not put them back, at least not right away, until everything has piled up on the counter.

One thing that DID work for me with storage, is I took a 3x5 notecard (before computers) and listed everything in the container and taped it to the container stored on a shelf where I could easily read it.

I have a spare room, and bought those wire rolling carts, and bought storage DRAWERS, NOT BINS. If I have to move a bin, to get to the other bin, take the lid off, and dig through the bin, it will stay that way..................at least for a long time.

Another thing that worked for me, was actually using the large plastic drawers (Sterilite) for some of my clothing. I used one for bras, one for undies, one for sox

It is a big cart, and the three drawers were at just the right level. There was enough room for me to easily put clean items away, and nothing was mixed up, even with one other thing. Because there was so much room, and everything was separate, I could keep it up. It was great in the mornings to have the basics, which is what I often spent time searching for, right at hand.

I think you know yourself, and what you would keep up. I know, I know, I have wanted to believe I could change, too, and I have a bit, and you ARE dissatisfied with the kitchen, so you are motivated.

However, it really looks pretty organized. There are no dirty dishes, with the pans hung neatly over the stove, the scissors are all together................You mention a job and family You may just need more space, and are just very busy. Maybe some of the suggestions to create more space will work. I know, especially if you have kids, the kitchen is use for homework, school projects, etc.

It kind of looks like maybe if you had more space to separate the two, (office, and kitchen) it might be okay.

If there is space, a paper towel dispenser, or 2, would help.

If you are a visual thinker, you may be inclined to save too many things that you don't really need. I go through paper often, including CATALOGS AND MAGAZINES!!!!! DO NOT SAVE THEM FOR ANY REASON! NEVER! I MEAN IT!

If documents, addresses, etc are a concern, think of how you could use the computer to get rid of paper.

The wall "envelope" might be good to drop mail in immediately when you come home, and a slot to put outgoing mail to grab in the morning, and maybe one for monthly bills...................

Don't feel bad. Katie Couric is NOTORIOUSLY disorganized. She told a story years ago about being in college and having to hide the dirty dishes in the trunk of her car when her parents came to visit. She just did a show where she had an expert at her apartment, and she still had drawers full of stuff.

I know the examples are not about your kitchen, but I hope something may connect and be translated into your needs.

You will find what works for you!

P.S. I didn't remember that you said you don't have an office space, etc. I got carried away writing "War and Peace! I just took a second look, and can see how well you are doing, with the amount of counter space you do have!
June 8, 2013 at 9:31pm     
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einportlandor
For what it's worth, I don't have a space in my home for an office or message center either and everything winds up in a stack (or stacks) in the kitchen. I've never successfully maintained an efficient filing system -- paper seems to reproduce while I'm sleeping at night. And I despise clutter. I finally created a system in my kitchen that sorta works for me and might work for you. I put a nice basket on a shelf -- it's for things that need action, mostly bills. Another cute little basket with a lid is for things with wires -- phone, computer and camera chargers, and it lives near an outlet on my kitchen counter. I dedicated one large kitchen drawer to files that I need to access with some regularity (bank stuff, insurance, etc.) and bulky supplies. I moved my junk drawer stuff into two small drawers -- one for junk and a second for office supplies -- pens, post-its, scissors, tape, checkbook, stamps etc. Now I can usually find paper and pen or scissors . . . unless someone "borrows" them and neglects to return them, at which point I get cranky. For the most part I've managed to corral the clutter and I can usually find what I need, although I'll admit that the basket is on the verge of overflowing, and the drawer is getting kind of hard to close. So in summary, surrender to the reality that your kitchen will be your office and dedicate some storage to it. Toss that ancient Tupperware and the bunt pan you never use to free up a couple of drawers, buy a couple of cute baskets and boxes, and hide the mess in style. Good luck!
June 8, 2013 at 9:44pm     
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PRO
LB Interiors
It's a great kitchen!. I admit, I haven't read the comments. I feel that everything you have in the kitchen needs a special place, a home where it rests when not in use. In addition it needs to be concealed, in a drawer, cabinet, container or put away out of view. I don't have paper towels out because it takes up counter space and becomes used many times unneccessarily. But I'm picky about clear counter tops. It seems you have enough storage.

