Monday, March 19, 2012

Reset: Kitchen

I need a reset button.  If you've never needed one then we can't be friends.  Sorry.
We've had sickness, depression, stress, cub scouts, renters moving out and in, fun things, gorgeous weather....all things that have resulted in me not doing house work (I DID maintain dishes this time!  Mostly.) But regardless, I have a very, very messy home.  And if there's one thing I know, it's that you cannot function in 900 sq ft when it's messy.  It just doesn't work.

So join me this week, as I reset my home and reset our schedules and get back to what is considered normal around here.
I have 6 rooms in my house: kitchen, living room, my room, bathroom, son's room, daughters' room.  So I'm tackling one room each day-the kids room I combine since they're supposed to clean it anyway!  It doesn't take that long to do one room AND most importantly, I don't get burnt out.  I've done it where I work non-stop for 2 days straight and then I never want to clean/declutter anything ever again.  And it's messy again within a day.  Right?
So I break it down.  Make it small.  I start with the busiest room in the house.  Because I have more time for other rooms if this room functions smoothly.

Today was the kitchen.
Now, when I took this picture, I had already done one load of dishes and hand washed those you see on the butcher block counter top.  Then I thought "I should blog this!" and got my camera.  I never really have real before pictures, do I?  I have during pictures.  The point is: there is no counter space! 
I started with my smallest counter.  It's next to the stove.  I put every kitchen thing away and if it didn't belong in the kitchen it went to the pile next to the sink.  We're getting to that.  Then I wiped the counter.  It's 12" so all this took literally 5 minutes.
After the smallest counter I went to the next smallest which is also the most used: the butcher block or, my IKEA cabinet.  I had dough rising in my kitchenaid, which I punched and moved into pans, wiped and put away the mixer, then dried and put away the dishes.  Then I put away anything else or moved it next to the sink.  I also unloaded the dishwasher and put in the remaining dirty dishes. Wiped IKEA counter.  All this took 20 minutes.
Yes, I time myself.  It's fun to try and beat my own time.
Okay, also, look at the picture and caption below.  (This is how things look at this point)
See there on the left by my seedlings?  I have my bread rising.  Next to my grow light.  I have NEVER had bread rise as well as it did today.  It was awesome!  I just had to tell you that. 
Back to cleaning.  Next I did the surfaces go the right of the microwave.  Put everything away, wiped counters.
Now, there's a reason I like to break things apart like this.  It doesn't feel like it takes all day.  And if I get interrupted by something: zombies or a broken bone or something, I can come back and have AT LEAST ONE clean surface.  And that also motivates me to make the rest clean.  Plus it's easier to tell your kids then can have your precious undivided attention in 5 minutes when you're done with this counter.  Again, break it up to keep sanity.  Okay, where were we?
Right.  Then I finished any dishes in/near the sink, and wiped the counter to the left.  I think this was about 30 minutes (I had to create a space for 10lbs of potatoes)  Here's how we're looking now.
 Isn't this so much better!!?  I could have stopped here, but I gave myself until 3:00 and it was only 2:00 at this point.  And I REALLY hate the pile above the dishwasher.  It's where my husband puts things when he doesn't know where they belong.  Can you tell I've been lax in my husband training?  Can't complain though.  He did bring me 10 pallets last week :)

So, how I deal with surfaces or boxes full of random things is to make piles for each room.  Hall closets go with bathroom for me.
Doesn't this look a lot more manageable?  Again, if you're interrupted, you can then put things in separate containers or something so at least they're divided up.  Can you tell I get interrupted a lot?  Did I mention I home school?
Sorting and putting these things away took about 30 minutes.

Now that that's done, look at my kitchen!!  
I started at 11:30 and finished at 2:30.  That would depress me if I didn't keep track of and separate my time.  But I only spent about 1 1/2 hours bring my kitchen back into functionality.  I can handle that.  Once it gets to that point I only need about 15-30 minutes at night (depending on dishes) to maintain it.  You would think I would never let it go if that's all it took, but I do.  Something will happen and I will spend a week resetting things.  It's the circle of life. 
Tomorrow: The living room.
Yes.  It's embarrassing to post these, but I want you to see I'm human and also I hope it makes you feel like you can organize your home too.  If you can't do this with kids around, ask your spouse to take them out for an hour.  Or wait til they go to bed. Or wake up early.  I have done all.  Personally I like my kids to see me crazy cleaning because if they ask for anything I can point to the mess and then they start to feel guilty and pitch in, or in today's case, clean their rooms really well.  I win the manipulative mom award.


  1. We tackled the basement today. I should have taken pictures! I still have many, many boxes of books to unpack but that will have to wait until I have bookcases. For now everything is all put away nicely, and it looks SO much better. One son said, "I didn't know we had so much room." I was surprised at how quickly we got it all done. Tomorrow will be the kitchen and the school room. Fun. I'll have to try your idea for doing sections. I typically just roam around and it takes forever and I never quite finish.

    Good luck on your living room!

  2. Good for you! I love the idea of resetting one room, one day at a time. I always struggle to get things back in order, and I try to get the whole house in one day and end up so frustrated at the end of the day that I can't finish!

    I'm going to do this as soon as I get home.

  3. So inspiring Kris! Thanks for sharing. My house is a wreck right now due to travels and illness. I am going to seize the day today!