Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Habits: A Clutter-Free Kitchen


Our challenge this week was
to tidy up the kitchen to clutterfree each evening before going to bed. 

This is not my first kick at this particular proverbial can. From courses I've taken at Simplify 101, I've learned two things:

1) As Abby advised, if you hate something...do it often.

Say what?

But if you do the dreaded task--before it becomes a gigantic dreaded task you can avoid all the discouragement and overwhelm that comes with just thinking about doing the dreaded task. And, of course, it's the only way you can avoid this:

 This is what my kitchen counter looked like on May 13, when I began the course. I think that is every dish we own. On the stove, you can bet there was every pot we own. 


Doing it more often makes it more manageable, hands down!


2) It works! 

I found that if I did the dishes--if even only once--before dinner, doing the dinner dishes was a snap. And there's no excuse not to do something if you know it takes less than 10 minutes. No excuse. Even better-- other people in my house did up a few dishes here and there. Here, my daughter--without prompting from me-- looked after the dishes she used to make Mac 'n' Cheese for a pot luck.

Yes, from scratch!


Other things I learned this week:

3) Clutter attracts clutter.



The day before, I had cleaned out the fridge. I had left these cherries out of the counter as an invitation to people to eat them. Instead, a certain member of my household took it as an invitation to leave out his breakfast things. 

4) A tidy kitchen is essential.

I have been doing a lot of thinking about what is essential this year. I've been trying to figure out what those things are which I absolutely have to do in order to feel like my life is ok.... And by OK, I mean, not spinning out of control, not casting me into despair and helplessness.

Yes, well, not going there would definitely be a plus!

The standard is a bit higher than that (but I seem to have only two settings on my internal gauge.) I was thinking about this: what do I need to feel like my life is OK?On the right track? As trite as it sounds, I came up with what my Grandmother told me, what I tell my kids and random facebook strangers. "As long as you do your best., you'll have done all you can." And so that's the new daily standard. Do my best, every day. And do what is best for my life, every day.

And cleaning up the kitchen is one of those things. The rest of the house can be in chaos (actually, this week, most of it was) but if the kitchen wasclean--even just before bed-- I found that I could think more clearly and I was calmer than, say, the week before, when it wasn't. A tidy kitchen is essential to my peace of mind.

5) It brings me joy. 

Actual caught-in-the-throat joy.

More than a tidy dining room (where I spend all my time), or a tidy bedroom (where I am in the habit of making my bed every day) or even a clean bathroom (though that's up there), a clean and tidy kitchen is essential to my happiness. I have actually felt joy as I have looked at my kitchen every night this week. And that feeling was worth overcoming the pull towards bed at midnight more than once. (I worked late shifts this week.) 

And so, my joy-filled week in review:

 There is no Day 6 because I was heading up to bed--without doing the kitchen! and I thought I'd just do one thing...and then I did another...and another...and before you could say "I am so tired I can't even remember Jack Robinson's middle name" I had tidied the kitchen...and gone to bed.


On Friday, I grabbed a few things still hanging around in the garage from previous decluttering sessions. Previous YEARS, I mean. This course has been amazing that way--pretty much everything I've gotten rid of is stuff that has survived past purges. This time, I'm looking at it with fresh eyes and wondering, "why?" So, out it goes!

These are all books from the bedroom bookshelf purge of January 2015. I confess, I did fish out two books to keep. But only two.


The mirror for the bathroom is still bedeviling me.


5 comments :

Bonnie Haupt said...

The kitchen is a struggle for me also. The dishes are not the problem. It is the mail! My hubby has recently thought to empty the dishwasher so all I do in the am in put the morning dishes. I wash out the sinks and the stove top in the evening so that is fine. It is the hubby pile of mail that is ugly. My mail is also a problem only it is in the office!

Janina Laird said...

I struggle with my kitchen too. It seems clutter has some sort of magnetic properties, doesn't it? Perhaps I'm a bit odd but I can't stand to declare my kitchen 'clean' if there are still dishes in the drain racK. Since we have a dishwasher, my husband washes anything that doesn't fit into the dishwasher either because of its huge size or because the machine is already full. So he faithfully washes any such item and puts it aside to air dry. When I come back into the kitchen, it's a big "Ackk!" from me and I rush to dry them and put them away. My counter space is miniscule to say the least so maybe that's why I can't stand the dish rack taking up so much room. Or, as a kid, dishes weren't finished until the last dried dish was put away. No air-drying allowed by my mom back then! 😁

Alana in Canada said...

Bonnie--would putting it in something contained help at all, like a basket? Would he use it?

Janina...my Mom is like that, too. I feel quite lucky, actually, even though it does look cluttered. Once the kids are grown and gone I may take more of an effort to clear off that little counter. But I really like having it. Remember--no dishwasher! When things need a quick wash, it's easy to do.

Janina Laird said...

Alana, I may not have clutter from a my dish rack full of dishes on my counter but I make up for it by leaving clutter in other forms. Believe me, I have other forms of clutter that never go away. #1 A variety of dog treats #2 My 6 bottles of prescription meds along with their accompanying OTC pills + all my husband's asthma and allergy meds. 😁 If I was healthier, there would be way more space on my counter.

But I agree with you on tidy counters. There is NOTHING more refreshing than walking into the kitchen in the morning having space to make a yummy breakfast for oneself or make that cup of coffee or tea!

Janina Laird said...

Alana, I may not have clutter from a my dish rack full of dishes on my counter but I make up for it by leaving clutter in other forms. Believe me, I have other forms of clutter that never go away. #1 A variety of dog treats #2 My 6 bottles of prescription meds along with their accompanying OTC pills + all my husband's asthma and allergy meds. 😁 If I was healthier, there would be way more space on my counter.

But I agree with you on tidy counters. There is NOTHING more refreshing than walking into the kitchen in the morning having space to make a yummy breakfast for oneself or make that cup of coffee or tea!

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