I’ve been on a cleaning binge. I know where everything is in my storage closet, every shoe and sweater has a designated place, and I’ve sent dozens of bags and boxes off to charity. These efforts help ease my stress, give me the illusion that I have some control. Until it comes to the dining table.
The dining table is the first big surface that people encounter when they enter my home. It’s where everyone sets up laptops, mail gets thrown and sorted, packages get deposited, keys and sunglasses get lost. I can clean all the closets I want, but the mess on this table makes the whole place feel messy. I need to get it handled.
Just in time! Unclutterer has posted “Strategies for Keeping Clutter Off Your Dining Table.” I’m taking these preventive measures, pronto.
1. I’ll create a mail processing station by the main entrance where we can sort, shred, trash, recycle, and properly handle all mail.
2. I’ll install hooks for coats and bags by the main entrance so these items don’t end up on the table.
3. I’ll find a place to hide a trash can and recycling bin near the dining table.
4. I’ll move seldom-used china and silver to more remote locations and free up the sideboard for things we actually use in the dining room: place mats and napkins, pencils and paper, scissors, reading glasses, table cleaning supplies, laptop cords, an extension cord.
5. This one is my favorite. I’ll start setting the table long before dinner is made to prevent housemates from depositing items on the table. (Why didn't I think of this before?)
6. I’ll touch it once. I won’t just move piles from place to place, but I’ll properly sort through items, throw out the trash, put toys away, shred the credit card applications, and file papers. (It’s about time to re-implement this strategy in my office as well.)
7. OK, OK. I’ll get rid of the catch-all plate that lives on the table, just begging for clutter to collect. (This one will be hard for me. I love that plate. But I’m done with the clutter.)
Set the table early to discourage people from dropping their stuff on it. Photo by Peter Mauss