Kitchen Week – Love Home Challenge


You may be in denial, but the truth is clear: How a room looks has a large impact on how we feel in that room and in how well we function in that room. During the Declutter challenge, a comment I get several times during the Kitchen Week is some version of “It feels so good in here now, I like to cook again!” 

This week for the Love Home Challenge, we are focusing on our Kitchens. I don’t care who you are, you have to eat, which means you are probably in your kitchen several times a day. Completing this week’s assignment will breathe new life into your kitchen. Even though it is about decorating and not cooking specifically, I won’t be surprised if several of you tell me you suddenly enjoy cooking again!

There are times in these assignments where I suggest you may want to purchase new decor to complete the look. Maybe you have the budget to do this, but still feel guilty spending money on something frivolous? Remember that our homes should be sanctuaries for our families. Making the spaces beautiful that we use on a daily basis can brighten every day, and that happier feeling spreads itself around the home and into our lives. Creating beautiful homes is worth the effort and if done responsibly, it is worth the cost too.



Weekly Assignment Options

Without further delay, let’s see what I have planned for you this week!

Any of these projects will make a huge impact on your kitchen. Choose one project (or more) that will be most meaningful to you!

STOP AND READ THIS NOW: You may be tempted to bite off more than you can chew and start lots of these projects. But here is a rule and you must give me a virtual pinky promise that you will agree to this before you move on: If you choose to attempt more than one option, do only one at a time. Start one project at a time and complete that project entirely before moving on to another. At the end of the week, finish the last project and then move on to next week’s assignment with the rest of the Mary ORGANIZES community – there is power and support in community.

Option – Kitchen Counters

Over time our Kitchen Counters can build up with a lot of stuff that was never meant to be there. Let’s give them a fresh start.

  • Take everything (I mean EVERYTHING) off your kitchen counters.
  • Take the time to put things away into cabinets or drawers that can be reasonably stored (purge to make room if necessary).
  • Put back on the countertop the functional kitchen tools that make your life so much easier every day or multiple times a week if there isn’t a drawer/cabinet that could be better suited. Do not put any other kind of kitchen gadgety thing on the counter, even an appliance, unless it is used this much!
  • (optional) Add back one or two decorations that you STILL love and that make you happy, inspire you, and brighten the space. If you need to buy an adorable lamp, picture frame, flowers, or cookbook stand to make the space feel balanced or complete, look for something you adore, because buying decor that you adore will stand the test of time more than buying something trendy. But remember, empty kitchen counters are beautiful – they look so clean and fresh, so don’t force anything that doesn’t look REALLY GOOD. Nothing is better than something blah.
  • Do not display anything out of a sense of guilt or obligation. Remember that having some “negative space” (places where there isn’t anything) looks better than clutter or tacky decorations that you don’t really like anyway.


Option – Cabinet Tops

Take a look at the decor at the top of your cabinets. Do you still love it? There is a possibility that you never loved it and that you threw it up there just to fill the space. Maybe you decided to leave it alone and try your hardest not to look up?! If you don’t love what’s happening up there, take it ALL down.

  • As you take it down, divide into two piles – KEEP & DONATE. Decide while you pull down, does it make you happy? Is this your style still? If so, keep it. If you have to analyze it too much or you don’t really think so, but are considering keeping it just in case, donate it. When it comes to decorations, these are not life’s necessities, so having nothing is actually better than having something we don’t like. Make room for yourself to grow and change.
  • Take a look at your keep pile and plan out your vignettes on the table or counter before you move them to the cabinet tops. You may decide at this time that you need to buy a few things to complete the look.
  • Place your cabinet decorations where you want them. Use old books or shallow boxes to lift the decorations off of the cabinets if you want to see more of it from behind the cabinet trim and to give things different heights. Tweak everything until you’re happy!


Option – Wall Decor

Maybe you want to change everything on your walls, or maybe you just want to switch things around to make more sense, or maybe a little of both? Let’s do this.

  • Even if something is going back up, take EVERYTHING DOWN. Immediately set aside art that you don’t love anymore or that isn’t your style anymore – take to donate ASAP so that you aren’t tempted to let it hang around as clutter or use it just to fill a blank space. Remember – nothing is better than something you don’t love!
  • Look around your home for art that could look good in your kitchen and give it new life with a new location. If something stays in the same place for a really long time, we stop really noticing it. Moving it gives it new energy and often reminds you why you loved and wanted that art in your home in the first place.
  • Consider the art you’ve kept or found to use and find a spot for it. Place things around on the floor before hanging on the wall. This way you can keep tweaking before you make holes in the wall. It’s okay if you don’t find a spot for everything! These are just your options!!! If you really love something, but it doesn’t fit in this room and it isn’t “kitchen-themed”, go switch up the decor on a different wall.
  • Hang everything up that you have.
  • Look around. Is it finished? Is it missing something? This is the time (and NOT BEFORE) to shop for something that will perfectly fit the places that need a little something. If you shop before now, you may end up wasting money and not getting what you really need.

Option – Kitchen Table

The table can be often over-looked in importance, but not today.

  • Clear off your kitchen table.
  • Add a centerpiece that is beautiful to you. It can be functional too, but it should look good to you and fit your style. Functional centerpieces might display your fresh fruit or your silverware to make table-setting easy or art supplies for your little ones … BUT, this is not the place to use leftover containers. You will see this spot several times a day, and how our environment looks does affect us, so make it look good whatever it is!!!


Option – Containers

I’m so proud of you for being so frugal. Look at you using yogurt containers to organize your spices, or cereal boxes manipulated into drawer dividers, or a hodge-podge of leftover containers and baskets to organize your pantry. That was so industrious of you … BUT, if you want to update the look to something streamlined, pantry containers that coordinate, or whatever else you want to do to replace these eyesores with functional and beautiful new things – I say go for it!!!!

Option – Something Big

If there is a big project that has been on your mind, now is a great time to make things happen. These projects require a lot more effort, but the payoff could be enormous!!!

Here are some ideas –

  • Paint.
  • Add new or replace existing hardware or lighting.
  • Re-finish worn or outdated cabinet finishes.
  • Add a back-splash or replace the existing one.
  • Re-finish or replace furniture that just isn’t working for the space anymore (for whatever reason – it’s your home, it should feel good).
  • Add or replace curtains.

*Styling Help*

If you need specific help with styling, search Google Images or Pinterest! Terms for this post that may be helpful would be “Countertop Styling”, “Cabinet Top Styling”, etc.


Kitchen Printables

I created a few kitchen-themed printables for fun. Download the High-Resolution 8×10 images and enjoy!

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”
-Virginia Woolf

Download FREE High-Resolution Version HERE. *For personal use only.


“I’m sorry for what I said when I was hungry.”

Download FREE High-Resolution Version HERE. *For personal use only.


“Bless the food before us, the family beside us, and the love between us. Amen.”

Download FREE High-Resolution Version HERE. *For personal use only.



What I’ll be Doing

The last month has been pretty full: we moved, 4 family birthdays, kids starting school, husband traveling for work, and so much more. But, I’m happy to report that as of last weekend, all my boxes and furniture arrived in Texas. Hallelujah!!

Moving in to a pre-owned home comes with pros and cons. One of those cons is the need to clean and repair someone else’s mess before you can even start the process of personalizing the space. There were unexpected holes in the walls, broken light fixtures, missing outlet covers, I’m not sure the toilets have EVER been cleaned properly, and more random “fun” things I keep discovering (that weren’t there or I didn’t notice when we walked through the house … but that’s another story, lol).

I’ve already been busy working on getting this house organized and clean. I have a goal each day of what to unpack and/or clean, and after I reach that goal, I work on making the repairs and improvements. (Oh, you know, I also take care of 4 kids in the day sometime too!! Ha!! Thank goodness for Legos, Play-doh, and Magnet Blocks to keep my 3 year old happy for hours!!)