Sometimes we just have to clean house. There are many items we all collect and never use. Find 3 boxes. Label them - Keep. Donate. Trash. Don't try to do it all in the same day. A couple of drawers or cabinets at a time. This helps alot. I have to do it myself periodically. It becomes overwhelming and creates anxiety. Proven fact.
June 8, 2013 at 9:46pm     
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ruthmand
Here is my solution. We have our phone with A/M, container with pens and a notepad, and a tissue box all in the same corner as your message center. We also charge various items at the outlet there and this has been annoying me for a while as you can see the stuff from the dinging/living area. Well, my brother sent me this wonderful family photo in an 8x11 frame that matched my kitchen cabinets. I set it up on the counter, facing the living area, and voila it hides the phone, etc. perfectly and adds interest to my counter from the other side.
June 8, 2013 at 10:12pm     
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PRO
LB Interiors
'Ruthmand' Glad you mentioned that. I did a similar idea on one of my cabinets. I don't like seeing my phone in it's stand either. The cabinet it is on, faces the entry and the dining room. I have a scripture in a frame that was given to my hubby, by my sister. It means a lot to us. Completely hides the phone.This works for me as well.
June 8, 2013 at 10:36pm     
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Alicia Heyman
ok here's something from sort of left field...I noticed the teal accent color on your stove wall. I have almost that same color as an accent wall in my entry (which is really just a wall in the room since I don't have a formal foyer...old 4-square cottage). LOVE the color.
June 9, 2013 at 7:39am     
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Alicia Heyman
oh...I looked at painting the window trim black but didn't like it. I have a small guest room (TINY) where I painted the walls a gold color and all the window trim black (bed is black). turned the room into a jewel box.
June 9, 2013 at 7:40am   
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Alicia Heyman
sorry too much coffee already. someone mentioned using the translucent window film. I use that stuff on 2 interior glass panel doors (scavenged doors). let in the the light but you can't see through. GREAT stuff and easy to do.
June 9, 2013 at 7:44am     
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jclindberg
astor818, I just saw your new pics and you did great!!! It looks wonderful! I'd still recommend frosted film on your windows for privacy with light (if you do it yourself with film from Lowes or HD, it will run you about $30 and can be taken off if needed in the future) and grey on the walls. I would also paint the vertical part of your tray ceiling to draw attention to the extra height in the room. It looks like you already have started using yellow as an accent color in some items around your kitchen which would look great with the grey. Keep up the good work, your kitchen is on the way to awesome!!!
June 9, 2013 at 8:03am     
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jpp221
As others have said, there's just way too much stuff for that area to ever look neat. So throw things out with a ruthless vengeance. Kitchens are for cooking. This one looks like a repository for everything.

Secondly, there's too much contrast in colour, finish and style. Shaker doors in natural wood but high tech uppers. That cluttered window covering. Open glass shelves.

Paint the lowers grey. Get rid of the wall clock (the stove, phone and probably ten other things are there to tell the time). Frost the upper cabinet doors more heavily. Put ONE pad of post It notes by the phone (scissors? When is the last time you took messages in cut out origami?).

On the left, it looks like those stacked upper cabinets are set askew. I would line them up again.

The window covering adds to the clutter. Instead, a simple, black mesh roller blind coming from the top will do.
June 9, 2013 at 8:18am   
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astor818
JC, thanks for the encouragement. Also thanks to the others who are positive. I will not be moving cabinets or painting the lowers. At the most they will get new doors. Love the painted version, but I can't do all blue! I may go grey...
June 9, 2013 at 9:38am   
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groveraxle
With all due respect, jpp, I think you're missing the charm of this kitchen. (You also haven't read the comments since you don't know that is her only clock.) The uppers and lowers are both modern and complement each other in an unexpected way. Also, the arrangement of the upper cabinets is abstract, another unexpected and lovely quirk. I think the simple lines of the cabinets offset the busyness of the rest, but that busyness requires that clutter be banished. Otherwise the space gets overwhelmed. It's a very workable kitchen with lots of counter space and lots of interest.

astor, I can't speak from experience, but a lot of people on houzz have recommended Fly Lady. She has a website and apparently has a system or systems for getting organized. People swear by it.
June 9, 2013 at 9:44am     
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jpp221
You're right. I am missing the charm of this kitchen. I see no charm presently. I do see potential, though.
June 9, 2013 at 9:47am   
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onthefence
astor, I'm one who loves the charm of your kitchen! You'll get to where you want to be - it's just going to take some tweaking.

