The kitchen, for me, is the hardest place in my whole house to keep under control. It's not just that five people eat there, at least three times a day (and several snacks for the boys). At a minimum, that means 45 dishes to clean every single day.
Our kitchen area includes an eat-in-dining area, as well as an in-and-out-of-the house area. We have no mudroom or coat closet. So you come in, take off your shoes, put them in our shoe box farm crate (if you're being good to me), drop everything else somewhere nearby--the counter, the table, the floor...and get a snack, dirtying dishes in the process and probably smearing some sort of food somewhere and/or leaving a trail of crumbs as a little two-legged creature with arms transports said food from the kitchen to the eat-in dining area. This is my life. I love it--usually :) But I never really have a clean kitchen, and I would love it if I did.
Now that we have established the dilemma, let's get to some Messy Monday solutions!
Several clean friends have said that one of the keys to their housekeeping success is their kitchens are consistently clean. One friend (Jodi, that's you!) said no matter what else is going on in her house, as long as her kitchen is clean, she can climb every mountain (she did not break out into a Whitney Houston song; I'm adding that in). :) Another friend said when she committed to making organizational progress in her home, she started with the kitchen. If she could keep her kitchen clean, she could do anything! (well, exaggeration aside, you get the point). :)
I have spent some time in deep thought over this, and I am glad to bring you my reflections. :)
If my kitchen is constantly messy, it clouds my outlook on every other part of my house. When I have a dirty kitchen, there are these little voices of condemnation in my head. I feel like I will never be able to succeed at keeping a clean home, because, well....look at the kitchen. The doom and gloom carries with me as I go about the rest of the day: look at the laundry stacked up, look at the clutter everywhere. I'm so behind. I can't do this. Even if I try, I'll never really succeed at having a tidy house.
If, on the other hand, the kitchen is relatively clean, it showers me with encouragement and optimism. "Look at this! I might be on the track to learning better habits after all! I think I can keep up with this for good!" That attitude, then, of feeling like a success at housekeeping carries over into all other aspects of my home and day. I feel more upbeat, and my optimistic attitude helps me feel like I truly can conquer other clutter and chores. They don't have to conquer me.
If you can keep your kitchen clean, you can keep the rest of your house clean--if for no other reason than you think you can. You'll still have 45+ dishes to do each day, and other clutter to banish, but you'll know you have what it takes to get it done. Because after all, clean really does begin in the kitchen.