Here are my goals of things I want to do to my kitchen SOON. I have individual posts planned for a lot of these, because I have a feeling you’ll want to know more! {The bolded things are my goals to finish this week.}

  • Finish Re-Staining Kitchen Cabinets
  • Add New Hardware to Kitchen Cabinets and Drawers
  • Paint Ceiling
  • Style Cabinet Top Decor
  • Style Counter Top Tools & Decor
  • Paint Walls
  • Style Wall Art
  • Paint Trim
  • Paint Doors – Pantry, Laundry Room, and Linen Closet (all very close to the kitchen)
  • Call for appointments for Shutter bids
  • Secure Island Remodel start date
  • Hang Curtains after shutters are installed

Even though I do not expect to finish all of this in one week, it just feels good to have a list. The plan seems to calm me from feeling like I should stay up all night to do it right now, because I know if I just keep making progress on the list one by one, I’ll get to everything!

I’ve already started on the cabinets!!!


And while I was sanding and staining those cabinets, this little guy fell asleep on the couch behind me. Coincidentally (or not), this was one of my most productive afternoons.



Your Turn To Decide

I know this may sound contrite, like it’s just part of some blogger’s writing formula for me to ask, but I sincerely enjoy hearing about you in comments here. Many of you have figured out that I reply to every blog comment. I love my readers and hearing what you have to say. I’m writing for you!

So tell me: What will you be doing this week??


Happy Decorating!


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50 thoughts on “Kitchen Week – Love Home Challenge

  1. Hi Mary! Glad you are getting settled. :). I will be traveling later this week AND we are planning a big kitchen renovation in the next twelve months, so this week I’m going to keep it superficial and focus on the walls and counters. When I’m traveling, I’m going to sneak in some research time so I’m ready with plenty of ideas when the time comes to pull the trigger.

  2. Hi Mary!!! This week I’m going to do the counters and kitchen table. I’ve been wanted to really clear off my counters for a long time and this is just the motivation I needed!

  3. I am SO glad you started with the love my house challenge in the kitchen. Last year after the 91 day challenge my kitchen was purged and organized and I still didn’t like it. A friend helped me by suggesting decor which made it nicer to be in while I washed dishes.

    This week I am packing to run my first Ragnar race (yes I’m crazy) so I won’t have much time in the kitchen other than dishes/counters/grocery shopping. But I will be thinking about what needs to go and what I would like to change/add to it.

    1. You deserve a space you enjoy to be in! Especially a space you’re probably in A LOT! Just keep tweaking until you get it there and be open to seeing different possibilities.

  4. 1) Kitchen Counters : will definitely be doing this! :

    2) Cabinet Tops : cupboards go all the way to the ceiling, so that’s easy! :D

    3) Wall Decor : bottom half of kitchen walls is tiled (white) and I kind of like that. I chose wallpaper many moons ago for the non-tiled portions of the walls, and that will negate the need for wall-art. Guess what I’ll be doing this week? <3

    4) Kitchen Table : don't have one (more info below).

    5) Containers : when I first began the redecorating of our home, I chose red accents. I purchased one of those totes filled with multi-sized containers (clear with red lids) To date, I haven't used them because I never finished the kitchen (l-o-o-n-g story) and I was using – you guessed it! – cottage cheese, yogurt and sour cream tubs! Think I'll pull 'em out now!

    6) Something Big : purchased for the redecoration – lovely strip lighting that can be directed wherever we need more light. I'll be asking the SS to install this. I have always hated the pull-down blind on the kitchen window, but like Wayne Dyer said "If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change". :) So … I'll keep the blind, but I have a lovely set of cafe curtains (I brought them from our previous home … 15 years ago!!) that will complement it nicely, while still allowing for privacy concerns.

    There are a few other things that will finish out the kitchen – the ceiling/walls/cabinets were painted last falI and I had planned to paint the drawer fronts (there are four drawers on the extreme right of the lower bank of cabinets) red. I have new hardware to install on all the cabinets doors/drawers. We have an extra fridge (all-fridge fridge without a freezer compartment) that will be going to our local Big Bin event, along with an amazing antique solid wood desk (I was using it as part of a kitchen office) next week-end, so clearing those out takes precedence over the painting/hardware. After that, there is an antique drop-leaf table waiting to be refinished and given a home in the kitchen, along with two vintage wooden chairs.

