Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Intentional Home, Week Four: Wednesday

For an Introduction and Table of Contents for The Intentional Home, click Here.

Week Four: Wednesday

She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.
Proverbs 31:17

Since I know that you have just created all of this wonderful space in your kitchen cabinets and drawers, then I know that you have room to clear off those countertops. What’s been one of our themes these last four weeks? The less clutter; the easier to clean. I’m glad to see you’re catching on! 

Begin by finding easy to access spaces in drawers and cabinets for most of what you have on your counters. This should give your kitchen a clean feel and give you more space to work on your counters. If you want your kitchen to be at peak functionality then the counters need to be clear unless you are prepping or cooking something. Clutter-free clean counters just make a house look so much neater, as well (just like vacuumed floors and made beds).

As usual, I would suggest keeping decorative items on the counters to a minimum. If you have a window sill in the kitchen, that would be an ideal place to put decorative items. Meaningful art or pictures on the wall would also be nice without cluttering the counters. Some kitchens can have decorate items on the top of the cabinets, that can be nice to add some “flavor” once again without adding clutter to the counter.

Another thing to get in the habit of doing is putting away groceries when you bring them in the door. My pantry is small so if I go a little crazy at the store and over buy then I often have to rearrange my pantry. But, I do it right then so that my counters don’t get cluttered.

But, alas, I know a little secret, a lot of the kitchen clutter has nothing to do with the kitchen at all. Am I right? Do you have stacks of papers (we will be dealing with paper clutter on a week six challenge), keys, perhaps a purse, some sunglasses or maybe a few phone chargers cluttering up your countertop? So, here’s how we deal with that. We will eventually need a better system to deal with the incoming paper and nick knacks that always find their way to the kitchen counter. 

A suggestion for the lose change, keys, and sunglasses might be a little basket on the counter. This can work well, but be sure and go through it regularly or it will just be a junk magnet. A little basket can work for incoming mail as well, but the same thing applies, it must be gone through regularly.

I have a small cabinet shelf that I have devoted to notepads, pens, pencils, extra phone chargers, batteries and so on. I used to have all of this in the so called “junk drawer”. But, the kids had easier access to that and it was always getting messy. Now that it’s in the cabinet, it stays organized most of the time. 

Here is how to tackle the infamous junk drawer:

Start by pulling everything out and putting it on the counter. You might want to separate it out into piles. 

Now determine what you want to have in your junk drawer. Some items that are useful include: scissors, pens, paper, stapler, tape, batteries, twist ties, rubber bands, phone charger, to name a few. As I mentioned, I house a lot of these things in a cabinet to keep little fingers away.

It helps if the smaller items have little containers inside of the drawer to keep things organized. Things like cleaned food containers work great for this, they don’t need to be fancy or new. Now, take all the keepers and put them back in the drawer. You will most likely be left with pile of stuff on your counter.

It is important to go ahead and get this stuff to where it belongs. If your pile is mostly paperwork and you aren't sure where it should go, then give it a temporary home for now. I am going to start walking you through some good paper solutions in an upcoming week. If it’s trash throw it away and if it belongs in a desk, put it there. You also might now have some empty space in your drawer and cabinet and that's okay. Breathing room is always a good thing.

A friend of mine told me the other day that she had been cleaning out some drawers before tackling the bigger project of her master closet which is coming soon. She wanted to have some "successes" before starting her closet. I thought that was a brilliant idea. 

So, how does your kitchen feel and what’s for dinner?

Daily Chores: 
One load of laundry from start to finish
Make your bed
Unload the dishwasher in the morning, load and run it at night
Wipe down the kitchen counters and sink 
Wipe down the bathroom counters and sinks

Wednesday's chore of scrubbing toilettes, tubs and showers

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