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House Cleaning Tip: Eliminate Clutter from your KitchenTable - Tips from a Clutter Bug

Updated on September 9, 2015

Before Photo of my Dining Table

This is my table before clearing. Doesn't look too bad but everything here collected between last night's dinner and this morning after the kids left for school. Two more days of this and the entire table will be covered.
This is my table before clearing. Doesn't look too bad but everything here collected between last night's dinner and this morning after the kids left for school. Two more days of this and the entire table will be covered.

Clearing Your Dining Room or Kitchen Table

The kitchen table, sigh. For a clutter bug, the dining or kitchen table is the worst area of offense. This is an area that draws clutter like a magnet. Every single day I find things on the table that don't belong there.

Okay, right now there are portions of the newspaper from Sunday. I think my husband and kids were looking through it. There is a used paper towel. The neckholder from my daughter's recorder, I guess she decided not to use it and left it there this morning. My husband's Bible and mine from this morning's Bible study. My earrings I took off yesterday while sitting at the table. My manicure set, I just finished doing my nails. And a cookie tin.

First of all, the table is way too big for a clutter bug family like mine. (Everyone in our family is a clutterbug except my son. His room is the neatest in the house. And if we dare to drag even one piece of clutter into his room, he gets rid of it so fast it will make your head spin.) So, if I had it to do over again I would have purchased a smaller table. Mine opens to fit about 8 - 10 people and there are only 4 of us in my family. We rarely entertain so why do we have such a huge table. Answer, it was on sale.

Having this large table means we can actually push a few things to one side and still have plenty of room to eat. Not a good thing in a family of clutter bugs.

So my main tip for today is when shopping for a kitchen table, get one that is reasonably sized. Round is good because you can only allow clutter to collect in the very center of the table before it interferes with a meal. Of course, if you entertain a lot or have a large family, then by all means buy a huge table. But if not, it will tend to collect stuff.

My next tip is, if you already have a large table and don't want to sell it to buy a smaller one (though I am giving this some serious consideration), make sure that every night when you sit down to eat dinner, you completely clear the table of everything that is not essential to the meal. Repeat this in the morning for breakfast. You will get used to having the table cleared off and having clutter on it will annoy you. (Especially if you are serious about eventually having a clutter-free home.) Hopefully, it will annoy you enough to clear it off.

I hope you checked out the photo on the right. This was snapped when I began this article.

After Photo

Here we have the after photo. No, I did not just sweep everything off the table and pile it on a chair. Though that was tempting. Nope, I put each item in its home. It took about five minutes.
Here we have the after photo. No, I did not just sweep everything off the table and pile it on a chair. Though that was tempting. Nope, I put each item in its home. It took about five minutes.

Why, Oh Why, Did I Buy That?

Now I will share some items I purchased that I now know were destined to add to the clutter in my home. If I could go back in time I would not have made these purchases. (Wow, this is giving me a kind of cleansing feeling. Maybe I understand why people go on the Jerry Springer show. Well, maybe not, but it does help to 'come clean' or 'air my dirty laundry'.)

1) The two gross (288) ribbon rosettes, I thought were a steal on ebay. They look so neat and tidy in the listing. Who knew how long it takes to use that many rosettes? I think to date I have used forty at the most. I am constantly finding them in odd places throughout the house. It's like at night they sneak out of the sewing basket, craft drawer, and tin of crafting supplies and plant themselves all over the house.

2) The ten vintage children's books I just knew the kids would love to read. They didn't and now what to do with them. Back to the thrift shop I guess.

3) The jeans that barely fit when I bought them and now I can't zip up.

4) The plastic snap, lock and go containers I thought would be perfect when I made muffins to give away at Christmas. I didn't make the muffins.

5) The two Nativity sets I purchased at a steal at a thrift shop. Thank God I was able to sell them online. I think I actually made a whole dollar on the sales after ebay fees, time and effort.

6) One of the worst purchases, for ten cents I purchased a bunch of vintage penny mystery books. I thought I might be able to resell them on ebay. They don't sell well, so I decided at the very least I would read them. That's when I discovered they smell horrible. They were published around 1930 or so and smell like they have been sitting in someone's basement or attic for the entire time. I can't stand the smell long enough to finish reading one!! I finally threw them away.

On the upside, I am very proud of myself for the items I did not drag home. Here is a list of items I forced myself to walk away from.

1) A George Foreman grill machine in the thrift shop. Not even sure what it makes but it was new with the instructions still in plastic.

2) The sewing basket that looks just like one I donated to the Salvation Army a year ago.

3) The wooden tv tray that matches one I already have but no one ever eats off of.

4) The 3 foot tall stone pedestal a neighbor put out for trash. I thought would look perfect in front of the house with a plant on top. My kids basically dragged me away from that one.

Like I said in my previous article, "baby steps, baby steps...."

Happy De-Cluttering!!

Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act. Proverbs 3:27

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    • profile image

      Linda Testerman 5 years ago

      I have a round table, there are 3 of us and it still gets cluttered, much to the dismay of my DH. Once in a while, he gets disgusted and he just takes his arm and gives a push. Some things get broken and then I try to keep the table uncluttered for a while. I am really trying, but it is hard...

    • wordsmith2418 profile image
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      Veronica Lewis 5 years ago from Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania

      Why not try a lovely basket in the center. Anything that can not fit into the basket is absolutely not allowed on the table. No exceptions. Everyone must abide by this rule. When I had a smaller table I used this method and it worked out well. If some of the clutter is mail, try what I do, stand over the trash can as you read and toss what is useless. Have a special container for important things like bills etc, but not on the table. I use a lovely round hatbox that I keep on my dresser. Bank statements go into a plastic shoebox. Hope this helps...

    • profile image

      Beth 5 years ago

      Our table gets cleared daily or we would be in the same boat. We wouldn't have room to eat! The kitchen table is a magnet for clutter because it's in the "headquarters" of the house and it's a clear spot. If you clear it before and after dinner, it shouldn't be too bad.

    • wordsmith2418 profile image
      Author

      Veronica Lewis 5 years ago from Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania

      That's really the bottom line. The kitchen table is one of those spots we have to clear off on a regular basis. And the payoff is being able to have the family sit down to eat together every day. Get everyone involved. My daughter is the biggest offender. She does her homework and leaves her pencils, notebook, worksheets on the table. Her jacket, gloves and hat are usually on a nearby chair. So when she walks in we steer her away from the kitchen to her bedroom. Then right after she is done with her homework I remind her to repack her bookbag.

    • Angela Biggs profile image

      Angela Biggs 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      I have my work table cluttered all the time. I work from home and I have everything from my cellphone to my earrings on it. :( Will do it this weekend. I guess I am your first follower :)

    • wordsmith2418 profile image
      Author

      Veronica Lewis 5 years ago from Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania

      Hi Angela,

      You will feel so much better and probably get your work done more efficiently once it is cleared. I absolutely hate clearing up when I'm working on a project. But since I've been doing it I'm getting so much more done! Thanks for commenting. Happy De-Cluttering!

    • Angela Brummer profile image

      Angela Brummer 4 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Great advice the table really seems to be the catch all!! The bigger the family the more it attracks.LOL

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