    Forward Ho!! :)

    1. You are so ready for this! Your detailed list tells me you’ve thought this through and are ready to just get it done. I’m so excited for all the progress you’ll make this week!

  5. My husband and I had picked out granite for new countertops several years ago for a kitchen update. Not long after we had picked out the granite he passed away unexpectedly. After I got over the shock, I went ahead with the granite. Instead of just doing the granite though, I had my kitchen gutted and started all over with the granite we had picked out, had cabinets built, and had tile on the floor and as my back splash. I still love my kitchen so I will be concentrating on my countertops, kitchen table, and wall décor. I’m not much of a decorator so it will be and interesting week.

  6. We were blessed to fully remodel our kitchen 2 years ago and with your encouragement I have kept it well organized ever since. Keeping it organized makes it so much easier to keep it tidy and I really do love cooking – especially now that the weather has cooled a bit! There is one wall that was painted on a humid day so the paint ripped when I took the tape off. My project this week will be to drag out the ladder and fix those few spots. I’ll also take your suggestion to clean off the counters (things that don’t belong have crept in since the last time!). I don’t have any decorations but I’ll keep looking and maybe I’ll find room in the budget for a drawer organizer I’ve been wanting. Thanks of the inspiration and good luck with your projects!

    1. I love your project ideas. Those are simple things, but I can tell by the way you describe them that the paint blemish bothers you a bit. You’ll feel so much better just getting that done and giving your counters a fresh start. The drawer organizer will be a cherry on top!

  7. I’m scheduled for a c-section to meet my baby girl on Wednesday BUT before I go, I’m going to take care of the countertops. I don’t have a lot of countertop space, so maximizing it and decluttering it is super important! And it will make me feel a little better abiut the kitchen when I come from the hospital!

    1. Congratulations on your baby girl!! I think some last minute nesting will make coming home a little bit better, but whether you got to it or not, be kind to yourself and rest when you can. :)

  8. I’ll be doing the counter tops & dining table. I’d like to get a couple of things off the counter tops but I really don’t know where I’ll put them because they’re quite heavy to shift around. I know if it’s a hassel to get them out, I just won’t use them …. hhmmm

    1. You may be answering your own question a little bit. If you put them away and then wouldn’t use them … do you really need them? Try putting them away and at the next declutter challenge, if you have not needed things, say goodbye. Keeping things out of obligation or “I should use this” is no way to live … embracing freedom from that kind of thing is so liberating. Give it a try!!

  9. What I REALLY need to do is paint, but I am in the throws of canning season, so I will start my list and add p!aint to the top. This week I will do the countertops, since I think I can handle that while still bottling grape juice.

    1. Happy canning season!!! Great logical choice. Mark your calendar now for painting on a week when you think you can do it. Call it an appointment with yourself and stick to it when the time comes. :)

  10. I’ve been meaning to repaint my (white) kitchen cabinets for YEARS. They are, frankly, a mess. The prior owner painted them with a paint that was clearly not intended for a kitchen because they are a bear to clean. But there are so many cabinets, and it’s such a big and overwhelming job. It’s really difficult for me to get started. I’m hoping your post is the motivation I need to GET GOING on this!

    1. You can do it!! There are so many online tutorials about cabinet refinishing!! I am going to be re-doing some of the bathroom cabinets here eventually because I don’t like the way they were painted either. Everything worthwhile takes some time, but the actual work is not difficult. Go for it!!

  11. We remodeled our kitchen this summer, so this room is done for me-yay! Good thing, too, because I’m getting things ready for our city-wide garage sale this week. Thanks to you and your decluttering tips, I was motivated to spend the summer going through every room and did a major decluttering of things visible (and invisible). What is now in the garage for the sale will not be coming back into the house. Hopefully with this new challenge I’ll be able to “tweak” some things. Love your website!!! Good luck with organizing your new home. I can’t wait to see how it comes along!

