Live From Our House, It’s Saturday Night

Yup, it’s another random weekend post about stuff on tables (remember this one from a few weeks back?). I have a new mission in life: to keep our kitchen table clear of junk.

Okay, maybe “mission in life” is a bit strong. This goal ranks far below real life missions like to be a good husband and father, put food on the table, and avoid aspartame (I’m mildly allergic). But just like my resolution last fall to make the bed everyday for a month, I recently decided I was fed up with how our kitchen table was increasingly becoming a not-so-temporary landing pad for shopping bags, unread mail, sewing supplies (notnaminganynamessherry) and other clutter. Meaning it was becoming less and less functional as a dining spot (and less and less pleasant to look at).

So without even telling Sherry (she’ll probably learn about this goal when she notices this post at some point this weekend) I’ve taken on the task of clearing off the table each night before heading to bed. Since keeping it clear 24/7 would be unrealistic (not to mention counterproductive – what’s the use of a table that you can’t put things on?) I decided if I could just clear it at the end of each day it would avoid becoming overrun with random items. And in the morning it would look nice. At least for a moment.

I’ve only been doing it for about a week (and I’ve already fallen off of the wagon a couple of nights) but so far I’m liking the results. For one, it’s forcing us to actually deal with some of our clutter (i.e. sort the mail, unload shopping bags, put away dishes). And I’m no psychologist, but there’s gotta be some mental health benefit to starting your day off with a cleared-off, ready-for-anything table. If nothing else, at least I’m enjoying the fact that I don’t have to push aside magazine piles to feed Clara breakfast first thing every morning.

Do any of you have nightly cleaning routines? Or are you currently planning your own cleaning resolution? I’m proof that they can stick. Yep, believe it or not, I still manage to make the bed every single day since last fall’s resolution. And Clara helps. Burger, on the other hand, does not. He still does this:

And this (same deal, different bed):

Oh well, you can’t win ’em all.


  1. Jen says

    I need to start doing that! When I’ve really got it together, I try to have the kitchen sink and counters clean every night before bed. In fact, when our toddler was a newborn, that was the one chore I managed to keep up, because nothing was worse than sitting up in the middle of the night nursing a baby and staring at a sink full of dirty dishes I couldn’t do anything about.

    Lately, my husband and I have picked it back up as a routine. After toddler bedtime, we pack back down to the kitchen, and he works and I clean up while we listen to an audiobook. It feels very homey.

  2. PatC says

    Ever heard of Flylady?
    She has some daily routines for ‘sidetracked home executives to use. The first is to shine your sink, then there is decluttering, etc. If you choose do her routines, you shouldn’t ever have to spring clean. Woo-hoo!

    I’m working my way through my clutter right now – hitting the hotspots and trying to get to the point where I can do her daily routines (without breaking my neck falling over paint cans in the hall, etc. ) I’m getting there a little at a time.

    • bridget b. says

      haha! flylady was the first thing i thought of when i read this post. i actually joined the flylady yahoo group shortly after i got married 3 1/2 years ago. i have a much lower tolerance for messiness around the house than my husband, so i was really about to go nuts.

      ironically, i ended up quitting the group pretty quickly because reading the daily flylady emails started to become one more chore that i had to deal with. BUT, there really was something motivating about taking charge with that one cleaning ritual each day. our dining table has been at the top of my list for quite some time, so i’m totally going to try this challenge as well.

    • Jennifer S. says

      I LOVE Flylady. I am struggling a bit to implement her program – I guess I’m what she calls a “flybaby”, still learning to fly :) but the ideas are SO good and it makes so much sense. Also, she is so encouraging – you can’t help but love her.

    • Amanda B. says

      Haha, I came to the comments to suggest Flylady too! My husband actually works for them, managing servers and website software. The whole “system” is based on building good habits, just one habit at a time, until your house seems to run on autopilot. Sounds like the Petersiks are off to a good start!

      Anyone else looking for Flylady can point straight to

  3. says

    I try to keep the house picked up of ‘schtuff’, but with a 3-month old in the house, I struggle with all the extras that come along with our sweet bambino. How did the YHL crew deal with the baby gear that can easily take over? Oh, and I’m secretly hoping that one day, my husband decides to make resolutions like John does….:-)

  4. says

    We have a routine of doing dishes every night – I wash, my husband dries. It’s not only wonderful to start the next day with a clean counter and sink, but a nice way to finish the evening together, chatting about the day and tomorrow’s plans.

