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11 week challenge: week #2 the "tops"

Here we are. Week 2. So, first, my apologies. I took several photos of my kitchen counters this morning pre-cleaning. I can only find two of them.  The main one I wanted to share was the complete covering of one entire countertop from breakfast and our daily prep. I SO wanted to share that with you for this discussion of the "tops". Countertops, table top, stove top fridge top. I wanted you to see that in 15 minutes I cleaned my entire kitchen despite the fact that it looked like I had just finished cooking a 10 course meal! (I do have 2 photos to share, but they are of the cleaner portion of the kitchen!) I did this because there is a place for everything, everything has a place and I work with less is more.

Beginning today, I want to encourage you to create the following boxes/bins:





As I considered what part of the kitchen to begin with today, it came to me that I want you to feel motivated. Your kitchen looks different from mine. Maybe your kitchen is mostly spotless and you just need some tweaking, maybe your kitchen is like mine - very loved and in need of three major clean-ups a day, or maybe, just maybe, you are in a state of overwhelm all of the time meaning no clean-up, no day, ever. Amen. I've seen all of these situations. It's that last one that gets me. Not in a judgy sort of way, but in the "please let me help you" sort of way.

I have walked into many kitchens - clients, friends and family - with no surface in which to place a glass, leftover food everywhere, trash on the floor and hopeless. I would say we've all been there, but many people haven't, but I think many more people have and do not want to admit it. Whether you are in a desperate place or that place of just needing a cheerleader to keep going, we are going to move through the kitchen this week together.

Just to be clear. I really like so many things about my kitchen. It's not my dream kitchen (that's in 2017). But, it is what I have today and I will love it and treat it well as it is what allows us to sit together as a family over a healthy meal on a daily basis. 

Why the tops? I have talked about this repeatedly, but we do some funny things with our eyes. One of those things to to not see what is in front of us. For example, we took all of the Christmas decorations and got them where they needed to go last week. Yet, I sat down at my kitchen table this morning, looked up and saw 20 Christmas cards hanging above my back door. How the heck did I miss those? Well, I have looked at them for the last month and they became part of the landscape of the kitchen.

This is what happens to our countertops. How many times have I cleaned the kitchen, left, then reentered the room and saw the lone mug on the counter that I missed? Now, multiply that for many people. Currently, there is a Santa delivered snow cone maker on the counter. I have left it out for a couple of weeks for the children to use but during this process, as I clean out and reorganize, it will find a new home tucked away into the cabinet. If not, it will be June and I will still be wondering why a snow cone maker is on the counter. My eyes will simply cease to notice. I have seen mild forms of this and extremes. Though I think the extreme versions hold much more emotional energy, even a couple of things on the counter that are not part of your day to day existence can cause a strain.

Today's challenge.

1.  I want you to pick up every object on every flat surface in your kitchen.

2.  If it does not belong on the counter, put it away.

3.  If you do not have a place to put it, seriously consider whether or not you need it.

4. If you do need it but do not have a place to put it, begin a pile. Do this on the corner of a table or in a box, we'll come back to it.

5.  If you do not need it, place it in either a discard, recycle or donate bag. 

Once you have done this on your stove, countertops, fridge top, I want you to clean all of those surfaces. Preferably with a natural cleaning product!  If you look in my top right photo, you will see some crumbs that were lingering behind some things in the corner.  If you do not move everything, you cannot get everything clean!  The top left photo features a cookie tin filled with what I would call expired treats, the lid to a dish I used this morning and a dirty dishtowel.  Darn it! I wish you could have seen the counter where the canisters live.  It was completely full of dishes! 

The bottom photo is my kitchen in its current state after the cleaning. I'm leaving soon to pick up the kiddos from school and I can tell you that when I come home in 2 hours, I will be happy to begin dinner and to bring my family together at the table. I want you to have that joy as well and you can. If you are still having trouble getting started, get on my FB page or comment here and let's cheer each other on as we create this vision for a clean organized life. 




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