One pile to the next around the house | Living with Gleigh

Most week nights we eat together at the table. It’s a time to decompress and connect as a family. In the summer our eating schedule gets off, but because my husband still has a work schedule, I try to cook dinner and gather the kids for the meal.

Most week nights we eat together at the table. It’s a time to decompress and connect as a family. In the summer our eating schedule gets off, but because my husband still has a work schedule, I try to cook dinner and gather the kids for the meal.

It takes different forms in the summer. Dinner is a little later because when my husband gets home from work at 2:15 pm, the kids have probably just eaten lunch an hour before. We stand in the kitchen to bless our meal and then I route the family towards the clearest flat surface available.

We usually eat outside on our back patio in the summer. I’d like to say it’s because the weather is nice and it’s enjoyable to eat out there. My youngest daughter, who does not like bugs, spends meal time squealing over every fly, spider and ant who threatens to come into her territory. Really though, the reason we mostly eat out on the back patio is because for some reason in the summer the table is full of stuff.

A person could probably walk into our house and observe what we’d been doing that week by digging into the stuff on the kitchen table. My husband piles the mail on the table; the Costco staples end up there until someone (me) decides to put them away; a bag of towels from a pool/Wild Waves/beach run is probably sitting there; a bottle of sunscreen hurriedly set down on the way out the door; whatever book I’ve set down after reading it on the back patio, along with my reading glasses; my husband’s lunch containers from the week; canvas shopping bags that need to make it back to the car.

Why the penchant to set stuff on the table? I think all that same stuff gets set there during the school year (save for the sunscreen and towels), but when the weather turns cold and blustery we stop eating on the patio. So every day during the school year I clean the Horizontal Collection Station, otherwise known as the kitchen table, off.

Unfortunately, I transfer much of the kitchen table stuff to the coffee table, thus, creating another Horizontal Collection Station (from now on known as HCS). Once every couple weeks I’ll dig into the piles on and around the coffee table and clean it off.

Then, you probably guessed this, I move the stuff onto my office desk, again creating a HCS. My office desk is usually the last HCS I have on which to transfer the pile of stuff. It has become a diminished pile by then and things like shopping bags and groceries have filtered out and gotten put away and I’m left with the paperwork.

Once it ends up on my desk I go through it when the pile threatens avalanche levels. But I always have an additional pile left  “ to take care of later.” The “take care of later” pile sits there until more paperwork filters in from the HCSs in the other rooms. Pretty soon my “take care of later pile” is at the bottom of new stuff and I have to start over.

I recently completely cleaned off my HCS of a desk. I made myself sit there and take care of every piece of paper residing on my desk. I filed, made phone calls, and transferred numbers until the pile was gone and my desk was truly empty.

My youngest daughter asked me if I could please keep it that way. Apparently, she doesn’t like to have to run for her life when she’s sitting at MY desk playing computer games or skyping with her friends. Poor kid, it’s just a shame she would only have her cell phone and Nintendo DS to use (I say this with the utmost sarcasm).

I do admit I like having a clean desk. I also like having a clean kitchen table and coffee table. But every time I resolve to keep my HCSs clear of clutter, someone sets something down.

Sometimes it’s even me who sets stuff down, but I’ll never admit to it. Why should I? I have to pick it up anyway.





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