The Only Two Things That Motivate Me to Keep My Kitchen Counters Clean

published Jan 30, 2019
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(Image credit: Melanie Rieders)

Kitchen counters are clutter magnets—plain and simple. As I look at my own countertops, I see seven-ish different piles in the works (kids’ art, unopened mail, recyclables on their way to the bin, etc.). It’s never-ending. And despite being a fairly organized, clean-surface kind of girl myself, and literally interviewing dozens of experts on the subject, there are only two times my countertops ever get clean.

1. When I’m coming up against a deadline.

Oh, is it midnight the night before an article is due? Then yup, it’s definitely the time to


Plus, I feel virtuous while I do it! I’m getting stuff done! I’d also like to think that doing mindless chores allows me to process information and come back to a project thinking clearer, but… I think that truly, I’m just avoiding it.

2. When I’m about to have guests over.

Seriously, It feels like my house is always at its messiest 30 minutes before my guests are due to arrive. Suddenly, all the clutter that’s been lost in my peripheral vision comes into view, and needs to be addressed ASAP. Because heaven forbid my friends and or family know that I live in a real house with real children and a real husband who make art and ignore boring bills, just like everyone else in the world. I try to keep up the illusion that the house is in tip-top shape 24/7. Whether they believe that or not, I won’t bother to ask.

So while I certainly endorse what the pros say, and have adopted many good habits that keep the countertops at a low- to medium-clutter level, these are the only real ways to get my countertop clean.

Anybody else agree? Tell me in the comments below!

This post originally ran on Kitchn. See it there: A Mom Gets Honest About the Only 2 Reasons Her Counters Ever Get Clean