Monday, January 30, 2012

Organized Home Challenge #1: Kitchen Countertops and Sink

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that one of my goals for this year is to get organized. One way I plan to do this is by joining in the 2012 Organized Home Challenge, which I am starting this week.

The first challenge is getting the kitchen countertops and sinks organized. For the most part, the things that stay on my counter are in their right places: the bread machine, the toaster oven, my recipe box, the salt and pepper shakers, the trivet and the spoon rest, the metal stand with the colored dishes, the paper towel holder, the canisters, and Billy's coffee caddy and Keurig. I know it sounds like a lot, but I have 15 feet of walled counter space (not counting the stove and sink spaces) in addition to a 7-foot-long bar, which I try to keep clear.

Jacob does his schoolwork at the bar, and sometimes Caleb does, too. By mid-afternoon, there are usually a few stray books and pieces of paper, a handful of pens, and maybe an art project in progress littering the counter. I'm usually pretty good about getting those things put away when we're done for the day.

Billy drops off my mail on the counter when he comes in from work. I usually try to get to that pretty quickly, but sometimes it'll stay there for a day or two before I take the time to look through it. That's one area I'm working on and getting better at. But what should I do with the sale papers for the grocery stores? I usually keep them on the kitchen counter because that's where my menu planning and grocery-list making happen. I don't like to throw them away; I prefer to take them with me to the store with the discounted items I'm planning to buy circled with my Sharpie. Maybe I need to keep them with my purse...

The biggest thing I need to work on in this area is keeping the dishes at bay. By the time supper is over with, I'd much rather sit in my rocking chair and read or watch TV and knit. I convince myself that I'm too tired to deal with the dishes, when it actually takes less than 20 minutes to get it all done. I also use the excuse that the boys are getting their showers and I don't want to use up all the hot water... (Well, it has happened before.)

My goal for this week is to get into the habit of clearing my sink (and counter) of dishes at least twice a day: after breakfast and after supper - even if it's late and/or there's something else I'd rather be doing. I have to admit that it is more relaxing for me to walk into a clean kitchen each morning - and it gives me the freedom before school to do something I'd like to do (read a little, maybe?) rather than something I have to do. And while I'm at it, I think I'll scrub my stovetop and give my counters a good, thorough cleaning. (I scrubbed out my sinks last week.)

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