“The Biggest Thing Principle” Practice Two–The Family Table

Welcome back homemakers, was the last two weeks of principle one, practice one fruitful for you? I hope so. This week, keep making your bed and praying over your family while we add one more small task to practice under the heading of Principle One.
Principle One:  When the biggest thing in the room is tidy, the whole room looks and feels better, which boosts momentum.
Practice Two:  Tidy your table. Yep, that’s it. Keep your dining area clear. Do it every day.

Again, it may seem unrevolutionary, but it will make a surprisingly big impact in your day and how your family experiences your home.

About The Practice:  For the next two weeks, practice keeping your kitchen table clear after each meal and project, and before you go to bed. This means that ideally nothing at all will be on your kitchen table (or equivalent family dining area).  It will be clear and inviting.

Why clear it completely? Have you ever noticed that clutter seems to attract clutter?  In my house for example, if one single plate is in the sink, everyone else in the house will subconsciously forget that diswashers were ever invented. They fall under some sort of dirty dish enchantment and all dirty dishes start piling in the sink.

This applies to underpants on the bathroom floor after showers too. I swear if I forget my clothes on the floor after my shower, all the other clothes from the house seem to crawl into the bathroom for some kind of rave.  I walk back in the bathroom an hour later and-bam-there on the floor is half a pile of laundry grooving to techno, complete with glowsticks and questionable life choices.

Clutter begets clutter. See? It’s often worse than this, but when I got up to snap a photo, I actually thought it was clean. I had stopped seeing the clutter.

table

When the dishes are piled up, and the table is strewn with random papers, projects, school work, or groceries I haven’t put away, then by some dark magic, other clutter gathers there to spawn evil little clutter babies.

When my eyes become used to things on the table, I cease to see them or the danger they pose to the smooth running of my kitchen.  Yes, that’s an actual Halloween pumpkin on my table. From Halloween. A month ago! All the stuff gets shoved into the corner and then dinnertime rolls around and the kids sit at what’s left of the table, my hubby and I sit on the sofa, and opportunities to live out God’s heart for home, marriage, and family are lost. I loose an opportunity to bond, converse, disciple, and enjoy our family.

The family table matters.
It will attract clutter
or
it will attract people,
but not both.  
So keep it clear and observe what happens with the open space you create.

About The Attitude:  If your bed most tangibly represents your marriage, then your dinner table most tangibly represents your family life.  Or, it could. I want mine to. I must confess that our sofa competes with our table for the title of “most representative of our family life”. This is the gravitational pull of our culture and if I’m going to resist it, it will have to be intentional.  I don’t want my family time to slide away into the screens mounted on our walls or fixed in our hands.

Homemakers, if the dignity of your role were to have a ‘command central’ so to speak, wouldn’t it be in a well laid table?  Wouldn’t the powerhouse of your service to your family be a warm space of nourishment and refuge after the day’s long grind on the bodies and souls of your family? How about a clean and inviting table for a game, some art, a craft, a chat, a glass of wine and attention given to your man after being apart all day?  

There is good to be had at a clean table.

A table well-tended by an intentional homemaker can be your sweet spot, your family gravity, your heart extended to the people you are nurturing with your service and love.  It can be the center of your ministry both to them and your neighbor in hospitality.  Help it compete with the screens by keeping it cleaned off during the day and putting some heart into what will happen there.

Let the tidy table practice be the place where you pray over your own heart as a homemaker.  When you clear it each time during the day, pray, “Father, please help me to image your heart toward home, marriage, and family as I tend my table and those who gather here.”

Bonus Points:  Find ways to use your table to build relationships. Let the clean table inspire you.

Can you have more family meals there, even it it’s something in a bag put on an actual plate?

Could you light a candle to go with that dinner?

Could you fit in one nice family meal a week maybe?

Can you invite a child to play a game or color?

What would your husband think if you invited him to play a hand of cards and you had a cold beer (or whatever he likes) and some snacks set out?  Um…what if you used that time to flirt…?  ♥

What do the chairs and the area around the table look like? Can you tidy or add any beauty the area around the table?

What about setting the table pretty for an every day meal?

There are so many good ideas!

Objection: “But I need this thing to stay on the table.”  

I hear that, but I’m inviting you to try this as an experiment. The goal of the tidy table practice is to create space that’s open for possibilities and doesn’t attract clutter.  If you leave your salt and pepper and napkins on the table, what does that say the table is for?  I find that we are lazy creatures, and if my kids think about playing a game, but they first have to move a bunch of stuff off the table, they wont be as eager to follow through.  If I let one thing on the table, for us, it really does spawn little evil clutter babies. If you aren’t sure, just try it for a few days.

Having said that, if you are able to keep one neat, attractive thing on the table and it doesn’t subconsciously limit the table’s uses, or attract clutter, then you know your limit and are always free to do what works for you.  I am going remove everything from my table, and then plan and observe what happens there.

table2

Tidy tables are better. Let’s see what we can do with them! Post your pictures over at The Remedial Homemaker Community on Facebook, and comment here or there.  Cheers!

May Your Aprons and Bibles Both Be Well-Worn,

The Remedial Homemaker

 

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8 thoughts on ““The Biggest Thing Principle” Practice Two–The Family Table

  1. I have been in the habit of adding a tablecloth when we eat meals. It makes me feel happy. On the downside the table cloth has to be washed every day. But using one still makes me happy. 🙂

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  2. Your comment about the salt and pepper shakers brought me up short. I do leave them on a little centerpiece on the table, but good question. . .what does that say the table is for? I’ll have to think about that and try relocating them for a week and see what happens.
    Good thoughts, Mindy. 🙂

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  3. Thank you Danielle. I’m curious about that too. I normally leave out my cloth napkins and a large fruit bowl, but already, having put them away yesterday, my molly asked me, “hey mom, what are you doing with the table? Are you starting a project?” I think this little sense of different, of open space for possibilities, will inspire me to use it more with them, will help us sit down all together more, and will help them want to use it more for creative ideas. We will see how it goes. The bed is once and done, this will require more attention, so I will see how that goes. I’m interested in how it goes for you too!

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