My Broken Kitchen


My Broken Kitchen Was Sending Me A Message


One of my favorite books on decluttering is From Clutter to Clarity by Kerri Richardson. Kerri explains how she uses her clutter as a tool for transformation because there is always a message inside the mess. In 2016, I heard the message loud and clear. I was standing in the middle of my broken kitchen, feeling overwhelmed, frustrated and resentful of the clutter that surrounded me on a daily basis. That frustration led me down a decluttering path that changed my life for the better. 


Last month, I was, yet again, standing in the middle of my messy kitchen, listening to the message it was trying to send me. 


My 2016 Broken Kitchen Story

Both my kids were still pretty young, and we had lived in our house for about 9 years. I remember standing in the middle of our big, beautiful kitchen, feeling angry. I was focusing on the crap scattered across the countertops: mail, random pieces of paper, shoes, toys, and tools. Cluttered countertops were our norm, and I hated it. One particular day, I thought to myself, “I deserve better.”

Home is my favorite place, but at that point in time, my favorite place had become filled with irritations and limitations. I knew something needed to change. I also knew that something was me. If I wanted to see a positive shift in my life, it was up to me to make it happen. Standing in the middle of my cluttered, broken kitchen, I dropped all resistance; I finally stopped struggling with my house and started loving it.

I focused on appreciation rather than frustration.

I accepted the fact that mess is a part of everyday life, but I was determined to somehow get the mess under control. Slowly but surely, I decluttered and organized my house from top to bottom, which gave me such satisfaction! This was the action I needed to take to get the ball rolling in a more positive direction.

In the beginning, I didn’t share my decluttering and organizing plans with anyone, not even Rob. I didn’t ask for help or input because I wanted to do this on my own terms and get my joy back. This wasn’t about proving that I was a good wife, a good mom, or a good homeowner. My decluttering journey was about loving myself enough to respect where I live, and it was a life-changing decision. 

After getting myself organized, I became a professional organizer, and I met some amazing women along the way. I’ve worked for and with some intelligent, impressive women who inspire me to be a better version of myself. 


My 2024 Broken Kitchen Story


The Keurig coffee maker had broken and was still sitting on the floor, ready to be thrown out. The refrigerator was pulled away from the wall because it had a clogged drain that I had ignored for 3 weeks. Then, it started making a loud humming sound that the repairman said was not normal.  

My gas stovetop decided to join in on the fun and make some noise of its own. As I was cooking, this afternoon, the gas burner ignitor started to click nonstop. Even when I turn the burner off, it still clicked…click…click…click. I had to unplug it from the power source to get the noise to stop.

Also, for the past 2 weeks, I have been washing dishes by hand (my favorite) because the top rack of the dishwasher is broken. It’s not as easy of a fix as Rob and I were hoping. After doing some research on how to fix it, we finally decided it would be wise to hire a professional. Needless to say, there are more dishes in the sink than usual.

Oh, and the lightbulb in the pantry is flickering like a fire alarm strobe because Rob forgot to change it before he went out of town. He won’t be home for another 3 days, and I can’t reach the light fixture without standing on our 6 foot ladder. That means I’m going to wait until Rob gets home to change the bulb because I do not want to haul that tall ladder into the house, from the garage and then try to squeeze it into the pantry.


I found myself standing in the same spot where my decluttering journey began all those years ago: in the middle of my kitchen.

Guess what I was focusing on—the negative. Now guess what I kept getting—more negative.

Instead of having a mini-meltdown like I did in 2016, I laughed. Not a fake, ironic laugh, but a genuine this-is-funny kind of laugh. A happy, appreciative, I-get-it kind of laugh. I realized I had been focusing on things I did not want in my life (a broken kitchen). Doing that gave me more of what I did not want (an even more broken kitchen).

Not throwing out the broken coffee maker, not calling a repairman, and refusing to change a lightbulb didn’t stop me from focusing on those things. Every time I had to step around the coffee maker, chip ice out of the vegetable crisper, or hand wash the dishes, I was focusing on my broken kitchen. When other things began to break, I had the opportunity to laugh at myself for creating this mess.

I laugh because I know it’s fixable and no big deal.  I consider decluttering, organizing and loving my kitchen an opportunity to take better care of myself. Loving your kitchen will lead to…

  • Making health and wellness a priority.
  • Nourishing your physical and emotional well-being.
  • Uplifting the positive vibrations and energy flow in your entire home. 

Instead of looking at broken appliances and clutter as a burden, look at those things as love notes from your house. “Yoo-hoo. I love you, and I want you to take better care of yourself.” Last month, my home was speaking to me, and the message was loud and clear: Crystal, it’s time to focus on loving your kitchen and, more importantly, nourishing your mind, body and soul.

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