Friday, February 12, 2010

I have been making some progress with making the house feel more like ours. We are trying to work on our bad habits so we don't clutter up the new space. One big area of improvement is keeping our kitchen counter tops cleared, specifically with mail. Out of embarrassment I did not take a 'before' picture but just imagine weeks worth of piles over a kitchen island and a cupboard crammed with recipe print outs, cookbooks, note pads, and car related items.

I cleaned out the upper cabinet and added two thick cork pin boards to the inner door. $1.49 each at Michaels and they included the sticky tape. I then moved the home phone and cells phone into the bottom shelf to clear the lower counter top. Thankfully, the previous owners had installed a phone jack and outlet into the cupboard itself. The second shelf holds a piggy bank for spare change and our monkey pencil cup. The top shelf is storing all of our manuals and some paperwork we need handy.

But how do we solve the problem with the piles of mail? I cleaned out the drawer under the upper counter and decided to sew my own organizers to keep everything neat.

This is the first version. I use home deco weight fabric I had in my stash. I didn't use any interfacing and I just tacked the top points together to make a box. This version was a bit too flimsy for what I needed it to be and I knew I could make a more reinforced corner. So back to fix my pattern.

This is the second version. Much better! I used the hvy weight interfacing from JoAnn's (not the craft bond stuff) on both the interior and exterior pieces. I also drafted tabs into the pattern to fold around the edges to reinforce the corners. The button are decorative tacks to hold everything in place in a stylish way.

This version worked out beautifully. The only thing I am going to change about it is to make the tabs wider. It was a hassle to get those turned with the thick, interfaced fabric!

So this is the drawer. I have one more fabric organizer to make (to fill in the corner) so we have three seperate areas to store notepads, tape, rubber bands, and the like. The open space is to temporarily store our mail til bills get paid and filed. Next on the list is to find a small hook system to install on the bottom shelf in the upper cabinet for all the keys and to find a cell phone charger station to keep everything neat and tidy. I also have extra magazine boxes from Ikea to place on the top shelf for additional storage.

And I have to figure out how to organize all those printed recipes and find a place to store our cookbooks. I need yard sales to start up soon!


  1. Hi Leeann
    You've done a marvelous job - I'm vicariously getting a sense of satisfaction, as if I'd tidied my own kitchen! I had the same problem with piles of printed recipes, but a simple ring binder solved it, with lots of plastic wallets inside to store the little blighters, and some dividers to classify into 'meat', 'vegetables', 'dessert' etc. It's definitely made me use the recipes more! I'm not sure how you can incorporate crafting into that though - maybe make a collage cover?

  2. I love all your ideas. I cannot stand to have four cell phones charging on the kitchen counter. I kinda already did this idea with my recipes, but need to be more diligent in putting them in the proper place. I saw this and it reminded me
    Prudent Baby Recipe Binder

    Keep up the great work.

  3. Maybe you could try one of those expanding folders, you know where it opens up and has 10 or 12 different slots? Maybe divide it up depending on the type of recipe? I use one for all of my college paperwork, it's fantastic. :)

  4. LOVE the red and white houndstooth! You'll have to keep the drawer neat just so that you can admire your holders.

  5. Oh my gosh, those organizers are great! I should do that for my new kitchen drawers. Excellent!

    I must admit, it's very nice to see my little monkey friend in the mix too. :)

  6. Wow. I'm seriously, seriously impressed with the design and execution of those organizational boxes. Your work always seems flawless to me. And I admire the push to keep spots in your home clutter free. I did the same thing with recipes as Tilly did, and as for mail, I open all of the envelopes I can on my elevator ride up to our apartment and recycle the envelopes and junk as soon as I walk in the door. Then I've got a tidy little resting place for mail that needs my attention, which I try to get to every couple days. Looking forward to hearing other little tidy techniques you've got... and seeing more of your home.

  7. It looks so good LeeAnn!! I love the corkboard idea inside the cupboard door and those organizers are so fabulous! thanks for posting about them!
    p.s. could you possibly upload your organizers to your flickr account if it isn't too much trouble? I'm in a swap group called "urban home goods" and I'd love to add them to my inspiration mosaic for my partner!

  8. Hi LeeAnn,
    I thought I left a comment on this post, but I must have fat fingered it through the verification process :). Anyway, I love your ideas here! The cork board inside the cupboard and your drawer organizers are fabulous! Let me know if you don't want to do this, but I'd love to put one of your drawer organizer pics in a mosaic for a swap group I'm in on flickr. It's called urban home and these would be perfect as inspiration for my partner!

  9. Those are beautiful. And they look much more sturdy than the ones I made from the Amy Butler sewing book a while back. But I already had difficulties with the interfacing I used and didn't dare use the very rigid.


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