Yesterday I Cleaned the Kitchen: Today it’s a Mess!

Messy kitchen

Yesterday I cleaned our kitchen. Tidied up, scrubbed the floors, got it sparkling!

And today it is a mess … again.

When I get an “attitude” about all the hard work I put into cleaning something, and then hours later it’s lived in, unorganized, cluttery and not very “pretty” anymore, I have to remind myself of this:

A lived in house means LIFE.

We have a very active family. Three teens coming and going, not to mention my husband and me. A dog and 2 cats. Friends and a very busy social life.

Do I really need a house that stays perfectly clean, untouched, and unlived in?

No. I’d rather have people around me, living life to the fullest, happiness, laughter. Like this party. And this party.

Even though we got the dishwasher going after my Dad’s birthday dinner, and several of us were hand-washing dishes, I still woke up to this.

Messy kitchen

And this.

Messy kitchen

Partly because I was pooped when the night was over and I said, “in the morning!”

messy kitchen

I think the key to no mess is staying on top of it all. I usually don’t go to bed until I get 90% of the mess cleaned up. (Below: Clean dishes that we did hand-wash!)

Messy kitchen

What is your routine for keeping things tidy in your kitchen? Especially when you entertain?

24 comments on “Yesterday I Cleaned the Kitchen: Today it’s a Mess!”

  1. Can you tell me where you had the handprint plates done that are on your backsplash? They’re adorable.


  2. “Many hands make work light.”
    Delegate My friend!!!
    Person #1-Put of the fridge stuff (butter, salad dressing, etc)
    Person #2-Put left overs in containers
    Person#3-Gather dirty dishes from table
    Person#4-load dishwasher
    Person#5-handwash pots
    #6-dry and put away
    #7-wipe of table
    TAKES 15 MINUTES TOPS! I have found that even the biggest chauvinist doesn’t complain.
    .-= Livin’ Louisiana!´s last blog ..Wednesdays With Lisa….. =-.

  3. love the handprint plates …

  4. We have an old country home with no dishwasher and no counter space, so if I can’t keep up with the dishes during dinner prep…I just put them in an extra large rolling cooler, close the lid and enjoy the party! The next day…dishes get done ~ eventually ~ usually a team effort between me, hubby and 4 kids.
    .-= Tami´s last blog ..Time Out! =-.

  5. When my first was a baby, I worked hard at getting the dishes done right after dinner, then felt left out as my husband played with the baby—so I learned to face them in the morning with a cheerful heart, knowing I had exchanged a clean kitchen (temporal) for quality family time (eternal). Of course, we did train the kids to clean up and they took turns doing dishes, but then those busy High School years hit, and some of the routines could not be maintained—Again, I had to let go—and adjust my attitude.
    When we have a party, I often turn down help cleaning up, to enjoy the time with my guests—my husband is a great help, and together, we get it done in no time later.

    Now that the kids are grown, the kitchen still doesn’t stay clean—even when I don’t cook!! LOL

    My mom used to have a plaque hanging in her kitchen that said, “our home is clean enough to be healthy, and dirty enough to be happy” On my wall, there is one that says, “It’s not what’s on the table (I might add– “on the counters, and in the sink”) that matters, but who’s on the chairs” I think betwixt the 2 sentiments—there’s a balance point. Having company regularly helps us to maintain a suitable level of mess control.

  6. At our house, truth be told, I’m the planner and he’s the preparer (’cause he’s a much better cook than I am!)

    When we dinner party, my husband is head chef and me, sous chef. Which also means I’m chasing him around cleaning up as much as possible as we go. It’s a nice division of labor! Our deal is that he unloads, and I load, and that suits me just fine…After dinner, I run a load, and he’ll often finish up what’s left in the morning. I usually do what hand-washing needs doing.

    I try to stick by the policy of not leaving the house, or going to bed, with dishes in the sink. Doesn’t always work that way…but I try.

  7. An ongoing clean up is basically the way we handle it. We have to remember the more we cook at home (a great thing), the more we need to clean (a necessary evil :) )
    [email protected]

  8. Even though I pretty much clean things as I go, I have to clean it all up before I go to bed. I just can’t face a mess first thing in the morning.
    .-= Linda´s last blog ..Photo Resolution 2010 =-.

  9. what a timely topic! just last night at bible study (we are doing beth moore’s “breaking free”) some of us gals were discussing idolatry and what in our lives can become “idols” to us. we talked about the work that we do w/our hands (Isaiah 2:8) — as women, what we create and do w/in our homes. and it segued in to our dirty kitchens! how frustrating it feels to clean, only to have a new mess in a few hours! we can all relate.

    and yet, we know deep down the most important thing: loving and serving people, growing relationships, feeding nourishing meals to our families.

    in answer to your question, i prefer a clean kitchen in the morning but i don’t feel bound by it! most nights, i do the “major cleanup” before bed and if a few dishes are soaking in the sink overnight, no prob. seeing clean counter tops really does help! ;) our 9 year old clears the table and the rest of the cleanup falls on me. when i am tempted to begrudge the work, i remember how blessed i am to GET to be home, serving my hubby and daughter and caring for our home. so i try to stay grateful. =)

  10. I aboslutely hate doing dishes and cleaning up, but since we have people over 2-3 times a week, it’s a must in our house that we clean up immediately after they leave. We only have a single sink, and so in order for us to function, we can’t pile dishes in the other one…because it doesn’t exist! :)

  11. I love it when I’m able to clean as I go, but that doesn’t always work out. Right now all the dishes are clean, but there are Legos on the countertop, schoolwork on the table, an unfinished project sitting to the side.

