Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Week 1: My 3 Rules

Not the best shot of the kitchen (more like the view from the kitchen) but it's the best I could find from my past pics (July '16) of what our kitchen island (lower part of picture) usually looks like...

I'm guessing we all have it.

Those spots where everything seems to accumulate. They just seem to just attract the clutter, the papers, the stuff...

For our house one of those spots is the kitchen counters.  Definitely that big island in the center, but right along with it are the counters along the edge as well. The only reason this counter is clean in this picture is because just 5 minutes prior to this picture it was covered in homemade egg noodles that were drying overnight. Before that it was covered in a various assortment of miscellany - all items that had another home but for some reason just did not make it there.

Then there are the side counters. Often it's the items that were on the island but had to be shifted so I could use the island for cooking. So, it just ends up being a shifting of things from place to place in order to actually use the kitchen for it's intended purpose: cooking.

Item squeezed next to item, not leaving any empty space, things getting shoved to the back and everything looking, well cluttered.

You will see this often in these weekly posts, these mantras I live clean and sort and organize by:

1. beautiful and useful: how I decide what to keep and what to donate/trash. If I find it beautiful, if it makes me smile or gives me warm fuzzies because it evokes a memory - keep it.  If it is useful, maybe not all that pretty, but something that makes my life easier - keep it.  

2. clutter begets clutter:  Think about it. When you set something down, thinking "i''l get to this soon/later/sometime" doesn't it tend to get covered with something else that you had the same thought about? Soon, you have a pile of clutter. Mismatched items, papers, and to-dos that seem overwhelmed because they are all jumbled together.

3. one movement to reach: I cannot be the only one who gets frustrated when they pinch a finger, stub a toe, and create a loud clatter that wakens the dead just to get to that pot you need at the bottom of the stack of other things. I have started implementing the "one movement to reach" rule and it has helped immensely with this. Unfortunately, not all cabinets allow this to work, (read: lower corner cabinet) but I'm brainstorming on how to make it happen. 

So, taking those ideas in mind we tackle the kitchen counters!

I decided to make the most of the final day of Christmas break. While the kids were happily set up with their Christmas Legos from Grandma and Grandpa, I worked on pulling everything off the side counter and piling it on the island. 

That way, I could decide one by one, what goes back on the counter (is it useful, do I use it daily, is it beautiful and make me happy to look at it?) Plus, those counters needed a good wiping down for sure.

What resulted was kids' art supplies returned to their rightful place, the pressure cooker found a home in a cabinet, several things were recycled/passed on, tea was put in a cupboard, and I had to whittle down the pretty things. 
Pretty things. Let's say something about that. I have my share of pretty things (Fiestaware! cute tchotchkes!) But even those need a limit. I find that I can't really enjoy them if they are all crowded together - that just seems like clutter to me. So, I have a box that I keep these things that make me smile, and I rotate out and in at will.

What made the cut:

Pretty: My silver platter, I don't ever use it, but I like it hanging there. My cutting board, pepper grinder, French Press, and Espresso maker - useful (and a little pretty to me). And my salt keeper - actually a sugar bowl, from my Grandma Jane.  Coffee with stir sticks (useful and essential) on a stand I made.

A mixture of pretty and useful, all items that can be obtained with one reach.

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