Until a few days ago, my kitchen was a clutter magnet. Since we’d moved, I hadn’t liked my kitchen because it didn’t look clean even when it was. I hated that the first thing you noticed coming in the front door was paper clutter, which covered a bookshelf near the door. There was no counter space because the stuff that didn’t fit in the cabinets perpetually lived on the counters. The counter top clutter plus the busy wallpaper behind the stove made the whole kitchen feel chaotic and claustrophobic, even though it’s pretty big. Because I hated being in the kitchen, I didn’t keep it as clean as I should have, which just made the problem worse.
A few days ago, I thoroughly cleaned and organized the kitchen. I moved some small kitchen appliances from inside cupboards and put them on top of the cabinets. That made space in the cupboards so that things like bread and snack foods could go inside the cupboards. I also cleaned off a bookcase near the front door that had succumbed to horizontal-surface syndrome. Now the only things on them are our microwave, our blender, our toaster, our knife block, and a basket of stuff with a towel over it so you don’t see the stuff. The bookshelf near the door now has a basket of flowers, a jar of pens, and two candy dishes on it, plus a neat stack of notepaper. No more clutter! I have space to work, and, more important, I like the way my kitchen looks now when it’s clean.
And I’ve found that I’m suddenly more motivated to keep it clean. I don’t mind doing dishes so much anymore, and I feel like cooking more than I did before. I take pride in the way my kitchen looks, which I’ve never been able to say before. Heck, you could come over and visit, and I wouldn’t try to keep you out. (Okay, I still wish I could get rid of the wallpaper and the paint on the cabinets, but progress is progress, right?)
This phenomenon isn’t really new. I’ve noticed before that when a room has the potential to be beautiful, I keep it cleaner. When I bought a beautiful new bedspread, I suddenly found myself clearing up clutter on my dresser and making the bed and tying back the curtains every day. When we got nice, matching living room furniture, I suddenly enjoyed picking up toys and books and papers much more. Our first apartment was ugly, and it was also often messy.
I guess this isn’t earthshattering or anything, but it does sound like the material for a dumb self-help “get your house to stay clean” book.
My next project is to make our new living room look good so I’ll actually keep it clean.