    I’m disorganized, but I’m alive. I think maybe real life is just messy. :)
    .-= Richella´s last blog ..A special day =-.

  12. I always do one load of dishes while my friends are enjoying an after dinner drink or starting up a game or movie. I’ve got a great room, so I’m able to still participate in the conversation, and it’s kind of soothing for me. That way, I don’t drop into bed from exhaustion at the end of the night with a disastrous kitchen!
    .-= the BLAH BLAH BLAHger´s last blog ..Front Loader Problem and Solution! =-.

  13. I love the reminder that a messy house is a lived in house! We’ve got loads of messes some days, and that’s okay. To keep things calm in the kitchen we employ teamwork-my kids are young but they’re still able to do simple tasks to help out. And for a party I really try to clean as I cook and make sure the majority of the mess is dealt with before bed. This doesn’t always happen, but it’s better than waking up to a disaster the next day!
    .-= Gina´s last blog ..Coffee Filter Wreath =-.

  14. I do not like a messy kitchen, but there are times when I’m just too tired to clean it. I always make sure I at least rinse all the dishes off and stack them neatly on the counter. I make sure the counter is at least wiped off and any food put away. Because my kitchen is seperate from the other “socializing” part of the house, I often leave dishes till later. I’d rather visit with guests than be stuck in the kitchen…unless someone is helping me.

    Waking up to a messy kitchen has always been something I’ve not enjoyed so I do my best to get it as clean as possible.

    This last week we’ve had two extra guests (plus our church had a conference so I was heading out the door shortly after each meal) which means more dishes and the conference meant less time to clean up. I’ve spent a lot of time in the kitchen, but I’ve managed to keep up with everything.
    .-= Kirstin´s last blog ..Recipe: Chicken and Spinach Stuffed Shells =-.

  15. I try to clean as I go. I always fill the sink with really hot soapy water and let the pots soak while we are eating. Scrapped plates are loaded into the dishwasher. While DD helps serve dessert or guests help themselves to the sideboard, the pots get done. For a big group I let it go. Dirty pans get put in the cooled oven and plates are stacked. As long as the counters get wiped, everything else can wait. And no, I never forget the dirty pans in the oven!

  16. Great reminder for me… I sometimes get discouraged after staying up late or getting up early to make my home look tidy and clean only to have it look messy or untidy a few hours later. But I have to remind myself having four young children and homeschooling them that this is our life…and I am truly blessed. When we entertain I clean up as I go. I do the dinner dishes prior to serving up desert… I can not handle waking up to a messy kitchen. big grin… Maybe I am slightly looney. thanks for a great post.
    .-= Helen´s last blog ..I love the wet season… =-.

  17. I have to work on that “attitude” too. ;)

    I try very hard to clean as I go. And I make make-ahead dishes for entertaining, so that I can spend time with my guests and have fewer kitchen chores. I do try to get some of the dishes done directly after dinner, even if we have company. But I won’t slave away and make the kitchen spotless while missing my guests. Some of it just has to wait for later.

    I have to admit though, I have a very hard time going to bed if the kitchen isn’t done. Anything to avoid a sink full of dishes in the morning! :)
    .-= Elizabeth L´s last blog ..You Just Don’t Get Cuter Than This =-.

  18. It wasn’t when my kids were living at home. (Although my ex was a stickler for a clean house)

    Now my kitchen is pristine. I now hate waking up to a mess in the kitchen. Age does that to you. ;)
    However, when everyone is home, I revert back to my “let it all go” attitude.
    .-= Barbara´s last blog ..An Old Fashioned Torte =-.

  19. I do not clean the dishes when I have guests…I enjoy them! Dishes are patient…they will be there.

    sandy toe
    .-= Sandy Toes´s last blog ..New Year’s Resolutions in February???? =-.

  20. I clean as I go but good grief… it seems after dinner, some how the dishes have tripled. Always a challenge! But your attitude of a home being lived in is my motto too… I work hard to keep it picked up but some days it is tough.
    .-= Cynthia´s last blog ..Sewing: Monogrammed Pillows =-.

  21. 99% of the time we hand wash dishes but when we entertain I throw as much as I can in the dishwasher and that helps a lot. The pots and pans get hand washed. Sometimes I’ll go straight to the kitchen after we eat and start the process and I’m sure to be followed by someone who is willing to help. Then maybe 15 minutes later we are back visiting and having a good time and I’m not left with a huge mess.
    But I have just “let it go till morning” more times than I want to count! LOL!
    .-= Kim´s last blog ..Why Does Food Have To Taste So Good? =-.

  22. I agree with Kim – “clean as I go” as much as I can! My husband is a huge help, too – he always grabs a dish towel to dry the dishes as I wash after our company is gone (no dishwasher in our house!). It’s always a good time for us to connect and to reflect on our visit with friends – and the job gets done much quicker!

  23. We tend to clean everything right away.
    Probably not the best policy.
    Interesting thing to think about though.
    .-= Suzann´s last blog ..I’m Dreaming Of A White Kitchen… =-.

  24. Great topic!! I love that a house that is lived in has life, and I might add “joy”!

    My motto for cleaning the kitchen is, “clean as I go”!
    .-= Kim´s last blog ..Homemade? =-.

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