I never said I was perfect. In this week's tip, I share what my kitchen looked like after a crazy-busy, super-distracted weekend and show exactly how long it took to set it right again.
Whoop, there it is.
You may be asking, how could such a thing happen in the home of a professional organizer? When I told y'all I'm not naturally tidy, I meant it. Does my kitchen get like this often? Not at all. But it does happen on the rare occasion when I'm pulled in too many directions for a few days in a row. I'll break it down for you. Last weekend, our family celebrated not one but two birthdays. One of those was for my daughter and involved a gaggle of 10-year-olds at the skating rink. On top of that, I had an out-of-town client and then another one close to home back-to-back, which ate up a lot of my Saturday and left me exhausted by the time I got home and took off my shoes. That night, insomnia granted me only about four hours of sleep. On Sunday, I was pleasantly surprised to have a visit from my sister, and we social-distanced on my porch for two unplanned hours. Right before leaving for the aforementioned birthday party, I had a flat tire and had to slow-roll to the gas station that is, luckily, only several hundred yards from my house. You know what I didn't do this weekend? Clean my kitchen.
The above photo is what my kitchen looked like when insomnia shoved me out of bed at an impolite hour. I was tired. I felt even more tired looking at the state of the kitchen. I was in the middle of making coffee when I decided to snap a picture, then declutter, tidy, and clean my kitchen while it brewed. I wasn't excited about it, but I knew if it didn't get done, it would only get worse. I also knew from experience that it wouldn't take me as long as I thought it would, so I got to work.
Here's what I was able to accomplish in my kitchen in 22 minutes -- the coffee only took 13, but I was on a roll.
Dispose of all the trash, including but not limited to empty Easter candy wrappers, a fast food bag, empty soda cans, lasagna that didn't make it back into the fridge, a few random kibbles of dog food, packaging from some antacids, and a large cardboard box
Take the trash out and put a new bag in the can
Put misplaced items where they live in my home: scissors, prescription medications, salt and pepper shakers, my husband's hat along with his wallet and keys sitting inside the hat, my new label maker, a Thermos, the food cover for the microwave, two reusable grocery bags, receipts for business supplies, a form I need to fill out, a card I need to mail, Bluetooth headphones, a pen, a bottle of lotion, some papers for a workshop I'm taking, two bottles of diet ginger ale, a stack of paper plates, a garage door opener, a bottle of Dayquil
Gather what my daughter needed to put away: a notebook, a unicorn keychain, the Star Wars cake topper from her birthday cake, a hair clip, a small gift box with a terracotta pot and some strawberry seeds, a painting of a racoon wearing glasses
Empty the dishwasher
Load the dishwasher
Wipe down all the counters, the toaster, the coffeemaker, and the stove top
Clean the sink and faucet
Spray mop the floor
Put away the cleaning supplies
Here's the after picture. Perfect? Not by a long shot. There's a big ol' smear of fingerprints and a clip that doesn't belong there on the fridge door, and the floor needed a little more attention than I gave it. But I count this as a win.
So here's the tip.
What I was able to accomplish required a few things: knowing that starting is the hardest part and doing it anyway, understanding the motivation of routinely taking before and after photos of overwhelming messes, setting a timer to maintain perspective, being sure it wouldn't take as much time as I thought it would, knowing where each thing in my home belongs, and doing the easy stuff -- trash, putting things away -- first to build momentum. The tip is this: you have to lay the groundwork. You have to understand that decluttering, tidying, and cleaning -- especially for those of us who are naturally messy -- is never a one-and-done thing. It takes doing what needs to be done and knowing how to do it. It's not always easy, but it can be simple once you learn. I hope the resources I share help teach you and help you believe it's possible.
Tell me how it goes.
If this tip worked for you -- or if it didn't -- share your thoughts below, or you can drop me a line here. I'd love to hear from you. Truly.