It's early in the morning and the dog is eager to get out the door. The kids are still sleeping as I trip over the cat as he races the dog back inside down the hallway, ever hopeful that I have put food out for him. They wait for me patiently while I have a shower and eventually head for our glorious golden light filled kitchen, and my day begins.
There are just a few basics in my little kitchen - a stove, a fridge, electric jug and a blender. The rest of the kitchen is filled with an eclectic collection of bottles, apothecary jars, preserves, bookcases of dried foods and bubbling concoctions brewing and fermenting on most benches while the herbs I want for the winter are hung for drying - releasing their aromas.
This room has had many manifestations. We rent, so I can't redecorate, instead I move the furniture - always with the intention to clean and make it more practical and easy to navigate - I'm a furniture moving master! It wasn't until I made some changes where the kitchen became a space that I would love to sit and read a book in, that it became my place of fun and creativity.
Now, don't get me wrong - there's been plenty of food lovingly made from this little space, but now, I want to be in it all the time - sitting, relaxing, conversing and creating. I realised that I had forgotten to include a piece of my own personality into the mix - a place for me amongst the kitchen wares.
There's usually some sort of fruit or vegetable being processed for winter preservation in a box or bucket on the floor, so navigating the little space can be a form of obstacle course on occasion. The family's quite used to it - it's usually me that has a bit of a bleat about how I can't clean the bloody floor! And then, when there is the mental space, I tidy up - and all is well again with the world. Balance restored, at least until the next cleaning day. So...
Here's some simple ways to feel that you're on top of the kitchen that have I have found helpful and have worked in my house.
1. Clear away any clutter - Give everything a place and take items that belong in other rooms to those spaces. While it's in your hands - put it away or at the very least, give some thought to where it could go. Put any remaining items in a washing basket and leave it in the garage or shed out of sight. If you haven't used it for over a month or more - is it really needed - is there someone you know who will use it?
2. Clear your sink, do the dishes and wipe the benches clean. Sounds so easy doesn't it, in truth, it is. Take the time to wash and dry your dishes. Get them out of the way. Put on your favourite music and enjoy the space you have - whether you do it on your own or share it with someone else - just enjoy the process - it has to be done anyway - so do it on your own terms.
3. Clean the fridge. Remove any unwanted food, wipe and freshen the shelves.
4. Wash the floors.
OMG I hear you say - this is just how to clean the house!
When you smell the clean floors, put clean, healthy food into your fridge and have space to create your next meal, I promise you - you will feel so much better - when just these things are done.
Remember though - you don't have to do this all at once. Make it part of the kids routine or wake up 10 minutes earlier, most of all -however you decide to do it - make it fun and be grateful for the kitchen space - It'll be reflected in your food!