The kitchen … it is said that it is the heart of the home, the place everyone gathers. It is a place to do homework, sit and chat with friends and family, or get a glass of milk when you can’t sleep in the middle of the night. The kitchen is a place to prepare nourishment for our bodies … and our souls.
My kitchen was not always a place where people wanted to gather. In fact, it used to be a place even I did not want to venture into unless absolutely necessary. When Eric and I were first married, I was … well … pretty lousy at keeping a clean house. Dishes would pile up in my sink (even though we have a dishwasher) until we ran out—and then, reluctantly, because the job was so enormous, I would spend half a day or more cleaning the kitchen. It was a cycle of all or nothing … setting myself up to crash and burn every time.
This cycle continued for several years until, one day, quite by accident, I found flylady . Mesmerized, I spent several hours pouring over all the information flylady had to offer. After all, her home had once looked like mine too and she had the answer to my dilemma. If you’ve ever been to visit flylady, you’ll see several main points that are continually stressed. The first and most important one is, “Go shine your sink!” Shine my sink? What in the world? My house looks like a tornado went through it and you want me to worry about how shiny my kitchen sink is? Well, it can’t make things any worse, I thought. So I did the dishes, and scrubbed my kitchen sink. I cleaned every nook and cranny of the sink and faucet … I let it sit filled with bleach water to get out the stains … I used a pumice stone to remove the rust stains … I polished that sink until it looked as good as new!
I stood back to admire my handiwork. Wow! It looked awesome! It is at this point that I chose to ignore the second most important point. You are not behind—jump in where you are! The shining sink inspired me. I must do this same thing to every inch of my home, now. (Bad idea!) I spent the next two weeks scrubbing every millimeter of my house. I scrubbed some spots so hard, I washed the paint off, but it’s better than dirty I tell myself.
Two weeks later, all surfaces are gleaming, every nook and cranny that is hidden, however is crammed full of stuff. I’m exhausted, physically and mentally. I’ll just take a few days off from cleaning, I tell myself. Then I’ll work really hard at keeping it up. Well, during those few days … ehm … weeks … all that stuff that was hidden began to find it’s way out and, before I knew it, the tornado had blown into town again. (Only this time, it now included baby toys too!) So burnt out by my last cleaning binge, I threw up my hands and gave up. I’ll never be able to do this … it’s just too hard”, I think and go back to my old ways.
Several years ago, I decided that enough was enough and vowed to try this flylady thing again. I, once again, scrubbed down that sink but that was it. I did not let myself get into crash and burn mode yet again. Baby steps this time, just like flylady had instructed. This time, because I was not worn out from a two-week cleaning binge, the progression of shine spread to the countertops and then the stove eventually, the entire kitchen. (Just as I had been told it would). Only this time, because I’d done it in baby steps, it has remained that way for many years now—always gleaming and free of mess. The rest of the house is still de-cluttering as I am struggling to free ourselves of clutter (Eric is of the school that nothing should just be given away). I can, however, walk through any room and not have to kick things aside or step over anything.
The sense of peacefulness that I get when the house is picked up is so priceless; I could never imagine how we lived before. I now even turtle-wax my kitchen sink every few weeks because it keeps it looking new and clean (and it doesn’t get stained so easily).
Yes, the kitchen is a place to gather your family, to have a snack, and find your inner peace.