A simple solution to your clutter woes may be as close as your kitchen cabinet. A stray tray or two—even a platter or large plate—can corral items in a beautiful way. Look for display-worthy trays made of everything from casual wicker to wood, tin, vintage papier mache, contemporary plastic, dressy china or silver. We give you 11 ideas for starters. By grouping related small things onto a specific tray, you eliminate searching for those easily misplaced items. And by pulling assorted elements together onto one tray, you visually reduce them to a single object. Who ever thought the simple tray could be so, as the French say, tres chic?
In A Home Office A 13 x 17-inch basket tray, fitted with vintage plant pots, holds desktop needs, such as pens, paper clips, sticky notes, pushpins, envelopes and more.
In A Hobby Room Fill a tray with glass jars of different sizes that can neatly hold a multitude of craft supplies, including paints, brushes, beads, pins and glue sticks.
In a Garden Room A waterproof tray groups pots of seedlings or herbs and keeps the tabletop dry.
In A Family Room Keep newspapers and magazines in line in a basket on the coffee table.
In the Dining Room A tray can be the heart of a seasonal centerpiece. An oval basket tray displays a collection of shells in the summer. In the fall, fill it with mini pumpkins; in the winter, large pinecones; and in the spring, arrange small pots of blooming bulbs.
On the Kitchen Table Sugar, salt, pepper, vinegar, oil and other much-used condiments remain at the ready on a plate or platter.
In The Kitchen When kept in a weathered old garden tray with a handle, coffee cups, plates, bowls, silverware and napkins are organized and ready for an easy tote to the table.
In The Bedroom A ceramic 10 x 12-inch tray and planter hold little things that often wind up all over the nightstand: jewelry, change and glasses.
In A Bathroom Clear glass bottles filled with bath notions make a pretty display on a vintage silver tray.
On A Sideboard Filled with decanters and glasses, a platter (right) becomes an instant mini bar.
On An Entry Table A small tray is a great place to deposit mail, change, gloves and other items. You'll always know where to look for your keys!