Regarding your doors - I think you have an ikea kitchen, correct? If that's the case you may want to replace your doors sooner rather than later. I read an article a few months ago that Ikea was changing it's kitchen system. I think it happened in April. I recall mention that lots of new door styles would be out and they'd be discontinuing old ones. I recall some discussion as to how long replacement doors for the original kitchen systems would be available. I can't recall whether the new doors would fit on the original boxes - but in case they can't you may want to get your doors asap.
June 9, 2013 at 9:55am   
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astor818
PLEASE NO MORE POSTS THAT ARE NEGATIVE: Thanks Grover and Onthefence. Yep, it's IKEA! It is over 10 years old. We've already run into the door snag with the horizontal cabinets. As I've said, they may all be gone due to pending construction. Waiting for architect plans which hopefully will address the kitchen. jpp you don't get contemporary design IMHO. I live in a large city with small European built homes but in the USA. If I told you what a home like mine costs you'd be sick. It's valued, even with my kitchen that lacks charm, at about 325 dollars a square foot. So... I have seen ugly kitchens in homes nearby that sell for amazing prices. For a kitchen that cost me 3k 10 years ago, I think I've done well.
June 9, 2013 at 10:10am     
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onthefence
Oh astor, I'm sorry to hear about the doors!

I think your kitchen rocks at any price! I like Ikea kitchens - I like the modular mix/match aspect of it and think you've executed that really well! My area is a fairly expensive one as well. When I read the guidelines telling people they should spend 25 - 30% of their home's value on a kitchen remodel I just shake my head. Not going to happen ;-)

Hopefully your new architectural plans will address your current storage issues. If you end up staying with what you have, perhaps modification of a cabinet with some pullouts could help with some of the things that need to be in the area, just not immediately accessible.
June 9, 2013 at 10:32am   
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astor818
OTF, I was just looking at pullouts! I want the ones for the sink so I can hide the sponges. Undersink is a no-go as we have a double bowl so the pipes are in the way.
June 9, 2013 at 10:37am   
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decoratinglady5
Do not worry!!!...It will all come together..Good Luck..Nothing more to add..some good ideas were already given.
June 9, 2013 at 10:48am   
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onthefence
I think pullouts are about the second best thing ever. First best thing is all drawers in lower cabinets ;-)

I really like the idea of a tall cabinet on the wall where your message center currently is. My only hesitation with that is a personal issue - if it's on the wall facing into the kitchen, I'd find a lot of the area to be difficult to reach. You'd be reaching over the countertop and then many items would be up high. If you're tall with a good reach, no problem ;-)

I really like the suggestion earlier of the Ikea tambour door unit. I think that's an aluminum tambour, right? If so, it would match the frames of your upper cabs perfectly.
June 9, 2013 at 10:52am   
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tamaral
Why is it, Houzz goes on a blitz asking people to post their home problems--presumably because they are slowing down--and then a whole bunch of snotty bullies come on and trash a person's taste/style/decor/personality? Does Houzz not recognize the reason people resist putting up their questions is often because they're terrified of the nastiness. I know I am. Initially, I joined Houzz thinking it was a community, but the meanies (and the sellers 'buy my art' types) are slowly taking over. I do hope Houzz thinks of a way to move away from this trend. It's ruining the fun of the site!

With that off my chest... Astor, I think you have a cute kitchen, and you recognize you need a bit of streamlining and that's why you're here. Kudos for both. I like the choices you've made so far. And I love that teal, and the clock. One wee suggestion, if you have to keep the cups out and don't have a place to put them away, is to put them on the right open shelf where the tray is, and take down that open glass shelf, maybe bringing the clock down and giving that corner some visual space.

