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How To Keep The House Clean Without Actually Keeping The House Clean

13 June 2013

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I had an epiphany earlier this week that may have forever improved my quality of life.

The kitchen table is the center of my home.

I know. Take a moment if you need to.

Physically, the kitchen table is probably pretty close to the center of the house, but more importantly, I realized that it’s my center when I’m home.

Maybe because it’s physically in the center of the house. Maybe because it’s the focus of our home in a lot of ways – it’s where we eat, draw, pay bills, read Bibles, blog, sort mail, etc. Maybe because it’s one of the first things I see when I come in the house.

Whatever it is, I realized that the rest of the house can be spotless, but if the kitchen table is cluttered I feel like a mess. If the table is cleared, I can be at peace with a lot of mess elsewhere.

I suspect it’s not just me, and it’s not just kitchen tables – or physical centers. A friend of mine will tell you that if her bed is not made, the house is not clean, and I recently read a similar comment from another mama about her dishes.

It is difficult, if not impossible, to keep a house clean with a full-time job and a not-very-tidy husband and a new baby. I can’t imagine adding a toddler, or multiple children, into that mix. But for the past week, I’ve been keeping the kitchen table clean and clear – starting with it when I have an afternoon to clean, and ending the day with it when I only have time for one more thing before bed.

And you know what? I haven’t stressed out about raising a family in a filthy pig sty all week. (I can be a little dramatic, maybe.) And, when I do have an hour to clean up a little bit, it doesn’t feel so hopeless. Because I can see the surface of the kitchen table.

So here’s my desperately-want-to-be-a-home-maker-but-don’t-have-time tip for the day: Figure out what your center is, and focus on it this week. 

Now if you’ll excuse me, there are papers and keys on my table that belong elsewhere.

Is it just me? What’s your center at home? That one thing that makes the house live-able or hopelessly messy? If this is a new idea, come back in a few days and tell us how it’s going!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 24 June 2013 11:26 AM

    Lex, how is it that your posts always resonate so well with me? This is SO, SO true. My centre is the kitchen counter for sure. Obviously I do a lot of cooking and food prep, and feel like it is always pure disaster (living in a condo with a small kitchen doesn’t help). When all the dishes are done and the counter is wiped clean, I always feel a sense of calm come over me despite the tornado aftermath-like chaos in the rest of the place. It’s usually short-lived but it helps deal with that “my life/house/mind is out of control” feeling that I have a lot of the time!

    • Lex permalink
      24 June 2013 9:17 PM

      Good to know it’s not just me, then. 🙂 I can’t imagine being the kind of foodie you are in a condo kitchen! You’re amazing.

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