Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Homemaking Tip: Demolish the Catch-All!

If you're coming here from The Nesting Place, an amazing site, by the way, please accept my apologies for misreading the carnival rules. I was too bleary-eyed at one in the morning to do a good job of comprehending them, and I thought I was supposed to post on ways to improve our space! So, I did that instead of actually using "mistreatments". Unfortunately, there are no mistreatments of any kind here. Now, if you want to keep reading, be my guest. If not, hit the back button and read some of the other amazing posts! You guys all have some GREAT ideas!

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The first time I lived in a house with an island in the kitchen was when I was 32 years old. I was excited beyond belief that I would have this new plethora of counter space in which to experience all manner of culinary creativity. I expressed this to my then husband and his response was, "It's just going to become a place where you pile everything you don't know what to do with." Of course, he was wrong, and I would prove it! Never, from that day forth, did I EVER put anything there that didn't belong. In fact, I made a cute little plaid runner to put in the middle of the island, and on that set a large colorful bowl filled with tempting fruits of the season. I freely admit, that had he not said what he did, my island would have, indeed, become a catch-all!

Do you have places like this in your home? I do...and so does my mother. In case you haven't figured it out, I have been staying with my mother for an extended period this summer. It started out for just two weeks, but as I realized the merits of having her hands as another pair to carry, bathe, clothe, sooth, pat, burp, bounce, and hug the twins, I just kept staying and staying....and staying. I kept thinking I should go home, but then I thought...why? I was happy, she was happy, Joseph and Hyrum were happy, so I am still here. I'm not sure she's still happy, but that is not my problem. Why do I tell you this? Because she has a place where things collect, too. Her place is an antique hutch right inside the entrance to her house. All manner of items collect here, such as: Off bug spray, keys, mail, Tylenol, outlet covers, Coke cans, pens, trash, items that need to be taken to the car or that have been brought in from the car, extension cords, pork rinds.....the list could go on and on.

The problem was that this is the first place anyone saw upon entering her home and it was always an eyesore, so we came up with this solution:


This classy sign my mother created serves as a reminder to all that this is NOT a place to drop your things when you come in. I found myself CONSTANTLY going to put something on the hutch, then catching a glimpse of the sign and quickly jerking away the hand that was holding the offending item. Other family members found themselves doing the same thing. As a result, for FOUR WHOLE DAYS, the hutch has stayed looking like this...


Please excuse the small amount of dust on the top shelf. We've had a rough week, okay?

Hopefully, we will be able to remove the sign, but since they say it takes 21 days to form a new habit, perhaps it will occupy the premises for 17 days more.

Let me know what results you have with this technique!

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

In small letters, AT the bottom of the DO NOT DROP notice, it is signed 'The Management'. Who is the management? Is the Lady of the House the manager of the house? the budget? the kids schedule? the feeding schedule? the cleaning schedule? the bathing/personal care schedule? the bedtime schedule? the wake up schedule? - come to think of it, is there ANYTHING the Lady of the House does not manage?
Yours truly, the underling of THE MANAGEMENT - ME.

Derrick & Laurice said...

I think it's cute! You should make it on a wood block and leave it! Especially if it works!

MERRIANNE said...

that is REALLY FUNNY!! I LOVE IT!!!!

and yes....we have 2 drawers in the kitchen that are the JUNK DRAWERS. We used to have only one...but it kept getting JAMMED so we dedicated another one to the CAUSE!!! ha haaaa!!!

Rach =o) said...

Thats great. I'll have to try it. Ours is a walk in closet in the addition that never got shelving put in. We call it the "black hole" And it is just that. We tease the kids that if they go in there we'll never see them again.

rachelle said...

i abhor clutter and odds-n-ends. my hub, loves to collect them. our hot spot is the top of the microwave in the kitchen. i decided to give in and work with it instead of strangling my hub. i bought a leather valet and he puts his keys and wallet and random screws and change there. but i can only imagine how exacerbated the problem would get with more people contributing- the sign is hilarious. great idea! (p.s. and the most random item currently in the valet? a lone christmas ornament! what the?)

CJ, the Purple Diva said...

