February 11, 2010

Keeping House 2

On Monday I mentioned my cleaning schedule or lack thereof. I am no expert, by any means, and if you came by today you would probably be just as disgusted as I am from the dog hair that lurks in every corner. Why do dogs shed in winter? Don't they need a thick coat right now?

Today's topic is a continuation from yesterday's question about how I keep my house in order.
I don't keep it all in order all the time. Aren't you shocked that it's not pristine 24/7? wink wink
But I do love a tidy house, so here are my suggestions.
Start with one room in the house:
The kitchen.

Why oh why, when that is the one room that requires daily maintenance??? Because it truly is the heart and hub of the home.

3 Steps to a Clean Kitchen

1. De-clutter
Take everything off of your countertops and put it on the kitchen table.
Clean the countertops while they are completely empty.
Choose only the items that you truly love or use on a daily basis.
If you are feeling a little wild, rearrange some things. About a year ago, I realized that the coffee machine needed to be near the sink. Why was I walking across the kitchen to fill the pot each morning?
Create a grace space. We all have stuff and there is no getting around it. Give yourself a little area to dump it. I use a large basket to collect all of the things that typically clutter the countertops (random papers, coupons, mail, spare keys, etc..). Once a week or so I clean it out. Remember, clutter begets clutter and it will take over. When I ignore my grace space, it soon spills over onto the desk and chair. Don't forget to clean it out on a regular basis.

Clutter can be distracting and overwhelming.
Yesterday I was in Claire's Boutique spending a looonng 45 minutes while my girls tried to figure out the best way to spend a $15 gift card. Painful I tell ya, painful. When we were finally ready to make our purchases, I could hardly focus on the transaction because of the cluttered register counter. There was so much stuff I wondered if our purchases might get lost in the sea of lip gloss and other various impulse items strewn about. I'm thinking the manager could use a lesson in de-cluttering. ;)

2. Clean.
Give yourself 30 minutes to deep clean your kitchen as a jump start. It's amazing how much we can accomplish when we have a time limit. Set the timer and start with your sink. I'm no Fly-lady, but she's the expert on shining your sink. When the 30 minutes are over, you may be on a roll and want to keep going, or, you might be ready for a break. Take a look around an enjoy your labor.

3. Maintain
This is the hardest part of the plan. Remember, it is a plan. In order for it to work, we have to follow through. If your kids are part of the kitchen-clutter problem, have a family meeting and gently but firmly explain your expectations. You may need to give each of them a grace space.
Give yourself 10 minutes each day (maybe when the kids are doing their 10 minutes of chores) to maintain the kitchen. Remember, it's only 10 minutes. That's less time than commercial breaks for your favorite tv show.
*Don't expect your family to catch on right away. Lead by example, share your plan.*

Give it a week. I think you will be pleasantly surprised how good you will feel every time you walk in the door. Our homes need to be a place of peace for our families. Don't make excuses for the clutter. Start today!

I'm feeling a little lonely out here, so let's chat. C'mon and answer the question of the day ;)
What area of the house do you keep up the best?


O Mom said...

Our kitchen is small and with not much counter space, it is a must for me to keep it de-cluttered. Clutter in general just stresses me out. Great tips! :)

mer@lifeat7000feet said...

The only room in my house that I'm a FREAK about is my kitchen. I cannot abide a cluttered kitchen! GREAT post.

Gretchen said...

Wow! I'm so impressed! I'm babystepping myself back to simply "put back what you take out". Sounds like a simple, but with my distractability, it's one that I've allowed to get away from me.

Great ideas, G of the E. :)

My best kept room? The guest room. I tidy it, and then shut the door as fast as possible!

Mich said...

The kitchen gets cleaned the most...but probably more out of necessity than anything.

I liked this post. Encouragment to strive to do better...

Natural Mama said...

Just found your blog and love it..I'm a former teacher who homeschools as well! Thanks for the kitchen tips--very helpful! I will be back to 'visit'!

Terri said...

I try to keep the parts that people see the cleanest, ha ha! The bedrooms I just close the door! I use the timer just to get a jump start. Or I put the room names in a bowl and pick out one at a time and clean that room and then pick again. The house stays pretty clean now that there are only three of us at home.

Richella said...

I love your idea of a "Grace Space" in the kitchen. I am AMAZED at how the clutter piles up in the kitchen.

I try to keep a fairly tidy house, though I fall short much more than I wish. But I do keep my powder room sparkling clean. It gets used a lot by my family (husband and three sons!), but it also gets used by guests. . . and I will not be having a dirty toilet or sink in my powder room!! It only takes a minute to clean it, so I do it at least once a day. :)

Hope you have a great weekend!

Jenn A said...

I like a neat house myself. =) I keep my kitchen pretty de-cluttered because it is very small. If it gets cluttered I have no space to work and that is too frustrating! I have a grace space for myself in there, though I've never called it that. My husband calls it my "in box." It is just a basket where I can collect things that I know I need to do something with. Otherwise, I keep my bathrooms really clean (as much as possible with a houseful of boys). I give them a thorough cleaning every week with a touch-up every night. The boys do the touch-up part as part of their "10 minutes of chores."
Great post!

ashley said...

I totally deep-cleaned my kitchen today thanks to your blog post!!! You were my inspiration. :) I LOVE the little tips and things you've been handing out lately. Keep 'em coming! :)

Sarah said...

I love all this talk of cleaning and organizing. It is probably my largest goal this year...to declutter and keep only the things I TRULY love or need.

I'll start by saying the HARDEST for me to keep clean is the bathroom and closet. I think it's because that is usually my area where I am always "rushing" out of. Meaning, let me "hurry up and throw my makeup on" or "let me throw on four pairs of pants before I find some that I really want to wear." I seriously need to get rid of 1/2 my clothes...but, that is hard when I'm not done having kids and still need to hold onto multiple sizes of clothing.

My family room is the EASIEST to keep clean. I have three really fabulous lidded baskets for Ella's toys...so they are well concealed and make cleaning up the toys at the end of the day easy. It's also one of the few rooms I've managed to really get rid of everything but the things I love and nothing more. Because of this, it's my favorite room to be in. And because everything has a "home", it's super easy to clean.

My other goal is to get my bedroom as organized as the family room. It should be our sanctuary, but that and our bathroom are the messiest in the house. It's where all the unfolded laundry gets dumped, random toys get left (because Ella plays in there while I get dressed), and the room that NEVER gets dusted. My husband seems to always have random bills sitting on his dresser and my side of the bed always has random books and magazines all over the floor. I'm determined to make it a sanctuary.

Maybe you could give us some ideas of things you have done to organize. Because, really and truly, if you can just get things organized and give everything a home, you are more likely to keep it clean.

Bugs and Sunshine said...

Oooh this post put me straight in the mood to deep clean my kitchen! THANK YOU! I'm seriously going to clear off all my nic-nacs and see what I come up with. Good word sista, good word!

Jim said...

This is my first comment on your blog. I picked it up from your comments on my daughter's "rascal" blog. Enjoyed it - the music background really is a good addition to the norm - and the tips on "grace space" etc., especially helpful.

Have a good day!


Amber said...

Listen here, missy. We're friends and all, but you know that I don't really like to discuss cleaning.

Because I don't really like to clean.

Now...you want to discuss shoes? Naps? Shopping? Mac-n-cheese recipes? I'm your girl.

But cleaning? No.

But if you are going to force me to discuss this matter with you, then I will tell you that I keep the kitchen cleaned up the best. But I don't shine my sink. Although I should.

Since I like things that are shiny!

Love you, friend!! :)