  12. Hi Mary,
    Congratulations on your accomplishments this past summer! You are a true inspiration. For me, I am going to dive into the counter tops….just writing about the counter tops brings up a sense of dread. I so much want them to look like a photo in a magazine (picture perfect) but some of the items we use just are not that attractive, e.g. the toaster oven, the paper towel holder. But just committing and being accountable to the counter tops is a big step. Just fifteen minutes will be a huge help. Cheers!

    1. Even if the items on the countertop aren’t gorgeous, having ONLY what you need will look so much better than having it cluttered. Then, when you have room in the budget, you can find good looking versions of those items. For instance, they make paper towel holders to fit almost every style. How’d it go this week?

  13. Well, we just moved this summer from SoCal to the North Texas so I’m going to work on decorating the kitchen, rearranging the contents of some cabinets and drawers that aren’t working for me right now, and organize my desk area that sits between the kitchen and dining room. Our house is a new build so I don’t have much fixing to do which is nice. I’ve just been lacking in the motivation department since the move.

    1. I feel you – moving really zaps our energy sometimes because it feels so all-consuming. Give yourself tiny jobs and see if that doesn’t help with some motivation. Mark your calendar with just one tiny appointment with yourself each day – like “Tuesday – organize desk top”, “Wednesday – organize desk drawers”, etc. You can do this!

  14. We moved into our house at the beginning of August (the 6th). So we’ve been in our house for a little over a month. I am *mostly* unpacked but there are areas where I still need to organize and/or finish unpacking/figure out what to do with stuff that has no home in our new house. I have also been homeschooling our daughter this whole time, so work is proceeding slowly.

    Our breakfast nook became the home for the yard sale pile (we don’t have a garage), and we are finally having a yard sale this coming Saturday. So that pile will soon be gone (yay!!!). I don’t have any decorations up in my kitchen. The only things I have from my previous house are an “EAT” sign, a clock, and a framed counted cross stitch. I haven’t actually unpacked those things yet, but I’m not sure they will even go in the kitchen (especially the “EAT” sign – it is too big for the wall space, I think).

    So this challenge is good timing for me!

    This week, I am going to:
    find homes or get rid of the one last pile of stuff on my counter
    unpack my decorations and figure out if they go, and if they do, put them up
    clear out the breakfast nook and get our table set up (on Saturday, after the yard sale!)

    and I *hope* to go shopping and find something to decorate the counter over my sink. If you’d like to see it, you can visit my blog here and scroll down a bit:

    1. Your project list for the week seems perfect for your situation. Good luck with your garage sale tomorrow!!! Remember anything you don’t absolutely LOVE, let it go. Nothing is better than a blah-place-holder.

      Thanks for sharing your blog! Moving is an adventure, right?! :)

      1. Moving is an adventure! It was a busy week – but I did get my counters cleared of the remaining stuff I didn’t know what to do with. We had our yard sale and set up the table in our breakfast nook. I didn’t get the decorations unpacked or buy anything new, but it was a push in the right direction!

  15. Really looking forward to making my home to feel like home. I like to be organized but let things get away from me. I’m planning to do all challenges starting now.
    PS…Funny thing, my 2x great grandmother’s name was Mary Bobo. Small world!! ✌

    1. My grandma’s name was Mary Bobo too. ;)

      And yes, the challenges are for everyone! They go in the order that makes sense for your life to keep things updated and refreshed. Just stick with the program and I’ve got you covered!

  16. Looking forward to doing this. I haven’t loved my home in years. Definitely time for some changes. I’m excited.
    Hope you and your family will love your new home.
    PS… My 2x great grandmother’s name was Mary Bobo. Small world!