As for your original question: I have just bought a condo, with a wee open galley kitchen and limited storage. It's been a real challenge--and continues to be--paring down and giving away the dishes and kitchenwares I don't need, plus create a 'landing pad' / message centre. I have two drawers only, and one must be a 'junk' drawer with scissors, pens, rulers, etc, while on the nearest wall I've hung a smart-looking cork board that only has important and current to-do lists on pretty memo pads and a few cool looking cards that might pass as art. It's only visible when one is *in* the kitchen and so less messy-seeming. I only have 8 cupboards total in this kitchen, and that includes one for food storage, spices, pots/pans, dishes, etc. Every few months, I go through them and reassess what I'm using/really needing and purge. I do tend to let things collect! I have a shelf under my kitchen sink where I put all my soap/etc. It's a mere extra step to open a door to get everything, and in there I don't have to worry if it's a bit tatty looking :) If I left everything I use everyday on the counter, I'd have no room on it, as I only have one full-length workspace. I love a few open shelves myself because I have some pretty sweet storage containers I use every day, but I try to keep my 'out' storage to a minimum now. This new home means that I have to live a bit differently and break some bad habits, but then in the end it's *my* space, and thankfully, I won't have any of those nasty-Houzzers over to pass their snooty judgement on me for not living like a photo from House Beautiful is going to show up in a half-hour!

Best of luck with your renos. By the way, my sister and BiL went with the pullouts, will never go back. All the plates are on the bottom, and it's better ergonomically designed. They completely took out the cabinets over her island and opened up the space with beautiful pendants and a deeper countertop. They opted to replace the translucent upper cupboards they had with solid doors, and I must say, it really helped to make the kitchen seem less busy.
June 9, 2013 at 11:44am   
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jclindberg
astor1818, I got this at Lowes or HD, can't remember which, but I keep my sponge, disposal stopper, windex and counter wipes in this handy little unit. I think it was around $25 and worth every penny!
June 9, 2013 at 11:57am     
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jclindberg
PS... I also wanted to say that I actually like the clock and the glass shelves! Both are handy and practical. And just for the record, it is YOUR kitchen and the beauty of that is that YOU get to decide what stays and what goes!
June 9, 2013 at 12:07pm     
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boobooweebs
I think you have done a fabulous job of taking the clutter out of your kitchen. Your revised kitchen pictures look great!

I have been reflecting about your dilemma for days and thinking about how I cope in my own kitchen and thought I would share my success. Since I needed more storage in my kitchen than I had, I took a good look inside my cabinets and decided I had lots of lost space. To reclaim the space, I replaced the half-depth shelves in my lower cabinets with full-depth shelves and arranged the contents by function and size so that I was also able to install additional shelves in some of the lower cabinets. In some cabinets I only have one shelf, like where I store appliances, but I managed to place three in the cupboard with serving plates, bowls, etc.. The added benefit to the extra shelves is that I am no longer over-stacking fragile items and the weight of a single pile has dropped making it safer and easier to remove things. Seldom used items sit in the back.

If you choose to follow this option and don't have fully adjustable shelves make a template with graph paper marking the current shelf spacing holes. Position and tape the template to the inside of the cabinet and mark up or down as necessary for your new holes ( a mark with a small nail and hammer works well). Find a drill bit that matches the size of your new shelf support brackets. Since you want to control the depth of your hole so you don't come out the other side, measure and mark your chosen depth on the drill bit by placing a piece of masking tape around the drill bit at the measure mark. When your drill bit has sunk into the wood and the tape is flush with the cabinet wall surface you will know you have gone far enough.

