Friday, January 10, 2014

Kitchen debris before

So today's deadline in my declutter project is the kitchen. I've been working on it since mid-December and here's the clutter remaining as of yesterday. And no, not the entire kitchen is pictured and no, you can't see inside my drawers cuz it's still scary but in drawers is such an improvement over not in drawers that I'll take it.

So here's the final set of the Before images.
Beside the build in table (sideways because I'm a technophobe)

Top of the built in table (part 1 but actually the only pic)

Floor just down from top view

Turn the corner from the previous view

Best way to keep the counter clean? Keep an empty laundry basket on it, just in case.

This is opposite the built in table, home of the phone
I think the level of clutter is so far out of hand I just UGH. One of the things I decided some time ago was that I would not be sole arbiter of the clutter. I could clean it all up myself. I can and do occasionally clean up the mess myself but because I don't make it all myself, I decided that I'm not going to clean not my mess. There is a line and I imagined that if the clutter crossed that line, other people in the house would notice and would clean up sometimes. Oh being wrong. This hasn't happened at all.

Anyway, I am fighting this clutter battle in the theory that if we reset to zero clutter, anyone who enters the kitchen won't dare add to the mess that isn't there. Right? That's a reasonable theory? I actually have no idea... certainly no better idea. Blech clutter.

Let's make a list of what is there and why it's there/how long it's been there.
Image 1: 2 bags of baby food jars, one tub of baby food jars, the heat vent, kid's plastic chair with a lazy susan set on top of it, one of the barstools that goes with the table with a speaker on top for playing audio in the kidtchen, laundry hamper that is currently holding a basket of recycling topped with that plastic bubble thing the kid dragged in and a fancy dress of the baby's, and another basket of recycling on the floor next to it. On the table is the packaging from my fancy new slippers because the trash is overflowing and I'm not adding to the heap just now, a half loaf of bread in the green flash, my soda carbonating doodad behind that.

Image 2: Let's start on the left. Bag with the blue dots is actually hanging on the fridge, plastic tub of bottle parts, the knife block, gas station beverage cup, bottles of hot sauce, that soda machine again with the breadbag and packaging again. Foreground: bananas, utensil holder that's overstuffed, half gallon of juice that's homeless, scissors that are broken and only good for stabbing, pamphlet, child art that's actually on top of a barstool pile of stuff, ice cream bucket of baby bottles with the manual to the high chair on top (recently rescued from a kid art project attempt), receipts dumped out of reusable grocery bags, another gas station cup of water.

Image 3, just below image 2: reusable grocery bag, shoebox with holiday presents inside, another reusable but shiny grocery bag, baby hat, baby carseat with blanket in it, barstool mostly under the table, glass tray from the faith community that came home with treats on it before Christmas, case of mac and cheese in boxes, fox stuffed animal, just above the picture are those finger paintings from the other picture. Box-turned-caterpillar house that's now discarded, two empty soda cans, suitcase I think is empty, grocery bag with 7 lbs of pasta in it, and the recycling bin and bin of babyfood jars again.

Image 4, turning the corner from image 3: Now you can see a towel, a baby bucket cover, and two more reusable grocery bags. Up near the gate at this angle you can see I also missed another reusable grocery bag containing various board games and my festive holiday cards (unsent... ahem...).

Image 5, to the left of the fridge: Rice cooker (probably dirty since the lid is ajar), my clean water bottle, dish soap, full dish drainer, empty pitcher and box of instant potatoes behind the rice cooker, empty paper towel roll and empty glass bottles from some sparkling lemonade, bottle rack that's mostly full, ring from a gallon of milk, boxes of half-eaten cereal (I think there are about 8 boxes here, 8 more on top of the fridge unopened), and a fabulous laundry basket in front of the cereal to defend the counter against its usual pile of junk.

Image 6, the phone, directly opposite the table: cookbook we use (others are on the bookshelves elsewhere), card for daycare provider on top, random papers including take-out menus and faith community directory, prescription information (med cupboard is near here), router/modem with long Ethernet cable, boxes from some meds, bottle of magnesium supplement (unopened, purchased a year ago), decaf coffee (also unopened, purchased for cooking but not used yet), an insurance card (probably not current), bottle from baby's gassy period (empty I think), napkin holder that's empty, random assortment of medications that aren't in that cupboard for some reason, phone and answering machine (we're old school). Cupboards are below and above the phone, both not yet reorganized but I'm putting that off from today's kitchen fixing.

Impressions: there's so much more stuff here than I had realized. I've been doing dishes and taken out lots of trash/recycling over the last month and there's still all that mess left. Ugh. I also need to stamp up and down and emphasize the rest of the family's need to participate in the appropriate systems to keep this from happening. The baby food needs to be cleared out to either a home until we use it or a charity. Groceries need unpacking when you get home and do not just sit on the floor for days/weeks/who knows. The suitcases need a home somewhere or other. The one pictured was in the living room for weeks and I was promised it would be "put away" but I'll believe it when it isn't in the way anymore.

Emotions: I hate the kitchen mess most of all so I started here. It looks so nice when it's all dealt with. We can use that table! Excitement! Soon! My kid can fall off those stools soon too. I suppose it's a learning curve thing. I'm vaguely and ok really quite embarrassed about the whole mess but honesty. I need accountability and I am going to get that mess cleared up. Today.

Now back to work.


  1. Getting started can definitely be the hardest part. I've tried that "leave it until he notices" method...and he NEVER NOTICES. It's pointless, and so detrimental to my happiness that I just take care of it now. HE is in charge of the dishwasher now, but really everything else in the kitchen I do b/c it's faster & easier to just keep up with it and it's the only chance of our marriage staying intact. Good luck getting on a better system that works for you!

  2. Wow, I recognize that kitchen! How did you sneak in here and take pictures of my house?!

    I have been working on the kids' toys a lot right now because of Christmas and having a baby. I've done a decent job of it, giving a lot away, storing a lot of the little-kid stuff in the garage until Monito is ready to play with it, and better utilizing the spaces we already do have. I also worked on our dresser-top but that got bad again. Looks like I need to tackle it a second time, and really GET RID of stuff, so it doesn't end up back on there.

    Good luck with all this! You'll be so happy you did it when it's done!

  3. This is the root of our problem. I'm find cleaning up the house, MY mess. Because I know where stuff goes and I can put it in it's proper home. I really do try and clean up after myself if I work on a craft project or something. JJ on the other hand, he is the messy one. And when it comes time to clean, I usually do it when he's not around so his stuff ends up in a pile, which then at the last minute ends up in a box. That box is moved to our room, or the basement, and it sits. Over time we add more and more bags and boxes and it's such random stuff that we have to sort through it before throwing anything out so it just sits there. I really hope he can get on board with this new simple living life style with less clutter otherwise we are going to fall back into our old ways. Good luck with your challenge!! I'll be following along!

  4. Great idea to start with an area that bothers you most as I can see how that will make the rest a lot easier. I am excited to see how it all turns out. Good luck!! You got this!