A couple of weeks into lockdown my daughter somehow came to the conclusion that she needed to help more and around the house, so that I didn’t have to ‘do it all’ (I actually never said a word I promise). So, she now does the dishwasher every morning as part of her routine and has asked where else she can help.
She’s also noticed recently that I’ve been cleaning and decluttering some of the kitchen drawers and mostly likes what I’ve done; however, she asked me this morning whilst she was emptying the dishwasher if she could do something with the drawer that the plates and bowls reside in, as it was annoying her (lifting stuff up and putting it underneath other stuff etc). Now, I could have answered in a number of different ways.
Which option did I choose?
- No, leave it, I actually like it how it is
- Yes, you have free reign to do whatever you like, see you later
- Yes, that would be lovely. Tell me what you are thinking and maybe we can work on it together.
I actually hesitated for a moment before answering. I was in the middle of having my morning tea and toast, having just come back from a lovely walk and I really just wanted to sit there quietly and think. I thought about answer 1 but went for a much kinder answer 3; I wanted to encourage a more open conversation about how we could all organise and use the kitchen more efficiently. After all, she now empties and loads the dishwasher once a day and I usually do it later in the day, so both our opinions count. I want her to be motivated to put things away in their place.
She went on to talk about my newly organised tea cupboard and gave her opinion about how that could be done differently. I was a little bit put out at first, but she made a very good point (I’ll come back to that another day, when we potentially reorganise it). Every point she raised about not just that drawer and cupboard but all the others as well made perfect sense.
It’s funny how we just go about our day putting things where they’ve always gone without a second thought. Almost like robots. Her advice made a lot of sense.
I kept quiet and just listened and then gave some suggestions too. As I’ve always done everything myself, do I didn’t anticipate that one day I would have another opinion to consider, ha ha. Her ways and mine combined could actually give us a much more efficient kitchen space.
And then there were three opinions
My husband entered the kitchen for breakfast. He seemed to want to help and had his own set of opinions of which we both listened to. Some of them we did agreed with and some we didn’t. He had some good points about what we should keep out on the counter tops, but I didn’t think it was a good idea to leave everything out. He said that if we put them away we might as well get rid of them otherwise we’d fall into the trap of ‘out of sight out of mind’. He was talking about the larger items such as the deep fat fryer, kitchen aid, food processer, slow cooker, bread maker and so on. It all started to feel like a bigger job than just sorting out the drawers, and I wasn’t able to keep track of what was being moved here and there!
Now, going back to the beginning of my post, you may remember that I was sitting quietly eating my breakfast reflecting on my life, having just been out for a walk. It was now early afternoon, and all of this was still going on. I started to feel a bit overwhelmed and knew that it was time for a break.
We hadn’t quite agreed on some of the items left out on the sides and it was starting to feel like we’d taken on too much; everyone was talking at once. My other daughter had been called downstairs for her opinion too, but thankfully she was just nodding in agreement with whoever was talking, bless her. She’s very tactful. We had missed lunch and I was eager to get out and sit in the sunshine.
As this post has gone on for long enough (I don’t like to make them too long), I want to end with where we got to after about five hours (see selection of photos below) and how we probably could have tackled things differently.
How we could have tackled things differently
The four of us are all quite visual in how we explain things and learn, so maybe we should have gone with a quick discussion, quick list all of the items and then drawn out on a whiteboard or piece of paper how things could fit into each drawer. Taking everything out was very exciting at first (as you can clean at the same time, and sweeping out old crumbs is very satisfying); however, when you are left with clutter on the sides, then that stops being a place that I want to be in. Not when we haven’t got the time or energy to finish it. It sort of puts me back a few steps and I’m left with a mess at the end of the day in a high traffic area.
So, as the sun had gone in by then, I retreated to my clear and quiet conservatory for a few hours. The girls went to their rooms, and my husband fell asleep on the settee.
Dinner time was interesting. It’s going to take a while to remember where everything is.
Today was classic example of true lockdown cleaning and organising in action but without much planning and too many opinions. My daughter had suggested planning tomorrow a bit better so that we know what we need to finish. I think that’s a very good idea.
It’s catching! Seriously if your daughter is helping and has ways that will make it easier I say go for it, you can always change if it doesn’t work. I have a thing about leaving appliances on the counter. I have our toaster and electric kettle, my big mixer in in my pantry. I do not have a ton of counter space so cluttering it up with things I don’t use everyday makes me anxious. There have been studies that people eat better when the kitchen is less cluttered.
Thank you! I have felt very anxious today with all the stuff left out so slowly working on where it can all go
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