Why Your Life Is Like A Kitchen Counter

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Every day I walk in and make a crucial decision:

Do I set my stuff down on the counter or do I put it all away? And you know what affects my decision most of all…

Is there stuff already on the counter?

Because if there’s stuff already on the counter, it’s not worth trying to keep it tidy. It’s already not tidy so I might as well just dump my stuff.

But if the counter is spotless and glorious? I happily put each thing away where it goes. Things are wonderful and clean and I want to keep it that way. All is right with the world.

I call this kitchen counter inertia principle.

Because everyone loves imaginary pseudo-scientific principles.

Have you heard of inertia? It’s the (actual) physics principle that states an object in motion tends to stay in motion and an object at rest tends to stay at rest.

A tidy kitchen counter tends to stay tidy. A messy counter tends to stay messy.

And so are the days of our lives…

What is your life like?

Is it time to take back your kitchen counter? Time to take back your days? Your….mornings?

All it takes is a small action to get things in motion.

Sidenote: Registration for the Hello Mornings Challenge starts on Wednesday. Ahem…

Do you tend to drop stuff on your center when you get home? If not, do you have any organization tips to share? Click here to tell us!

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  • Oh my gosh, the Kitchen Counter Inertia Principle is so sooooo true in my life. You’ve put into words and given a name to something I have been pondering for a while now.

    And speaking of mornings, this morning I got myself out of bed early while my husband was getting ready for work. I used to do this, but had gotten out of the habit over the last year. Not only did he appreciate the company in the quiet or the dawning morning, but it was a help to him for me to mix up his coffee and pack up everything he needed. I hope to get back into this rhythm again and find time once he leaves to get deep into prayer and the Word before my girls tumble out of bed.

    Thanks for this post! The timing is perfect!

    • Avatar Kat says:

      Sounds like you had a great morning Michelle!

      And it’s nice to know I’m not alone in my kitchen counter principle. 🙂

  • Yeah, the KCIP is true around here too! Funny, cleaning off the kitchen counter is number 1 on my to-do list today. Great minds think alike?

  • Avatar Jody says:

    I can’t decide if I should join the challenge again or not. It was not what I expected at all. My group was neither inspiring nor encouraging. Are the groups any better on Facebook? Any thoughts?

    • Avatar JessicaD says:

      Yes, Jody some groups are much more active than others. Maybe you should think about being a leader?

    • Avatar Kat says:

      Were you in an email group? This was the first time we did them and I didn’t think they worked well at all, for the most part.

      One thing we are doing differently this time is we will have forums here on the site, so even if you are part of a group that fizzles (although we have a few new things in place to help prevent that) you can always join in the forums and get plenty of encouragement there.

    • Avatar Jennifer says:

      Come join our group! It was awesome! Many of us disappeared but the 3 or 4 that remained had such good conversations and feel we have become friends. Those of us who are doing it again are going to ask to sign up together (we were group 52). We are trying facebook this time and hope that it works. We signed up for email and realized it was overwhelming so then one of us who is technically inclined set up a private blog for us on blogger and we have been using that. We would love to have you join us Jody – I hope it is not a problem for Kat to put us together again and then add in some more to fill out the group. We found being in this group to be so encouraging and I am amazed at the change in my mornings!

      • Avatar Jody says:

        Kat – I was in an e-mail group
        Jennifer – That is exactly what I was looking for. I would love to join your group!

      • Avatar Kat says:

        Yes, group will be able to stay together, but to keep the admin to a minimum, we’ll ask that the groups form themselves – so if there are only 2-3 people and you want a bigger group, instead of me trying to match everyone up, we’ll ask that you find the additional group members.

        We plan to set up a forum where, among other things, you’ll be able to fill up your group with people like Jody who didn’t have a good group experience.

        Thanks so much for taking the time to share and encourage Jody!

      • Avatar Jennifer says:

        I hope you see this. Send me an email at jenniferingrid@yahoo.ca and I’ll make sure you stay in the loop as we re-form our group for the next challenge!

  • Avatar Angela Smith says:

    As always, Kat, you are soooo ON TIME with your wisdom! I have been slowly “reclaiming” rooms of our house that had just been allowed to get out of control–the playroom, my bedroom became the “holding area” for all clothes my 4 kids had outgrown, etc. Now that we are making SOO MUCH PROGRESS in these areas (and kept it up for almost a month!) I am ready to tackle the dreaded kitchen counter–you have INSPIRED me to TAKE ACTION!!

