Think it would work to get rid of the dining table - Mothering Forums

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Old 05-11-2010, 05:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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and just have one that folds down from the wall at meal times?

Right now, for example, there's so much extraneous junk on it (magazines, folded laundry, can of scissors, homework etc. etc.) I don't think you could fit a plate without moving something off.

If it was folded into the wall, it couldn't accumulate things, right?

There was a desk like that, in a bedroom at my family's summer house. It was on a hinge, and a wide front leg folded out to the floor... I loved it. But that was for light things... paper, pens, an envelope... not four plates of food, cutlery, serving dishes, drinks and so on.

I wonder....

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Old 05-11-2010, 07:05 AM
 
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If you are prone to leaving things on surfaces, you may end up using the folding table in the same way and not being able to fold it away?

If you have space to keep the dining table, is there any way you might be able to find homes for the magazines and laundry etc?

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Old 05-11-2010, 07:09 AM
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it is possible to have a dining table work that way (they are frequently found in RVs and the like); but i agree with the previous poster. if you don't have a way to manage the clutter that you have, you'll just keep the table down and use it that way.

my recommendation would be to declutter the table first--finding and using the homes for those items. after you have accomplished this, then you can decide if you want a fold-out table or not.
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Old 05-11-2010, 08:14 PM
 
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its an interesting idea. i think it could work. i too struggle with piles on the table. i use it as a desk, catch all when walking in the door, etc. i am trying to find good homes for the items...so they don't end up back on my table. our table is next to a window, so i don't think a fold up table is the answer...but it is a good idea. you might want 2 legs instead of one, with the weight of dishes/food.

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Old 05-11-2010, 08:27 PM
 
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I agree wit habove - first find homes for the clutter (and sometimes unfortunately the motivation to put the laundry away right away, stay on the kiddos about putting their homework, crafts, etc. away...).

The best medicine for clutter is pure and utter prevention. I have a minor issue with my island/peninsula that is separated from the food surfaces in our kitchen - our living goes on there and therefore, all the "stuff" seems to accumulate...DD gets home from preschool and her artwork gets put there, my 1st grader is home from school and his lunchbox, schoolwork, papers, etc. go there; DH gets home from work and his lunchbox, coffee thermos, breakfast sandwich fabric wrapper, papers, etc. go there. Sometimes I want to burn it all and start over the next day
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Old 05-11-2010, 11:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So, most of you seem to agree with my friend who was visiting the other day (my conversation with her sparked the idea to post about it). She also thinks I would just end up leaving it unfolded, and it would be more of the same, a collecting place.

I probably won't bother then, as I would just be making a less-sturdy table for no good reason.

Thanks!

~~Alley~~
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Old 05-11-2010, 11:54 PM
 
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Have you tried making your dining table look really pretty? I would put the table cloth on, and the cloth placemats, the napkins, etc, then put my pretty centerpiece in the middle. And I didn't want to clutter it up

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Old 05-12-2010, 04:12 PM
 
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Our table is the same way, lol. But it is pretty much the center of our universe. Everything happens there, eating, schooling, arts and crafts, games, etc... Maybe someday I'll figure out how to tame the clutter!

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Old 05-12-2010, 10:10 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by recremaicila View Post
So, most of you seem to agree with my friend who was visiting the other day (my conversation with her sparked the idea to post about it). She also thinks I would just end up leaving it unfolded, and it would be more of the same, a collecting place.
Sometimes I find that my clutter problems can be solved by changing _when_ I have to tidy. Demanding that I form a habit of tidying when I'm already overwhelmed is doomed to failure. Adjusting the space a little can adjust the time.

Example: if you're coming in the house with a handful of mail and a bag from the drugstore and two books from the library, you don't want to put that stuff away properly right then. So you drop it on the table. And then you want it off the table when you serve food - when you, again, don't have time to put the stuff away properly.

If the stuff could be dumped somewhere that you could clear more or less at your leisure, in the morning or evening or whenever you get time to breathe, then it might get cleared more often.

So what about a "junk bookshelf" near the table? You could try to do your get-home dumping into the bookshelf. And even if you don't, at mealtime, you could shovel all the stuff from the table onto the bookshelf, and then every couple of days you could move the stuff from the bookshelf to wherever it belongs, at some time that's convenient to you.

