Tuesday, July 31, 2007

So let's talk...clutter

I'm officially opposed to it.

I'm not sure if I have declared this yet, but the Cakes house is the House of ADD. Both Chowder and I, and of course Skaterboy have been diagnosed at one point or another and I guarantee that there is at least one more in the group (my money is on Jellybean). There is only one surefire way that I have found to combat clutter in my house and that is to eliminate it all together. Being a pastor's family and having a great bunch of neighbors, we could have guests at anytime. While I love this! I cannot bring members of the congregation (especially gossipy old church ladies. YIKES!) or other visitors into a messy house. I insist on the public areas of the house being clean. The upstairs is a whole other monster!

I have done away with virtually all knick-knacky things. I still have a couple of things laying around because I don't want the house to be completely barren. But, if I had my druthers there would not be a single thing on any surfaces in my house. I am not exaggerating. I was looking at the bookshelves in my family room and I almost packed up all of my books into boxes because the shelves looked too cluttered and I am a book addict! There is this bizarre force of nature where clutter attracts more clutter. If we lay down our mail on the hall table, suddenly a backpack will appear, and then a magazine and toy and a pile of stuff that needs to go upstairs etc. etc. Once I have given permission for one thing to be on the surface it's like opening the floodgates. And, I'm hopefully training my children to put things away instead of just "down."

I am a clutter tyrant. It could all unravel at any moment so, I have to be vigilant.

I use the cupboards of my sideboard for storage. On the right are baby things. Carriers, diapers, etc. On the left is my storage. Magazines and catalogs I want to look at, stationary etc. The top drawer is my silver and table linens. The bottom drawer is miscellaneous. I keep our household binder in there. The household binder completely tames the crazy paper that comes in and out of my family's life.

On the opposite wall of the living room is another cabinet that holds the stereo. The top drawer of this cabinet is Chowder's drawer. When I run across anything of Chowder's I throw it in this drawer. His iPod, keys, papers, mail etc.

I hate counter top appliances. I have four. a coffeemaker, a toaster oven, a stand mixer and a bread machine. The coffeemaker is the only one allowed on the counter because it is used almost daily. The toaster oven is kept under the sink, and the mixer and bread machine are in the pantry. (I know the stove is disgusting. I have a major psychological block against cleaning it.) oh and if you have kids. Don't buy stainless steel appliances! I have to wipe off the fingerprints constantly! I HATE THEM! Buy black if you want to go modern.

This bench contains sweatshirts, the kids' little backpacks (I hate carrying big diaper bags so at two years old I made them start carrying their own supplies around! They loved it! So, they each had a change of clothes, a diaper (until they were potty trained then it was just an extra pair of pants), a drink and a snack. and I got my cute little purse back. Ladybug needs to start walking!

Under the bench are three crates. The first one has all the kids' shoes, the second one has the kids' socks, and the third one is big people shoes (we each can put one pair in there). I love having them all together and all at the front door. Makes getting out of the house much, much easier. And no one is looking for shoes.

There are no toys kept in the kids' room. We are fortunate to have a room for a playroom. They're bedroom is for sleeping and getting dressed. OK and basketball. There are a few books for bedtime stories on the windowsill. Every morning the kids get dressed, make their beds and brush their teeth. It has become such habit at this point that I hardly fight them on it at all.

It felt too weird to post a picture of my bedroom. Ladybug is in there for right now, but we are making adjustments to move her out soon.

I didn't post pictures of our playroom or our family room. Both of those rooms are in transition (rearranging rooms to accommodate Fiona moving into our office room until she's big enough to share with the kids). Though the playroom has a place for all the toys and I do make sure it is cleaned up (practically) every night, it's a playroom. It's cluttered.

At the end of the day, before I sit down to the computer, I force myself to go through the house and make sure everything is clear. It really only takes 10-15 minutes tops, but I still have to push myself to do it. But, the payoff is worth it. Now if I could get someone to wash my floors and scrub my bathrooms, we'd be in business!


chris said...

i salute you! as a mom who has lost the battle, i see this post and realize what might have been. (our youngest is skater boy's age, and the other 4 up from there.) keep the faith and quash the clutter!

Anonymous said...

I got some really good tips in this post. Thanks for that.

Have you tried the stainless steel appliance polish for your appliances? I find it really keeps down the fingerprints. It's basically just mineral oil.

I've never commented on your blog before but I've been reading for a while and I really enjoy it. Your writing speaks from the heart.

lesleysmeshly said...

Your home is beautiful and you are doing a FANTASTIC job of keeping it clean, clutter free, and shiny. Want to come do my house? =)

Mama26blessings said...

Looks FAB Cakes!! I am right on board with you and clutter, except I am a Packrat...there I said it, I admit it!!LOL Packrat+ADD= clutter. hmmmm I can only change one thing in that equation and I cannot change my ADD..........
Your holiday looks wonderful!!
God bless!!!

Jenni said...

****deep sigh of contentment****

your house is byooteeful. I'm struggling not to covet the woodwork...it does say that in the Bible, doesn't it? Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's woodwork?

I totally hear you on the surface-clutter-attractors; and it's not just my kids!! At Christmastime I'll have my beautiful creche all set up and my father comes along and plops his glasses and/or sunglasses right down next to baby Jesus. I do NOT think they were included in the angelic invitation!!

Ashaw said...

honestly, sometimes I think we are long lost sisters! :) I am also a clutter and knick knack tyrant. Your home is beautiful!