Throughout my life, I have had small kitchens and larger kitchens. No matter the size, it always seems to be the place where everyone gathers, even if it is a tight squeeze. It is a very busy place and has many uses such as cooking, eating, or just hanging out with family and friends. Really, I don't have a problem with keeping it clean. Hygiene in the kitchen is a top priority. My problem is keeping it decluttered.
It seems to be easy to just let things sort of pile up, especially if you are married to a Brit. (Disclaimer: This is not my kitchen, strictly for a visual to make my point). Certain things need to stay out and available for daily use; for me it is the toaster, the roll of paper towels, the tea kettle and the coffee pot. I certainly do not want to have these items stored and get them out daily, sometimes more than just a few times a day. On the other hand, there is no reason to have a big crock pot out or insta-pot or a large mixer, or blender unless you have smoothies every day. And most of all there is no reason to have dirty dishes out...everything needs a home. I had to start with my countertops. I still have not perfected them. It is a work in progress. It certainly is much better and I am closer to my standard of perfection. It is my belief that once I feel that I have reached my goal, my number one priority is to maintain this standard.
For me, what happens is that we receive something new and it seems to look perfect out on the counter. It blends well with other things. Pretty soon, there is little space to work. A rule that I have given myself is there will be nothing new coming in until the decluttering has been completed.
Cooking is no fun for me when I have to wrangle with 'stuff' to find a space for chopping and dicing. Never could I be a minimalist in the kitchen on my countertops. I love for some things to be out, just in the right place and for the right reason. I will never have a sink full of dirty dishes, much less all along the countertops. It is just not my thing.
There are no hard and fast rules except for each person to visualize what it is that they want to see and accomplish. Then be realistic in scheduling this picture in my mind to be complete. I have my times penciled in for when I do what needs to be done and how long I will spend doing my decluttering. After all, I do have a life and it most definitely is not spending days from 9-5 decluttering. Prioritize and keep it simple is my motto.
Just as in losing weight, one does not gain it overnight, nor will they lose it overnight. One's house does not start with a cluttered mess. It accumulates and it will take time to get the problem fixed.
Starting with what bothered me the most was my plan of action. That would be my closet and drawers plus the kitchen. As the progress continues, I feel happier and lighter than ever. I also have used a positive quote/mantra to help me through each day. I begin the day in a quiet meditation mode and attempt to find what will motivate me to get me through whatever challenges that I will be facing. For me it is just the fact that as I declutter things, I feel like I am making room for life. Hey, that could be my mantra!
Decluttering can be stressful, especially when it comes to sentimental items to decide if I want to keep, throw out, or donate. Keeping too much causes me a huge problem so I try to always remember everything must have a home. The bed is for sleeping, not laundry, the nightstand is for a book or two and a lamp and alarm clock, my desk is a work space, not a storage space. This decluttering is not just about physical stuff. It is about decluttering my mind, too.
My rule of thumb is a quote from William Morris: