Tuesday, April 16, 2013
my kitchen rules
This post has nothing to do with the television program of the same title, it was just a sneaky way for me to name the post and veer slightly off topic and on to the mysterious knack of keeping house with children who are still learning the 'house rules'.
I have a friend who I admire, we'll call her D, D has an almost magical ability to keep her home in impeccable order without it feeling clinical or uninviting. In fact it is just the opposite, her home is aesthetically beautiful and the order imbues it with a sense of calm making it a warm and welcoming space to be in. She has two sons under the age of 7 and you can arrive unannounced day or night and order reigns supreme.
I marvel about her to other friends "I have this friend who..." and those friends say "oh but she must spend her whole day cleaning and tidying".
I recently came clean (pardon the pun) and asked D her secret. She laughed that I wanted to know and then happily filled me in.
I thought her answer may interest you too (sorry to those who couldn't care!) I am always curious about how other people 'do' life and am eternally searching for better ways to do things myself.
D says, "I can't think clearly if the space around me is disorganised. I am just one of those people who needs things to be ordered. And no I definitely don't spend all day cleaning up".
I suggested that really all people probably function best when their space is ordered but it is the how to make that happen that is a mystery to many, especially when you have professional house messer upperers (children) to derail your order.
Here is D's strategy:
Get rid of stuff. Regularly - "less stuff = less to organise, put away, tidy etc;"
Storage - "a place for everything and everything in its place"
Morning ritual - "washing goes on as soon as I get up. Beds are made as soon as everyone is up"
Dishes - "I never let them stack up. I let them drip dry but I wash them as we go."
Toys - "I have taught my boys to clean as they go. They pack up one game before they start the next."
Sounds pretty simple, yes? Or no?
Something else occurred to me about D's secret to success: her sense of style. D has a great eye for putting things together. Some people have a natural flair for this. I'm not entirely convinced that it comes naturally to me, and I used to think that putting a lot of time and effort into how things look was er dare I say, superficial.
I've changed my mind. Creating a home that is aesthetically pleasing is not superficial, there is an organic way to go about that too by seeking out recycled furniture and fabrics rather than buying new. And because of my perfectionist tendencies I've been slow to learn that it takes time to master things, even your own sense of style and it is ok to ask for help from those you admire.
How are you at keeping house? Are you in a happy space? Or couldn't care about that pile of dishes?