  5. Ana Silva says

    Burger is too cute and hilarious!
    I have been trying to have cleaning resolutions but keep breaking them. I get caught up on nothing which is the worst part! I have to play music in order to get crunk so I can go on a cleaning spree. I keep my house clean but I wish it was better. One day, one day.

    • Lisa in Seattle says

      If I had the authority to do so, I’d award you 1,000 YHL points for “crunk.” Maybe if I throw on a little Ying Yang Twins, I’ll have the energy to tackle the Wall of Bookshelves Full of Random Crap, or the Kitchen Island of Wildlife Feeding Supplies.

  6. Jenna says

    Kudos to you, John! Wishing every hubby was as motivated in that department. If I don’t pick it up, it won’t get picked up.But oh well… I actually employ the same “clean in the evening” method with my kid’s rooms. Every night while I’m preparing dinner they have to clean up their rooms. That way they start the day with clean rooms, can play all day, and I don’t have to step on random toys when trying to tuck them in bed. Works great!

  7. says

    Its amazing how fast flat spaces become catch alls. I hate it, but I am at fault too. I refuse to buy another house without a designated purse/diaper bag/keys/shoes/soccer balls/mail place right inside the door. Most of the time, I clear off the table for dinner (or visitors) into a basket and empty it when it gets full or I have the time. Yup, even bills.
    Side note: I had my very own John, Sherry and Clara spotting yesterday! I refrained from stalking you guys as you shopped (we were listening to music and watching our little guys dance). I didn’t have anything or any reason to stop your Friday evening stroll! But I did email my YHL reader friends and wrote my own US Weekly celebrity spotting post!

  8. says

    I have read that if you spend 15 minutes a day cleaning up your house at the end of the night, you’ll stay on top of stuff. I don’t think that person had children, however.

    I like your goal. I have a similar goal, but it’s with our kitchen counters. Because, you know, we’re trying to keep the kitchen table clean, so everything lands on the countertops instead. Sigh. It’s like the people outside AA meetings chain-smoking away… trading one vice for another!

  9. Lori says

    I love this post! Right before I sat down to read this post I did my nightly “pick up”.

    Each night after our two boys are tucked into bed and before my husband and I sit down to read blogs or watch TV, I like to make sure the kitchen counter is cleaned off (that is our landing space). It’s hard for me to unwind at the end of the day if I can see clutter and it’s hard for the next day to start right if I’m greeted by clutter.

    The most important thing for me though is to make sure the “pick up” is done BEFORE I sit down to watch TV, or else, as you can imagine….It never gets done.

  10. says

    I have a bad habit of dropping things on the table when I come in the door too! That Burger is such a cute little animal! He really does a number on your made beds!

  11. rachael says

    Oh Em Gee. I love that little doggie of yours soo much!!! I just want to snuggle him, those videos are adorable. I love the idea of clearing the table. I think I will go clean our kitchen right now before bed. Thanks for the kick in the butt!

  12. says

    Every night before bed I tell my husband to do the dishes. It doesn’t work. We need to do something about the clutter on our counter though. It’s outta control!

  13. Audra says

    So I heard a rumor today that made me immediately think of you guys. I heard from a friend (keeping my fingers crossed it’s true) that Ikea is coming to Short Pump next year. My husband up to this point has refuses to go with me because he does not like NoVa.

    • says

      HOLYBANANAS!!!!!!!!!!!! If that’s true I’m going to be doing cartwheels and 6th grade cheers on my front yard. I mean it Ikea. If you come to Richmond I’ll record video proof of my celebration dance.


    • Audra says

      I’ll be right there with you busting out my old high school cheers. I grew up in Europe and have had Ikea stuff since I was a baby. My husband just doesn’t understand how awesome that place is. I remember playing in a huge ball pit there. Oh the memories! Richmond needs it. Everybody say it with me… I scream, you scream, we all scream for IKEA!

    • Amanda says

      You can always email them, and ask them for sure. I did that once because there was a rumor going around Ikea was coming to my area. Alas, it was just a rumor. :(

  14. Carrie f says

    Love your blog!!!! You might enjoy
    It is a free cleaning and organization tips site with great ideas and she calls spots like your table “hot spots”.

    I don’t think you need her whole routine because you seem clean and organized anyway but she has some great ideas.

    P.S. Don’t be put off by the ugly website (:

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