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Old 05-13-2010, 12:56 AM
 
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This idea occurred to me just as we decided to stop feeding our son by chasing him around life with bites of food and try to have sit-down meals. Wait, where's the table? Oh, under all that crap. Hmmmm. Get rid of the table? But then we can't do sit-down meals...
My solution - kind of working - was to use lots of everyone else's solutions, arranged here in order of crucial to optional:

1.try really really really hard to unpack all bags, packages, everything as soon as coming home, and return the empty bags to the entryway bookshelf ready for reloading
2. MOVE THE TABLE AS FAR FROM THE ENTRYWAY AS POSSIBLE
3. put our rarely used candlesticks on the table and use them at meals
4. clear the table after meals down to the wood, and wipe clean - it looks too pretty to mess it up again soon
5. put attractive baskets on the entryway shoe rack/bookshelf for different kinds of mail (file later, pay soon.)
6. put attractive baskets in my project area to collect those dreams
7. have a receptacle for dirty laundry in the kitchen so as I'm unpacking my son's lunch bag, his dirty shirt/ damp socks can go to a home immediately
8. have a "put away today" basket in the living area to collect things that I don't have time to deal with in the moment
9. follow through on actually putting things away.

Good luck.

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Old 05-13-2010, 07:52 AM
 
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You've heard many good ideas, I believe.
Just as a thought: I feel that the dining table is the heart of a family. If we allow to have this cluttered up it'll probably affect our mood and outlook on (family) life. So, for my feeling, something so essential shouldn't be "folded away" in between (very much unlike an ironing board!).

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Old 05-13-2010, 08:05 AM
 
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We got rid of ours, kinda. We still have a (small) round table pushed up against the wall with the leaves folded down so that it's basically a countertop unless we fold out the leaf that's away from the wall.

In our house, flat surfaces attract clutter like nobody's business, but if we remove (or completely decorate) the surface, things magically end up being put where they belong.

Also, more floor space for the kiddos to play (especially in the winter) is a huge benefit, and was the driving force behind the decision to ditch the table.
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Old 05-14-2010, 03:55 AM
 
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Tell me about flat surfaces... sigh. However, it's no issue with the dining table because I'm always cleaning it off right after use and I put some nice placemat with a candle and some small decoration in the middle. Works for us - but then, I don't have toddlers anymore.

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Old 05-19-2010, 12:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the suggestions, everyone. I think I was just having a "moment" ~~ it's been a bit frustrating trying to figure out how all the pieces are going to fit into the puzzle (teeny tiny house).

So yesterday I cleared it off, but today it's got a few things on it.... our house is a construction zone at the moment, but not in a bad way. I mean, we aren't ripping out walls or anything, just putting in some built-in, multi-purpose furniture stuff. I feel a lot better now, having come up with this plan. I think it'll work.

Plus it's so fun to use a (borrowed) Skill Saw, and (borrowed) drill / screw gun. Way easier with power tools, too!

I wish I could share photos of "before" (i.e. now - hoping this is as bad as it ever gets!!) You wouldn't believe the amount and variety of possessions we've chosen (?) to keep. It's going to be awesome when everything has a place to belong (or if a place to keep a particular item is not found ~ Out!!).

~~Alley~~
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Old 05-21-2010, 12:36 AM
 
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We have a very small home with no space for a permanent table. Instead I have a folding table that slides into the gap between the wall and the couch when not in use. I have a serious "flat surface" clutter problem but found that having a folding table worked fine... but I really can't leave it out so there's really no temptation to start stacking things on it! So I guess I'm the voice from the other side. If you would fold it down after every meal, then go for it! Though I'd suggest trying a real folding table first to see if you could really stick with that.

(though I do realize you're going to use the great ideas for clutter control first! )

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Old 05-21-2010, 05:31 PM
 
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Quote:
Have you tried making your dining table look really pretty? I would put the table cloth on, and the cloth placemats, the napkins, etc, then put my pretty centerpiece in the middle. And I didn't want to clutter it up
I agree with this. If the table looks nice when it's fixed up, then you'll actually want to clear it off.

And I agree that everything needs a home. Make it a rule, no laundry on the table. No mail on the table. Where will the laundry and mail go instead? Find nice, convenient places to put these things and you won't have the table cluttered up.

Do you eat at the dining table at meal times? I can't leave my table cluttered because we eat there 3 times a day, and it's a small table so there's no simple pushing stuff out of the way.

I think having a folding table would work, but I doubt it would actually solve the problem for you.
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