While wandering the aisles of a grocery store yesterday evening (sometimes you have to take what "me" time you can get), I saw a plaque that read "A Messy Kitchen is a Happy Kitchen". The sign had a grinning sow and a mock aged patina, clearly for the country kitchen fan. I looked at the sign, not with an interest in purchasing it, but rather to ponder the sentiment. Does a messy kitchen really mean a happy one?
I've had it both ways - messy and clean(er). For me, I much prefer clean. A messy kitchen just makes me feel glum. Nothing takes the wind out of my baking sails than walking into the kitchen and seeing dishes everywhere. Who wants to whip up some impromptu cookies if you have to wash two loads of dishes before you start?
Clearly, I look too deeply at things (sometimes a cigar is just a cigar) but is the message more about justification or explanation? If you hang that sign in your kitchen, does it give you an out when the dishes are everywhere and you'd rather just watch TV than wash them? I kinda give credence to subliminal messaging and I wonder if such a sign reinforces slacker impulses.
Hogwash, you say. I don't know if it is hogwash or not and maybe that's the point. Some people are disciplined enough to do what needs to be done and others can let a grocery store sign keep them on the couch (I'll scoot over, join me). For me, I'm trying to live by two absolute rules - I can't go to bed if there is clean laundry to put away and I can't go to bed if the kitchen is a mess. Yes, some nights I'm putting away the last of the towels at midnight but I sleep easier.
A spotless kitchen probably isn't too happy but I don't think a messy one is either. As the heart of the home (at least in my view), the kitchen needs a little more TLC than the mudroom or the basement or the den. Instead of the grinning sloppy sow, how about we take some inspiration from Charlotte's Web:
Arable: That's some pig.
Avery Arable: He's terrific.
Lurvy: He's radiant.
Mrs. Zuckerman: Well, he's clean anyway. That buttermilk certainly helped.
My kitchen might not be terrific or radiant but it's clean anyway. That's happiness I can get behind.