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Overall our house is much, much better than a year ago, but man, I cannot keep the kitchen table free of clutter. One issue is that our front door opens directly into the family room/dining room -- there is no entryway at all. Another is that my DD is very crafty and the kitchen table is our only workspace, so there are always papers and workbooks and markers and glitter glue all over. Plus mail, old magazines, etc.<br><br>
Any suggestions on how to tame this beast for good??<br>
thanks,<br>
-e
 

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Not a clue. We eat at one end & the stuff piles up on the other.
 

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lurking for grand ideas... we also have the one end of mess. Dh says we should get a round table so there's no end <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br>
-Angela
 

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I set up another table for art projects, puzzles, etc. that folds up to be moved/put away. That helps keep our kitchen table clear, but it means the craft table accumulates a bunch of stuff (toys, magazines, random things). I just got tired of clearing off the table before we ate, and making the kids put away what they were working on (family of 6 and there is no room to just push stuff to one end). We have the space for this extra table (it's about 8 feet by 4), but it's kinda a eye sore in my family room right off the kitchen. Especially when everything else is clean and de-cluttered.
 

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The only way we can keep ours clean is to make sure it is completely cleared off and wiped down before bed. Then during the day we have to monitor it very carefully.<br><br>
Our main problem is paperwork and stuff that comes in the mail. I recycle and shred things as they come in, but if I let anything "rest" it seems to just collect a bunch of other junk around it until pretty soon we can't see the table at all.<br><br>
And it doesn't matter if we have the leaf in or not - it's oval right now - but it still happens even when we have it set up as a small round table.<br><br>
Currently, my table is clean. It's been that way for about 4 days now. This is pretty good for us, but it takes constant vigilance.<br><br>
My kitchen was also doing pretty good until yesterday....when no one made sure there were no dirty dishes in the sink. If we don't empty the dishwasher, everything in the kitchen just cascades from there.<br><br>
But we are still trying. This is an issue that seems to permeate my family's life. We're the same way with schedules and routines - things go well if we are very vigilant, but if anything changes in the routine (someone gets sick or has to work late or whatever) then BAM! the whole schedule goes down.
 

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The only way our stays clean is to constantly clean it lol. I wish someone had a brilliant idea because I really hate constantly cleaning off the table to eat.
 

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OMG, I'm so glad to know we're not the only ones with an "eating" end and a "stuff" end. But it depresses me. I'm thinking of setting the table with a centerpiece and place mats. The last time our table stayed clean for a while was after Thanksgiving when we had the placemats down.<br><br>
I also wonder if it would be worth it to buy a small Ikea table and two chairs for my daughter's projects...
 

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We have a really small house so no other areas for "stuff" to accumulate. I find inviting people over gets it cleaned off. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1">
 

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we also had the same problem. used to do the 50/50 thing.<br><br>
then, i just figured out how to keep it clear:<br><br>
1. the stuff that accumulated was DH's 'drop zone' stuff from work. he would carry papers, his notebook for his writing, bills, and what not. he would go thtrough the mail, create a pile for the bills (which he would carry with him, then file in a file box he kept at work, locked), and then the next morning pick up that pile to take with him.<br><br>
i decided that we would use his messenger bag for work because it was getting overwhleming how much he was carting around in a pile. i organized the bag into "work; writing; bills" since it had three sections. when he would create a new pile, i would put it into his messenger bag for him before dinner.<br><br>
2. he loved to pile up magazines, articles from the internet and scrips--including drafts of his own.<br><br>
so, i created a basket for that, and divided it into thirds so that one could see magazines, articles, and scripts. he would create a pile, and before dinner, i would put it away.<br><br>
after dinner, all of our table was cleared and then if DH used any of those items, he would put them away before bed or pack them in his messenger bag.
 

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subbing.
 

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It is so hard when you don't have an entryway. I lived like that for twenty years, except we walked straight into our tiny kitchen, from outside the house...and everything literally got dumped either on the floor or the bench...the car keys, school bags, coats, shopping, mail etc...it was a nightmare.<br><br>
Sorry to say I never worked out how to stop it...it was a continual process of trying to keep it tidy as possible.
 

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I just read all the replies... I think you really do just have to put the stuff away every meal. I hate eating on a table that isn't cleaned off, so while I am cooking, we put away everything on the table... It doesn't take very long if you do it every meal. Lol, even when my whole house is a disaster, my kitchen table is usually clean.
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>gini1313</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15365784"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Commit to eating every meal on it. If you eat every meal on it, it gets cleaned off 3 times a day.</div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
That's what we do. Any projects or crap that gets set down on the table has to be dealt with before we can eat.
 

