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It’s not because your spouse and children won’t do their part. It’s not because you have ADD. It’s not because your house doesn’t work for your family. It’s because you either don’t have a system/routine or because your systems/routines are too complicated!

You have systems in place at work. You need them in your house too. You need a system for everything you need to have done in your house. You need a system for your finances. The simpler the better. Your system needs to be workable when things fall apart, which they do quite often. And your system needs to WORK with a minimum of logjams. Here are a couple of examples of a system that isn’t working well:

  1. Dishes are left in the sink overnight because no one can determine whose job it is to do them. So everyone waits on everyone else to do the dishes. As you are waiting, the water they are sitting in becomes more and more nasty. Finally, you wash them, but you are yelling at every other family member for not doing it. Because there are dishes in the sink, and the dishwasher hasn’t been unloaded, cooking something becomes difficult. So, you just stick something in the microwave or get take out. When you do unload the dishwasher, there isn’t really room in the cabinets to put things, so things get thrown in any old way and become harder to retrieve when you are looking for them.
  2. Your kitchen is always magazine ready, but if anyone attempts to make a sandwich and doesn’t put the mustard back with the front facing out, there will be hell to pay. You don’t want to cook anything because it takes two hours to clean the kitchen so that everything is This kitchen is just as off-limits as the one in the previous example. And this system, while it looks nice, isn’t working well either.

Here is an example of a system that does work: everything has a place in the cabinets. Only the most used items are in the prime real estate of the kitchen so you don’t have to move three things just to get to the paper towels. It’s easy to get the pan you want. You don’t have to scrounge and hunt for your cooking items. The dishwasher is unloaded every night or every morning, and the sink is emptied so that your kitchen is always ready to be used the next time you want to make coffee or prepare food. Everyone in the house (of appropriate age) can wash dishes and put them away. Everyone can use the kitchen because it is easy to find what you need, the counters are clear and ready to be used, and it is easy to put things away. No one gets yelled at.  Instead, family members say thanks for doing the dishes. They encourage each other’s cooking attempts. The kitchen has become a place of order and creativity. It is in almost constant use, but cleaned after each use, and ready for the next use. There will need to be one person to spearhead the kitchen system, but that person will take other family members’ personalities and wishes into account when designing the system. The easier it is for everyone to follow, the more all family members will be able to step in and at least make a sandwich if the person in charge is ill or unable to take care of things that day.

Here are some things to consider when designing your kitchen system: who, what, when, where, how, and how often will you

  1. Plan the menu and cook?
  2. Wash the dishes?
  3. Buy the groceries?
  4. Run and unload the dishwasher
  5. Clean out the refrigerator
  6. Clean the oven
  7. Scrub the sink
  8. Clean the kitchen floor
  9. etc…

You are in charge! You can create your own system. You don’t have to do it exactly like your parents did! Also, remember, your goal is not to have a perfect color coded complicated system worthy of Pinterest. It is to have a workable, functional system which works under a variety of stressors. Do you have a teenage son who likes to fry bacon? Might be a good idea not to hang your shiny copper pots above the stove and wage a constant battle with grease spots. Do you have a husband who likes to make spaghetti sauce? Don’t have white kitchen towels. Do what you can with what you have, and make it work!