  17. I do not have anything on top of my cabinets, surprisingly, other than one expensive pie pan that is still in the box. I have my table and my kitchen cabinets that are a cluttered mess. I started on the table already, and I think the only thing left on there is the crate with the school supplies (extras to be used as needed). I will have to find a place to put it so that it has a home. Once the table is cleaned off, I can move everything from the counters to the table and only put back what is necessary. Last night, while lying in bed, I heard a crash in the kitchen. When I got up this morning, I saw that a box full of plastic storage containers fell off the countertop to the floor. These two are my goals. I would love to do a backsplash, since I don’t have one, but do not feel that this is a priority right now, so I’ll wait until I do a few other challenges before attempting that. Tonight, I set mouse traps and put poison in my pantry, and one trap in my bedroom where I’ve heard mice. There is an abandoned property next to me, and mice and snakes are invading my property. I had mower problems, so my yard was overgrown, which contributed to the problem. I got the part near the house mowed Monday morning, and am working on the rest of the yard starting Monday evening, so hopefully that helps, and I plan to put poison in the crawl space. I also had to put poison in the shed. I need to put some traps out there, too. I realize those aren’t kitchen related, but if it kills the mice before they get to my kitchen, then it sort of is related. LOL.I’m really hoping that the box just fell, and not that a mouse was on my counter and knocked it off. When I clear everything off of the counters, I’ll be able to tell whether a mouse was there or not. I NEED to do this. Thanks for this challenge.

  18. Hi Mary! Glad to hear you’re safely moved and settling in! We just recently considered moving. Since we have decided to stay, we are determined to LOVE the house. My husband and I had just decided on a few things that would help us do just that – and your Challenge email showed up the next day! Perfect timing.

    Last night I did counters and table. I moved some decorations around and took some down. Love it and thanks for the motivation. How much more peaceful the kitchen felt last night with the under-cabinet lights on and more uninterrupted gleam. Ahhhh. <3

    This week I/we will also:
    1) Take down wall art, and give the walls a good swiffering/wash while we're at it. I have an old Beatles 45 that I'd like to find (if I can) and frame/hang. I've also wanted to put up a couple chalk paint areas, with painted frames, for literature quotes about food (your Virginia Woolf one is great!). This may not happen this week, but if we can get a plan, it'll be a snap later. These are great winter projects.

    2) Decide on a Command Center (I love one you featured in your 12 Command Center post recently) and order/set up what I need to get it going now that ALL OF THE SCHOOL PAPERS HAVE RETURNED. Gah.

    3) We have a couch in our kitchen and while I've made a few pillow covers that match the banquette cushion I sewed, I'd like a few pillow covers for holidays/seasons. I won't sew all that this week, but I can settle on colors/fabrics (I want one to read All You Need is Love, harkening my Beatles 45, for Valentines!) so that everything's ready for sewing this fall. If that pillow is on my couch this February I'll swoon with delight.

    4) We have a picture window with a broken shade by the kitchen and I've been looking for a US School map (pull down style) for awhile on Ebay. Let's hope that this is my lucky week, people, and that one the right size (and price?) floats up soon!! I may not be able to do anything on this item but I'll certainly hope!

    5) Shop for a small frame for a picture of myself with girlfriends – which they gave me for my birthday. It's been tucked up on a shelf but it's time for us (we are nearly each other's 3rd and 4th legs) to have a real-deal frame. :)

    Have fun, everyone! It was fun reading the post and comments!! Good luck and happy kitchening!

    1. I LOVE your project list! You GO FOR IT!!!! And I know what you mean by “Gah.” The school papers have definitely returned and I don’t have my command center setup here yet either. That is nearing the top of my list, well, until Water Lalapalooza happened. ;)

  19. Mary, congratulations on your progress so far!!
    We are currently on vacation, but when we go home next Tuesday, i plan to tackle the countertops. If I have time, I will then tackle the table. Obviously, I will be a week behind!!

  20. I just happened to find your blog a few days ago. So much valuable information, I so need the motivation at this time! Decided will do this challenge before the next one comes up:) will just take one task from each area per day:) today cleared out kitchen countertops, already love my kitchen so much more! Thank you for the motivation!

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