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We do the 50-50 thing, too, usually (right now it's ok). I keep a tablecloth on the table which needs to be switched frequently (messy toddlers) so that keeps me clearing it off, but that stuff invariably gets stuck on the side table in that room...
 

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We have the same problem at our house. My dds like to do crafts all the time. Our kitchen table is usually clutter free, at least it is at each meal, but our dining room table is a total disaster. Also, there are papers scattered everywhere because sometimes the girls need a table to do something on and the kitchen table is in use or hasn't been cleaned off since the last meal so they find whatever surface they can to do whatever it is they want to do and then just leave the "project" there. Not having a dedicated craft space has led to chaos in our house. We are in the process of making our toy room into the dedicated school and craft room. It will have a formica top table in there that is just for crafts and school. I will have a little table for my sewing machine. Now all papers and crafts will be concentrated on that table instead of lingering on the kitchen table, piling up on the dining room table, or just scattered randomly about the house. Doing this has meant we are sacrificing some space and furniture, but it what is best for our family.
 

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Around two sides of our kitchen table (in a corner) we have benches that have storage under the seats. I use most of it for cookbooks, tablecloths and napkins but there is enough space for me to keep a few piles of paper in there while they are in the process of being sorted out. I'm planning on finding another place for the cookbooks and will use that space to store craft projects once dd starts on that. Having this space so near to the table really helps keep it clear, which is important because it's where we usually eat.<br><br>
Obviously it's a solution requires a certain kitchen configuration and it wouldn't work with all styles of decor (ours is rustic Italian) but it's a great way to use space that is otherwise lost. They're quite common here in Italy because kitchens tend to be small.
 

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I guess I am in the minority but I don't quite understand why the kitchen table would have stuff on it? I guess I would be in a position to give advice since ours is always clear but since it isn't something I struggle with I am not sure I can find any tips. I will describe our situation.<br><br>
We have 700-some square feet on the main floor with no entryway. You walk straight into either the kitchen (from the back) or the living room (from the front) and the two rooms are wide open to each other.<br><br>
We do projects at the kitchen table daily but when we are done I just put the art supplies away.<br><br>
We just baked cookies and I cooled them on the table but when they were cool I plated them and put the cooling racks away.<br><br>
Mail gets opened and dealt with when the mail lady comes--it doesn't involve the kitchen table at all.<br><br>
My keys go in my purse so I don't put those on the table either.<br><br>
I guess I can't really think of anything that would be a struggle to keep off the table...I wish I could think of something more helpful to say...<br><br>
Good luck!!
 

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I don't know if a cubby for each person would help because that is just another space to pile stuff. We use napkin holders for our mail , receipts, papers ect. I put a charging station on our bakers rack for phones and keys and pocket stuff. My problem is drinking cups all over the kitchen and if you ask anyone " it's not mine:"
 

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We also use our table to live at basically! However, it is cleared off unless we are using it at that moment. Once in a while I may have a tablecloth/runner and/or a bowl of fruit, but it is usually just basking the glory of nakedness, lol!<br><br>
We sound like you - we live at the table...here is what our solutions have been:<br><br>
- crafts - our china cabinet is next to the table, so I cleared off a small side cabinet at the bottom (narrow, but fits books). Coloring books, stickers, construction paper, markers, crayons, scissors, glue, etc. live here. We keep all the markers/scissors/glue/etc. in a Snapware stackable 3-level container with a handle - we snagged it at The Container Store locally.<br><br>
-play-doh - pared down the collection, store it in a shoe box-sized Rubbermaid drawer that we keep in the kitchen with a pretty basket on top with educational workbooks in the basket...the kids just slide the drawer out and take the playdoh onto the back deck or to the table<br><br>
-for the mail, etc. - I just make it a point to never put stuff on the table (for me, the kitchen is the hub of the house, and even there, I go thru the mail right away, recycle, chunk, file, etc. asap and get it out of the way)<br><br>
-the proverbial "other:" since I have no desk (we have one in the basement, but with DH constantly in one Army school or another, I dedicate that space to his work), I use the extra kitchen drawers to keep my Kitchen Folio, coupons, etc. They do get messy (oye!) but in a pinch, at least the stuff is hidden away - my mantra is to keep surfaces clear of clutter <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
Good luck!
 
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