Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Day 4: Doubling the Size of My Kitchen in Two Hours

Two hours is not much to give, really. Two hours is time one might spend on a dumb movie on TV that the kids turned on. Two hours can be survived without breaking for a snack. It's barely enough time to need a third cup of tea.

Two hours. That's it.

In two hours, I managed to do the breakfast dishes and clean the exterior of the stove--all of it. I also washed down the faces of all the kitchen cupboards, de-cluttered every surface of the kitchen that hadn't yet been done over the last two days, pulled out the toaster oven to clean behind it, and pulled out each of my kitchen canisters to clean them and the gritty, sugary mess that had built up underneath and behind them. As a bonus, I cleaned the teapot, which gets so grimy sitting on the stove next to food cooking and splattering in pans on the burners, AND I wiped down several of the kitchen walls--the ones that really should have a backsplash but don't.

Two hours of my life is all it took for all that.

And you know what? My kitchen looks AWESOME. It appears twice the size it was before. That, friends, is a good thing. Really, I must give you a better word picture of my kitchen.

This house was built in 1976 by my grandparents, after all their kids were grown and gone. The way it worked with them was that Grandma would design a house and Grandpa would build it. This house was designed on a napkin over dinner.

The kitchen was never meant to serve a family. Grandma figured it would mostly just be the two of them--she was a bit of a hermit in her older years--and Grandpa would never set foot in a kitchen if there was a woman around to do it for him (not complaining here, just pointing out that it was a normal old-school mindset), so she designed the kitchen to be simple and efficient for one woman to cook for two people. That's it.

It is a simple cockpit, really. Standing at the kitchen sink, I can peer straight ahead out the one small window, reach to my left to open all the cupboards on that side, plus the refrigerator, or reach to my right to open all the cupboards on that side, plus the stove--but not at the same time as the refrigerator, or the doors would hit one another. If I take three steps backward, I am no longer in the kitchen. If the refrigerator or the oven door is open, no one can enter or exit the kitchen. It's really small, friends.

And did I mention that I basically run an informal catering business out of that space when our woodworking classes are in session--preparing two meals a day for approximately twelve people each? Yeah. I do that. Even when classes are not in session, I prepare meals there for a family of five--including a middle school girl and a high school boy--both in the midst of serious growth spurts. (My eleven year old girl is 5'4" and my 14 year old boy is just cresting six feet.) I have a new kitchen in the works, as my dear and talented husband is using his 'spare time' to put a large addition onto our house. It is a multi-year project, but someday I hope to have a little more space.

All this to say, if cleaning my kitchen out to the walls and shining up everything that is supposed to be white and/or shiny makes it appear to be much bigger than it felt before, then two hours of my life was really a very small price to pay.

What could you do with two hours? I challenge you, readers, in addition to getting control back over your schedule, to try giving two solid hours to organizing and cleaning one room in your house. I'd love to hear how it goes for you and what you were able to accomplish.

Two hours really isn't much. I'm going to try to do it again tomorrow, although Wednesdays are my very busiest days, so we'll see what happens. But hey, come to think of it, Tuesdays are very busy, too (I teach a high school public speaking class from 2:30 until 5:30 and then take my daughter and friends to youth group at church at 6:00, far enough away that I have to just stay in town and wait for it to end before coming back home). If I can find two hours on a Tuesday, I can do it tomorrow on Wednesday, too.

Love to you all. Be of good courage!


alison said...

Well done, Sherry!

Clutter isn't much of a problem since the fire, but getting a firm schedule has always been a challenge.

Educating Eden at home this year makes establishing one really important. I'm going to make a list.

Thanks for the inspiration.

I love the new look.

Sherry C said...

Thanks, Alison. Nice to have you stop by. Wish it could be in person. I'd love to get a chance to talk to you soon.

Jeannie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeannie said...

I'm the one who deleted the comment. I thought I was commenting on the next post--Day 5, but my computer somehow managed to pull a fast one on me and my comment showed up here instead. So, I had to move it to the right place.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I just found your blog yesterday via the Nester, so I'm late joining the 31 days. I really love your writing style and the concept of doing a little each day to climb out of chaos. I've been feeling overwhelmed and hopeless, so I'm glad to have found something to give me daily inspiration to do something, anything. Thanks a lot. Oh, and I already wrote my Week 1 goals and posted them on the fridge.

Sherry C said...

Hi, Anonymous Friend! I'm so glad you're here--better late than never, right? What an honor it is for my own messy life to be used to encourage and inspire others. It's hard to believe, really. You posted your Week One goals on the fridge? That's awesome. Keep it up. You've taken the all-important first steps; don't give up now! You can do it!