I am much calmer now that things are more organized. I hope this might work for you.
June 9, 2013 at 12:08pm   
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Judy M
Wow, fast turn around in how the kitchen looks, now it is easy to see what a wonderful kitchen you have.
June 9, 2013 at 1:43pm   
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marciemaxine
I think if you could clear the counters off as suggested by another post it would help tremendously. Or, if you really want it all out, do the breadbox idea (which is what I do). I have a wooden breadbox and a ceramic one on my counters to hide most of my clutter. I, also, use magazine holders (cardboard ones) to store important papers, etc., in two pocket folders that go on the shelf in my front closet. I think folding the dish towel in threes and hanging it off the stove would look nicer too. I think your cabinets are great. Love the wood and glass combination of your cabinets which is why I think your counters should get cleared off. Also, if you have space in a downstairs closet for a plastic three (or more) drawer cart to store items that would help clear off the counters. I use shoe bags in my closet to store phone books, pencil holder for pens and pencils, etc., works well in the closet and helps keep the counters clear. You can use shoe boxes to store receipts in, etc., and put them in the shoe holders. I love the vibe your kitchen gives off.
June 9, 2013 at 7:22pm   
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smdrovetto
Wow, Astor! You did that whole kitchen for 3k from Ikea? That is amazing! It looks like much more expensive.

I am pretty new to the site, and I agree there was at least one comment that was undeniably rude.

I think people are sometimes not as tactful in written form, as they might be speaking face to face. Also, my friend and I have talked about how we ruminate about how our e-mails may be interpreted. I really don't use e-mail very much with friends, and closed my Facebook account in March.

I've also seen people on Houzz, comment on other commentors spelling, or use of language. A commentor used "rod" iron, instead of "wrought", and a commentor corrected her in a very abrupt way. Honestly, I thought, "What a royal pain in the ass!" She's correcting a TOTAL stranger in a chat room! She must be a barrel of laughs to live with!

My sister is a writer, and taught that, and rhetoric, (basically grammar) at college level for years. The first day of every class, she talked about how her hope was that her class would be life enhancing, but made a point, that even if you have learned to better express yourself, either in writing or verbally, you NEVER correct someone else. Language is powerful, and runs very deep. It is literally learned a our mother's knee, and ciriticising someone, especially publicly, can be devastating.

I wondered if the person who's error was pointed out, would be afraid to comment again.

I think if you have the opportunity to offer critiques, acknowledgement is also important , if you want the receiver to embrace, or even consider your point of view.
June 10, 2013 at 12:10am   
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onthefence
astor, can I back the discussion up a bit? Your initial question was about your message center. In your first pic I can identify quite a few things. The second pic though is a bit blurry. Can you maybe give a bit more detail about what is included in the message center and what needs to be there?

I know we're all randomly tossing out suggestions but looking at your question again, i realized that I didn't have a real firm grasp on what needs to be corralled!

FWIW, I'm a big proponent of 'point of use' and easy access storage. As long as the glasses on the wall are easily accessible to those who need them, they're in a great spot. And I LOVE the clock. Looks like you can see it from pretty much anywhere - and so can others ;-)

Sidebar: @smdrovetto - I agree with you for the most part re: language and writing. I do think though that sometimes people are just lazy. They know how to write and spell and simply don't bother. To me, if I want my thoughts to be seriously considered, it's worth my effort to make my written word clear.
June 10, 2013 at 12:48am   
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smdrovetto
Hi OTF! I'm not sure what your point is. You seem to be very clear, without being rude in your comments.
I'm not sure if you criticised the way someone spoke, AND called them lazy, it would go over very well, though.:)
June 10, 2013 at 4:24am     
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ruthmand
Ladies, ladies, let's stick to the subject on hand, please!
June 10, 2013 at 7:48am     
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astor818
I will post new pics in a couple of days. Work, grad school, architect, hair cut, homework, doctor, blah blah blahhhh!
June 10, 2013 at 6:01pm     
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groveraxle
Oh, astor, if you are in grad school with kids, you are automatically absolved of any responsibility for a messy kitchen. It's a rule. It ought to be a law.
June 10, 2013 at 6:49pm     
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mrsmeow
I love the blue accent wall above your stove! And the black counter top.
June 10, 2013 at 6:50pm     
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mkmort
Did you ever find a solution? Here is an idea.

January 3, 2014 at 10:49pm   
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