Friday, January 8, 2010

Cooking or Cleaning?

I meant to write this post a few days ago... I guess better late than never.

I found an awesome system for keeping your kitchen clean: don't cook in it. No seriously, I frequently have a messy kitchen and have often wondered why I struggle so much with maintaining neatness in my kitchen. One factor against me (aside from the fact that I don't derive any inherent pleasure from doing dishes) is that I love to cook-- I mean really cook. Like making things from scratch, chopping tons of things on multiple cutting boards, making my own bread and side dishes kind of cooking. Not that I don't have my nights of frozen ravioli on a regular basis. But even if your meals consist of Costco potstickers (which mine frequently do), it only takes one or two times of not doing the dishes right away to find yourself with a big messy pileup. When you add chopping, sauteeing, mixing, and so forth to the mix, it can result in an instant pileup. So my kitchen is frequently messy because I am such a great cook. Right? Right???

I mean, look at this fabulous meal that I made the other night: Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash with fresh steamed broccoli and Home-made Sun-dried Tomato Parmesan Bread. (Don't you love my kids' beautiful table setting, complete the Thomas Tank Engine centerpiece added by Jackson?)

OK, fine. Now I'm really just making excuses. The truth is that I am a project person and would rather work on my latest project of interest than diligently do my dishes and clean things up every day. It certainly doesn't help that the kids can get things messy way faster than I can possibly keep up- even just trying to keep up with the school papers that they dump everywhere seems daunting. So that's one of my main excuses. The other is that I'm an all or nothing person, so if I am not going to be able to get (or keep) my house 100% perfectly clean all of the time then why should I even start?

It's definitely something I need to work on and I have tried several times. How do you get into a good tidying/cleaning routine? I've tried flylady, and it worked reasonably well, but I basically cleaned all day to keep up with it. I want to have order but I don't want it to become an all-consuming obsession- especially because when I let cleaning and organization be my "project" of choice I often got frustrated when the kids (or, ahem, Dave) leave things out or aren't perfectly tidy. My house isn't disastrous, but I really just want things to be organized, neat, and tidy. I'm to the point where I'm almost ready to hire a cleaner, but that doesn't help so much with the "tidying" and "picking things up" part of cleaning. I'm working on teaching the kids to do more jobs, but that is a process and is often more work than doing it yourself.

For those of you who aren't so housecleaning-challenged, what do you do that works?

This is all starting to sound remarkably similar to one (or several) of my previous blog posts. I suppose it would probably help if I started by getting off of my blog and cleaning- instead of blogging about not doing it. ;) Or I could watch Addy smile and goo and make cute faces.


Jacki said...

You are a fabulous cook!! We need to get together again soon!

Jen said...

Mmmmm... Looks smashing and tasty!

Ranell said...

Well, as you know I have this COMPLETELY figured out and my house is always spotless, so I will offer my advice: invite me over to eat your fabulous meals and I will help clean the kitchen every time! Then my kitchen will stay cleaner, too!

Kelly(M&M) said...

I haven't figured it out either. I just keep working at it. I think you are doing awesome. Cut yourself slack, enjoy your babies while their little and remember when they are older the messes will just be different. :-)

Laurel Rogers said...

I second Renell's idea! I'll make the same offer.

LCM said...

I pick a day of the week for each chore and once it's done, I let myself off the hook.
Monday- I vacuum and do the laundry, Tuesday, I iron. Wednesday is the bathrooms, Thursday is mopping. If I have time and the need on Friday I do Monday's chores again. Things stay pretty clean. I do have a problem keeping my kitchen spotless, but it's because we are teaching Buttercup to do the dishes and you aren't supposed to go behind and fix it...but good grief! She makes me crazy sometimes. Oh and since I've already done it, I don't feel bad about it.

janeannechovy said...

I'm sure this will fall into the Not Helpful category, but I also love to cook and hate to clean. My solutions are twofold: I have a biweekly cleaning lady, and my husband does almost all the dishes. :)