Friday, March 16, 2012

Project Simplify week 2, and some thoughts about hospitality

This week's hotspot for Project: Simplify was technically the pantry and fridge. I walked into my kitchen Monday morning and saw this (and I can't believe I'm posting this for everyone to see...) :

Usually we keep up with dishes pretty decently, although the counters usually do have some dirty and some clean dishes on them (the sink separates the two). But after a busy few days and general laziness on my part (I really don't like doing dishes), things got out of hand this time.

The night before (Sunday), I was struck by a bit of self-consciousness/embarrassment. We had taken Abby to the playground, where we happened upon a couple and their daughter who live a few houses down from us. We don't know them very well, but they've always seemed like a real nice family. As the sun was going down, they convinced their little one it was time to head home and get something to eat. We were about ready to leave too, and I suddenly had the thought that I should invite them over for dinner -- we were just going to grill up some burgers and hot dogs anyway. But I kept quiet, as I thought about my current disaster of a kitchen...

And I found myself very quiet and sad on the whole walk home. I've always felt I have a gift (or at least a desire) for hospitality. I enjoy having people over for lunch on Sunday (pancakes -- it's a tradition!), and I love to plan parties. I like being able to randomly call up friends and invite them to pop-over for games and dinner on Friday night (sometimes we even bake popovers! :) .

But lately my house has not been that haven of peace I want it to be for my own family, let alone for anyone else.

So I decided to make a change. Most years, one of our New Years' resolutions is to do the dishes every night after dinner. It works for a few weeks, then, like so many other resolutions, slips away. So I don't want to say something as constraining as that. We are very involved in many different activities, and often aren't home in the evening (as you can see from the piled up dishes last weekend...).

I developed a simpler goal: At some point each day (morning, afternoon, OR evening) I want to be able to look around my kitchen/dining room/living room and say ok, if we had unexpected guests sometime today, I wouldn't be embarrassed by my house!

Needless to say, on Monday I decided to skip the fridge and pantry part of Project: Simplify this week (they're both doing pretty good anyway), and focus on other kitchen cleaning. I began by tackling that MOUND of dishes. While they were drying, I baking soda/vinegar/boiling water-ed the sink drains. Then I put ALL the dishes away (wow that never happens!), cleared the counters of EVERYTHING, and brought out the all-purpose cleaner and SoftScrub.

I even scrubbed down the stove top really well, and cleaned the microwave etc. inside and out.

Then I put the stuff back on the counters and moved on with life. And you know what? I'm ok with a few dirty dishes in the sink. I'll get to them today or tomorrow. Our house currently looks "lived in",  but not messy. There is no way any mom can keep a spotless house.

This weekend we basically have no plans. Nothing tonight, nothing tomorrow, nothing Sunday (except church in the morning, and that's my birthday!! :) . I'm hoping we can be a little social and invite people over. Now if only we had a tv to host a good March Madness party... ;)


  1. Possibly you have inspired me to clean my own kitchen. It needs some deep cleaning; so I have been waiting for more sunshine to motivate me. Have a wonderful Birthday and I am sure those you will invite love you and it won't matter what your house looks like. However, I do like a tidy house; but it isn't always that way.

  2. Love your wood floors! Thanks to Simple Mom I'm getting my kitchen the way I want it to be. You did a great job getting yours company ready. That is my goal. I want it to be totally guest ready so that I won't be embarrased to ask someone over. Thank you for sharing. :)

  3. Isn't that a dishwasher in those pictures? Why do you have to do the dishes? I never wash anything. Haha. I figure that's why he have a dishwasher!!

    That's awesome you have the gift of hospitality. That is NOT my forte!

  4. Other than the dishes, it really did not take me very long to do all of this! If I'd been a little more motivated (and if I had a daughter who would have let me keep working) I could have continued on to vacuuming those corners by the fridge, taking the food out from the fridge and scrubbing everything down... But this basic clean was so simple!

  5. Yes it is! We always use the dishwasher for plates, cups, etc. -- and occasionally top it off with other things if we're ready to run it and it's not quite full -- so while I was handwashing everything else, the dishwasher was running too!! :-P

  6. Hi, Carrie! What a sweet blog you have. And congrats on the baby news! Thanks for visiting me at Doorkeeper. If you come back by 3/21 you can get in on a book giveaway for another historical--biblical fiction--book, Love's Sacred Song. Have a great weekend!

  7. Don't let embarrassment over the state of your kitchen be a reason to not have people over on impulse, and possibly being a blessing to them. Any mom (or any human, for that matter) would understand.... And it never looks as bad to someone else as it does to you. In fact, when I saw your pictures, I was like, "THAT'S what she considers a mess??"
    I can't tell you the number of times I've had to literally scoop piles of junk off the table when we have guests over. And when I notice they truly don't care.... I stop caring, too.
    (PS - I hate, hate, HATE dishes/kitchen, too.)

  8. I want to declutter - soon! I'm your newest follower on the blog hop.

    Your blog is so bright and cheery. I love it.

  9. Yesterday, I suggested a shelf to help organize my sister's counter and brother-in-law went outside and built it. :) Love helping to organize. Your kitchen looks great.

    Stopping by from the Weekend Gathering Blog Hop.


  10. Hi, came over from TDC. I completely understand how you feel. When my kitchen looks like your before pics I don't even open my kitchen curtains (neighbors can see in) much less invite anyone over. I'm trying to do the same as you and have my house look as decent as possible (with 3 kids) during the day. It's not always easy.

  11. The first pic isn't bad at all, my kitchen used to look like the district 9 in the morning. After dinner, I don't have time to clean up, so it's always on the to-do list of the next day.

  12. No matter how "messy" you can cope with been I think that too much clutter, espeically when it is so bad that it puts you off using parts of your home as they should be (the kitchen for cooking) it can really get you down. Great decision on becoming more home proud!

  13. I used to have this kind of messy kitchen before...But I hope a lot of people realize how important the kitchen is...

  14. I have felt the same way you describe when I missed the opportunity to be a hostess.

    I made the same commitment months ago about having the kitchen clean at night. Since there are only 2 or 3 of us, it is much easier then when the both girls were little. I have been surprised and pleased to have it grow into a regular habit. Now I desire to clean the kitchen before I go to bed, when before I would just turn a blind eye. I think it makes a big difference for me when I arise, since I now have a clean counter upon which to begin my coffee and my day.

    Just one thing at a time, baby steps, baby steps.
    Your kitchen looks so inviting and bright now!

  15. This looks GREAT!!!!
    Good for you!
    I did parts of Project Simplify last year and was so glad I did...should be doing it again this year...


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...