  • Avatar JessicaD says:

    Today would be a bad day at my house to share pictures of real life counters. Agh! must go clean!

  • Avatar Karin says:

    I have a corner area on my counter when I keep my purse and outgoing mail, as well as anything else I need to take out with me next time I go out. It’s also the place I drop stuff when I get home -and then I whittle it down as the day goes on. Just this past weekend it was piled high with parcels and Christmas mail to be sent, and oh good it felt when I cleared it all off this morning and took it to post office… But it usually doesn’t stay empty for long.

    • Avatar Kat says:

      Great tip! I think I need to get a basket or something just to keep it from looking more tidy even when stuff is dumped.

  • Avatar Karrie says:

    So glad I am not alone with my cluttered counter. Thanks for the perspective!

  • Avatar Michelle says:

    Almost. Always. Messy.

  • Avatar Kariann says:

    This post rings so true in my life. I am linking to it on my little blog. 🙂

  • My mornings have been out of control. Mainly because I’ve not been getting a lot of sleep lately so I wake up super late.

    That should change soon. Vacation til 2012 beging next Tuesday!

  • Avatar Melissa says:

    I have found that if the kitchen counters are cleaned off, my husband will come home and say “The house looks great!” thinking I’ve cleaned the whole house, when I usually haven’t. The reverse is also true though, so this is another reason for me to go clean them right now!
    Thanks for your blog, Kat. It really has changed my life! God is so good and I’m grateful for your willingness to be an inspiration to me and many others.

    • Avatar Jennifer says:

      That is too funny – I have noticed the same thing with my husband. I have realized that clearing the kitchen counter and table has way more value than mopping the floor! I think I’d better go do that right now as the table has the most ridiculous pile on it that never seems to fully disappear.

      • Avatar Kat says:

        Ha! I wish that worked for me. My husband works from home, so there’s no last minute before 5pm clean up for me. Well, actually, I do it anyway, but he sees the mess at 10am, 2pm and 4pm. too. 🙂

    • Avatar Joyce says:

      Too funny! That’s great though…all you have to clean are the counters. =p

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  • Avatar Laura says:

    I have the same kitchen counter principle!!! That’s funny! One thing I have done that has helped is have a cardboard container that stands upright & files fit in them (there is probably a name for it but I don’t know what it is). Each member of the family has their own file. I also have a file for “Needs Immediate Attention” & “Receipts”. I try to file papers that are left on the kitchen counter immediately – then have the kids go through their file later to see what they want to keep & what they can recycle.

  • Avatar Joyce says:

    I’ve heard of this principle in terms of people littering…that people are more likely to litter if there’s garbage on the ground already. Anyhow, this is great analogy to life as we know it! Our group didn’t work out this session, but I am still looking forward to the next one in January. I can’t wait to forward to what’s in store for all of us. Praying!

  • Avatar Margaret says:

    In my house it’s the kitchen table. I confess that sometimes we just have to push things out of the way in order to have a place for dinner plates. That’s one of the areas on my list to work on. Once I master getting all the dishes done by bedtime every night I’ll move on to clearing the kitchen table every night!

  • Avatar Sarah Chia says:

    I do pretty well to keep my counter clean… and I also do pretty well to keep my life uncluttered, but it has definitely been a very intentional process. Practically speaking, the counter thing is something that I have to keep on top of every day. I have one little corner right by the garage door that tends to accumulate. So, I have turned the cabinet above that spot into our “landing area” for purse, keys, wallet, etc. That at least hide the clutter, even though the clutter itself is sometimes still there.

    Papers, though, are my big thing, and I’ve started getting all my bill electronically, which helps limit the clutter, and I try to go through the mail immediately upon bringing it in. Most of that is recyclable, and gets tossed straight into the bin, which is also in our kitchen.

    As for life… that’s harder. But waking up early has definitely helped me be prepared for the day, and having a schedule for our days works for us too. (Some people would look at my schedule and think I’m anal, but it keeps me sane and helps me to not allow clutter into my life. And I do try to stay flexible and to realize that it won’t work perfectly every day.)

  • Avatar judy says:

    One thing I do to help manage the paperwork is to NOT get the mail every day…I try to wait until I know I am going to have time to process the papers. Better to have it sit in the mailbox rather than on my counter
    Of course, there is still the daily papers that come home from school and my success in dealing effectively with it depends on how busy my schedule is.