Ive realized a few things:
First, I cant have a Pinterest house on an Army post. We live in generic, white walled, cookie cutter housing. No painting, warm colors, ability to really change anything that would take a lot of work to un-do. While Im not complaining, it is a challenge to make a "sanctuary" within the sterile, cheaply made walls we reside in.
Second, the kitchen is never going to be clean.
Now, I dont mean that its going to be dirty with a bunch of yuck. But, its never going to be CLEAN. I tried to follow the Fly Lady emails, but she always wants me to shine my sink. And I cant, because there are always dishes in it. They are rinsed off dishes, but they are waiting their turn in the dishwasher. We do a load of dishes a day, sometimes two.
However, I dont think thats a bad thing. The kitchen is a constant hive of activity in our house. We eat 90% of our meals at home, so there is always something cooking, or simmering, or in various stages of prep. The kitchen will never be showroom clean, because we are always making a meal, or a snack, or cleaning up from one. We sit down for family dinner every night, at 6 pm sharp. I think its important, and its something I hope to be able to do for my children as they grow.
With that said, my main concern when getting this area in order was FUNCTION. I need to be able to have everything in a certain place, I need it to be a quick clean up, and I need to not freak out when John is in my kitchen.
Here are my results:
One of my first orders of business was the counter. I got this bucket as a catch all - nothing else goes ON the counter. It goes IN the bucket. And I clean out the bucket once a week. See what I did there? It means that the bills / wallets / papers / ect have a place. And thats what I was missing before - a place.
Next, we HAD to have a tablecloth. Im not really a tablecloth sort of person, but once I had a toddler that eats at the table, I totally get it now. This is a plastic topped one, so I can wipe it off. That is so important, I cannot even say that enough. I CAN WIPE IT OFF. Life is so much easier.
The dog bowls are still in the dining room. I have yet to find a better place for them ... I guess well keep all the food in one place?
Okay, listen. If you dont have a TV in your kitchen area, you are missing the boat. No, we dont watch TV when we eat as a family, but when its time to prepare dinner there is nothing better than closing the door, turning on the shows that YOU NEVER GET TO WATCH BECAUSE NO ONE IS QUIET, and having a little zen. Allen wins because it makes me enjoy cooking. I win because in the morning I let John watch a program with breakfast while I get my coffee and bearings together for the day. All around, best purchase ever.
Also, the computer is in the dining room. This is a logistics issue really. The desktop MUST be in a public area, turned to where everyone can see. Oh, you let your 14 year old have unrestricted access in their room? Thats awesome for you, but our family doesnt roll like that. Its also password protected, and only Allen and I have that password. Devon can have it when we deem appropriate. This is also a bonus because he doesnt sit in his room for hours on end. In fact, he is very rarely in his room. He spends 90% of his time downstairs. While that is sometimes tiring when youve had a long day, hell be out of the house before we know it and one day well wish we had that time back.
On to the kitchen. I added some accent towels to give it a little bit of a homey feel. The HUGE difference is the one you cant see. I went through all our cabinets, threw away a bunch of things we didnt need or use. I then reorganized everything by usage. I also put everything out of Johns reach except for two drawers full of plastic cups and lids that he can take out and play with to his hearts content. That has really reduced frustration, because he reaches less for things that I really need and is content with his own items. We also dont have anything under the sink at all and keep all cleaners in the top laundry room cabinets.
I dont trust child locks to be John proof.
Allen and I can be hoarders, both of us. We are notorious for saying "we will totally use this later", even when something is outdated or broken. This challenge is forcing me to get over that, and really evaluate what we use, what we dont, and what we need to keep. Im finding chores MUCH easier to stay on top of now because Im not constantly dealing with items that just dont belong. Apparently thats how people actually keep a clean home - who knew?
I also saw a segment on the Today show that said clutter can actually make you fat.
This week Im working on the living room, and let me tell you, thats a challenge as well. Im excited to keep the clutter train moving on out of my house!