We have owned 4 homes in our lifetime and I have always made it very important to keep them clutter free. There are many reasons but money is on the top of the list.
Let me give you a little background going back to the beginning. When we first got married, I couldn't boil water. I had been taught nothing by my grandmother and my mother didn't know how to either. My grandmother did all of the cooking since we lived with her and my grandfather.
Hubby and I moved into a very small apartment when we got married. The kitchen was so tiny that if you opened the refrigerator door, you couldn't get by to go to the table. The fridge sat next to the oven. Across from it was a free standing sink with two cupboards above it. That was it for storage. We had inches of counter space between the stove and fridge. It always seemed cluttered even if it wasn't. There were four doors in the kitchen, one to the bathroom, one to the stairs going outside, one to our bedroom, and one to the living room which made the room seem even more cluttered. We had a table to eat at but if we had company, we had to pull it away from a wall so we could all sit down. All of this made it difficult for me who couldn't cook anything to make our meals. I relied on the two cookbooks I owned. I had many flops and just tried to cook simple basic things because of it. I was always uncomfortable in that kitchen because it was so cramped and it always felt so cluttered. Hence, for all of these reasons, we ate fast food more than we should of.
When we moved into our first home, a big kitchen was a priority. We owned a raised ranch and the kitchen, at the time, seemed huge to me compared to the apartment kitchen. That is when I really started to learn to cook. I even took cooking classes. I still didn't have a lot of storage but I took over a coat closet near the kitchen as extra storage. But as I learned to cook and as we had 2 babies in the early years, my kitchen started to look cluttered with appliances and things on counters. When I would cook a big meal for us or for company, I would end up with a big mess that I would have to clean up afterward. I hated it. I quickly figured out that if I didn't make complicated meals, it was easier clean up.
I always wanted to go out to eat to avoid the mess. But there was a problem with that kind of thinking. We had just purchased our first home and there was no wiggle room to go out to eat if we wanted to meet our bills and save for our goals. Something had to change.
Then one day as I was baking homemade quick bread, I looked at the mess and thought why don't I clean up as I go so that I don't have the mess at the end. That is the day, my kitchens started looking more and more uncluttered. I realized how much I loved it and how much more comfortable it made me feel when I cooked anything. From that day forward, I not only cleaned up as I cooked or baked but I cleaned out all of the clutter from counters and cabinets. I wanted to live in a clutter free environment because it made me feel so good.
It made me happy to be in my kitchen when I had to cook. That feeling made me want to do the same in every room of my home. I cleaned every room until it was clutter free and made me happy.
Our next three homes I kept the same way. I would pick up at night before I went to bed and wake up to a clean home every morning. When I worked full time and had many volunteer activities at our sons' private school, we were on a tight schedule but we all pitched in so that our home was clean and clutter free.
Our home in Arizona was supposed to be our forever retirement home and it was a ranch that was open concept. If I hadn't kept it clutter free, I would have been able to see the clutter from almost every room in the house. When our plans changed, we moved here and we had another open concept home built. The way you see my kitchen pictured is the way my kitchen always looks except as I am cooking and cleaning as I go.
Because I feel so much happier in a clutter free home is not the main reason why I have kept all of our homes that way. Although that certainly helps.
The main reason is that it saves money. If your home is cluttered and especially your kitchen, you do not feel like spending time there. When your kitchen is not functional because of that clutter, you do not want to make meals in that mess. It is not a pleasant environment. Hence, you go out to dinner or get fast food two or maybe even three times per week. That is costing you money that you could be spending to pay off debt, save for an important goal like your retirement, a home, or your children's education.
When we had to save for all of these goals, we went out to dinner very infrequently especially when we had two children. It was expensive to do that and it never tasted as good as we thought it would. Hence most of our meals were made at home and they continue to be. Now that we have retired and there are only two of us, there is more wiggle room in the budget to go out to eat and we do especially when our family is visiting us or we go out with friends. But we still prefer to cook and eat most of our meals at home.
It is cheaper than going out and we still have goals to reach. I also know that my kitchen is probably cleaner than any restaurant or fast food kitchen and I know that my hands are clean when I cook.
Every morning I get up and walk out into my clean and clutter free kitchen and it brings a smile to my face. It helps me set the mood for a stress free day. It is a pleasure to cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner in that environment. I can find whatever I need to cook with minimum effort. It is a pleasure to clean up from those meals. And most importantly, it is a pleasure to save the money it costs to eat out all of the time.
Do you feel better cooking in a clean, clutter free kitchen? Does it set the tone for your clutter free day?