I love the sign! Could I get one of those made for say, each room of my house...say life size so it could stand in every room as a reminder to these MEN in my house this is not the CATCH ALL place. I don't have just one place, there are MANY places so I would need MANY signs!
Glad to hear you are enjoying the time with your mother. I miss my mother so much. She sure helped me a LOT!

RhondaLue said...

I would need about 38 of those signs. I fear that if I used a sign on day one it would be smashed down underneath some super important stack of papers (not!) or highly imperative transformer toy or something.

I keep telling my fam that if "there's no place else to put anything" then we need to purge....a LOT...and make a place. ugh

Amanda B. said...

very cool idea...I definitely have areas like this in my house! I completely understand! Very cool, too, that you have been hanging with your mom. I think if I was visiting my mom while my twins were tiny I wouldn't have left either...

Bobbi said...

I love the sign. I need to put one over the front door! We will be glad when you come home to "visit". We miss you here.

the dutson five said...

Ha ha! I love it! And, that's funny what you said about the kitchen island.

We just moved about a year ago into a house with a huge kitchen island. I was so excited! SO much counter space!!

And, it is ALWAYS covered with stuff.

Right now, it has first off, the beautiful bowl of appealing fruit, partially covered by last night's shopping bags, my purse, baby wipes, the baby bouncy seat, mail, my cell phone, hand sanitizer (of course!), some diapers, and some new knobs and handles that I want to install on the kitchen cupboards and drawers. And, this is on a relatively good, clean day...

I'm going to clean it off right now.

Jed said...

My wife(comment above) constantly tells me I need to purge my stuff. I know I do, but I just need a new place to put all the stuff. I know, its wrong in so many ways. I always feel great when(rarely) I clean off lets say the dresser or the tv or the buffet(you get the idea) It looks great. I always want to go to the next area. But the problem is.... while I AM throwing stuff out, I am also "boxing" stuff that I cannot seem to part with. I mean I might really need ------(fill in the blank) someday. So things just tend to move to the next area. Unfortunately my Garage is becoming the next 'black hole'(thanks for the term Rachel) My wife can barely fit the suburban in the garage. Many a person has almost needed search and rescue. And the worst of it is.........I know I have something I need....like for tubing last night.....but because everything is stacked everywhere I cannot find ANYTHING, except everything I dont need or needed yesterday. Sorry for commenting so long....Face it I need help (hey, maybe MY next blog entry?)

Barbiemat said...

Cute. Our "No Drop Zone" is on the dresser. It drives me CRAZY. Garrett carries around tons of little papers, wrappers, receipts, etc. in his pockets all day and then they end up on my dresser. I need a sign like your Mom's.

Kelli said...

Love the sign and I love the idea of making it into cute wooden blocks/sign etc and then as the 21 days go by you could move it to a new clutter area! Okay, now help us with SOCKS! I may have to blog about socks soon...

the singer family said...

We don't have catch-alls in our house. If you recall, I'm more of a basket person.
suz

Krissy said...

lol ... What do you do if EVERY surface in your house is the catch-all zone? lol

Carla said...

I love this! I have many spots we could use a 'no drop zone' sign! I'm enjoying your blog-keep it up!

Melinda Pink said...

Hmm management.... I like! I will try the sign on my entrance way table for the 21 days but after that I am using my managerial right to throw the crap away.

Kristin said...

See, Jenny, you've paid back Mom (and more!) for all her service to you this summer!

Bonita said...

Great idea! I need about six of those signs! Maybe you could make them up and sell them.

Screaming Meme said...

I love that sign! You are so cute! Screaming Meme

The Nester said...

I need 6 of those signs please.

hey...I didn't see any mistreating going on here--you get a pass since you have 3 in diapers!

Aubrey said...

Funny--I need some signs for my own reminder, except I would say, "Oh wait, I AM the management, I'll drop where I please!"

I wonder how my mom would feel about me making some of those for her house...

Aubrey said...

Oh yeah, I have a Hyrum too and when we found out his little brother was a boy, my husband wanted to name him Joseph, but that a bit much on Mormon names for me. :) I bet your boys are the best of brothers.

frillsfluffandtrucks said...

Where is the mistreatment? You got me all excited with the island talk...and then nothing! :)

~ Sarah