Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Clearing The Kitchen Counters

I'll be really honest here. Cleaning and keeping the house decluttered has been a huge struggle for me, especially in the past 3 years.

I hit on a cleaning routine that works and it is great. Until it doesn't. Then things just get a little out of control. I've always struggled with paper clutter.

In being intentional with my life this year, one of my goals is to build in some gentle routines for home-keeping. It is important to me that I am a good steward in caring for my home and the people in it. I also feel very anxious and stressed when I see surfaces in my home being constantly cluttered and messy.

It's vital that we understand that life is not always neat and clean. Some days and seasons are more messy and cluttered than others. It's important to have correct and realistic expectations for the season we find ourselves in. This past year as we walked through cancer treatment for my husband, it was all I could do to keep up with the minimum--just enough to keep us going and the house livable. So I understand first-hand how we need to adjust our expectations with the seasons.

But at the same time, I realize that by building in some small routines, I can start to experience a home that is closer to what I have in mind when I picture a clean and uncluttered home. I am starting with my kitchen and the bathrooms as those are the biggest problem areas for me at this time.

I had the day off from work yesterday. I ran errands in the morning and in the afternoon, my goal was to clean off the kitchen surfaces.

It looked like this:

Something piled or out of place on every surface. Maybe not the worst it's been but still messier than I'd like.

I began by hiding my phone so I wouldn't be tempted to waste time looking at it. Then I began taking things off each surface. I started with the table. The boots were on the table to remind me that one of them needed to be repaired. ;-)

As I removed items from each surface, I put things away in their proper place or threw stuff in the trash as needed. A few items were put in my donate/yard sale pile. Then I cleaned each surface with Mrs. Meyers all-purpose spray and a soft cloth.

Each clear surface made me smile.

After about an hour (and after dinner when the crockpot was put away), the kitchen looked like this:

So much better!

One routine I have been practicing for years and has made keeping up with dishes so easy, has been to fill the dishwasher as I go throughout the day then run it at night after dinner is cleaned up. First thing in the morning, I empty it and put everything away.

Sometimes I hand wash bigger items and set them out on a towel to dry. Often I will leave them for morning, then put them away at the same time I am emptying the dishwasher. It works and is not a big deal. But last night, I had probably 8-10 hand wash items so instead of leaving them for the morning, I decided to see how long it would take me to dry them and put them away. It took a whopping 3 minutes. Seriously! Three minutes and my counter top was clear!

Sometimes, I fool myself into thinking I don't have time to do a task when in reality it takes very little time. By doing it right away, I get it done and don't have to play catch-up later.

My homemaking routine for this month is to do my best to clear and clean the kitchen counters and sink each evening after dinner. It should take only about 10 minutes if I keep up with it daily.

Do you have a cleaning routine that works great for you? Please share in the comment section. Thank you for reading!


Wendi said...

It looks great! It drives me crazy when there is clutter/untidy spaces in the kitchen. We have an area right inside the door to the garage that is our catch all. My goal is to keep it cleaned up this year. So far, so good!

meme said...

you have a beautiful kitchen - even with that little bit of "clutter" -- I think the kitchen is hard to keep spotless -- it is the "heart" of the home....my kitchen table is a constant battle - between my own paperwork (I work from home), when my husband was in cancer treatment - the piles of things I printed out as well as his "doctor" things, my granddaughter's homework....it goes on and on....
I empty my dishwasher in the morning too - while the tea kettle water is on to boil - it does not take much time...every time I go to the bathroom, I take a minute to wipe down the counter, toilet tank, straighten out the things on counter - takes less than two minutes.

Little Penpen said...

Yours didn't look bad with a little clutter! But it looks great now! I recently had guests for dinner and I cleaned my counters (hid a lot of it, but brought it back out later) . I LOVED the way it looked all clear and uncluttered. Very inspiring post!

Out My window said...

I too have trouble with the clutter bug. I just don't put things away like I should. I love your kitchen so bright and cheery!

Rhonda said...

I had a cleaning routine before my grands came along, now I just do it as I can. And some days my home looks better than others.
Your Kitchen is beautiful

Debbie J said...

I love your kitchen, both before and after! I use Flylady routines when I am motivated enough to do that. I don't even know what zone I am supposed to be in this week though....

I like to clear off the surfaces as well. I start to feel anxious when I let it go to long.

Denise said...

Looks great, it's amazing how just a few minutes here and there make such a big difference. I started setting small goals to clean each area, sometimes it is just picking up the clutter and then doing the actual cleaning part at another time. Also set a goal at the end of last year to declutter each room (including closets, attic & basement), it may take me all this year to complete but the areas that I have done have helped me add time to my day, I no longer waste time searching for thing in that area.

Richard Yadon said...

Bravo on your commitment to living with more intention. I think you will find life becoming less complicated and more fulfilling if you stick with your commitment. I've found it is not easy to always be intentional. It seems so much easier to just drift and react to things that happen in our life. I lived that way for many years, not consciously, but nevertheless without any intention. Once I discovered my purpose and make the commitment to live on purpose, I found much more meaning, fulfilment, and impact in everything I do. Looking forward to hearing more from you about this as the year progresses.

Richard Yadon

Laura Lane said...

I know what you mean about doing bare minimums when fighting cancer. I'm in my last week of radiation. I wonder how your husband is doing now?
Blessings from Harvest Lane Cottage