- Matt-Kitchen flat spots should be clean, dusted, clear of any debris - ready for the next culinary creation.
- Heather - Any flat spot that is not to be used in the next 20 minutes as a work area is free game for mail, newspapers, my purse, camera, full grocery bags, clean dishes, dirty dishes, and anything else that overflowed from my arms on my way in the door. Small, otherwise useless flat spots (like the one on the top of the antique kitchen scale) are perfect for holding everyday items like vitamins, cough medicine, the kids last round of antibiotics, the dogs last round of antibiotics, Kleenex, phone charging cords, etc. In addition, flat spots that are permanently deemed to be unworthy of being called a work area (IE - the far counter which houses the microwave, the 12" between the tops of the cabinets and the ceiling, etc.), are turned into kitchen utensil areas and/or decor areas, meant to house cookbooks, decorative canisters, and even pictures.
- Matt - The dining room table is meant for dinner. It should house a tablecloth, maybe a runner, and a candle or two as the centerpiece. It is perfectly acceptable to use the table for homework, projects, etc, but said party should clean up after themselves immediately when finished.
- Heather - The dining room table, as the certified largest flat spot in the house, must be a multi-tasking member of our family. It is the shipping table, the thank-you card making table (especially if the second-largest flat spot in the house, the craft room table, is otherwise occupied by piles of very important stuff), the homework spot, the I'm playing with my Star Wars figures and I don't want Jake to get them spot, the overflow of the full load of groceries spot, the I've got nowhere else to stick my laptop case because it's usual flat spot is still covered with Christmas decorations spot, etc, etc. It is sometimes such an adventure to get down to the bottom and only then remember what color of tablecloth I put on there last. And, what would the boys do at dinnertime if the 10 minutes before they could set the table (their real dinnertime chore) wasn't spent clearing it of the day's activities?
- Matt - The living room shelves, end tables, trunks, coffee tables, piano, etc. should be simply decorated, maybe housing a useful lamp or two, the remote controls, a couple of tasteful antiques, and one or two pictures of the kids.
- Heather - All living room flat spots must be filled to capacity, lest they fall victim to either the grocery overflow, hockey equipment overflow, or very-important-I-did-need-each-and-every-one-that-I-purchased magazine overflow. The fuller they are, the less likely they are to be victims of such tragedy. So, the more pictures and dusty nick-knacks we can cram on each square inch of real-estate, the less likely we are to have to look in that particular place when we can't find a remote, DVD, pair of glasses, etc. It's really a time-saver in the long run. Also, unless company is coming over, there is really no reason to walk all the way across the room to put away those items you use every morning (lotion, clippers, foot file, pen/pencil, etc.). When company is coming (especially unexpectedly), it is very important for some of those flat spots to have drawers underneath for quick stashing - but that's a whole 'nother post entirely!
- Matt - Nightstands are for a lamp, some chap stick, and a bible.
- Heather - It is perfectly understandable to want a designated area for the above items - they are all very important. The rest of the area, however, is to be stacked precariously with extra very-important-I-did-need-each-and-every-one-that-I-purchased magazine overflow and books that I intend to read the very next time that I don't fall asleep within 90 seconds of my head hitting the pillow. It is so important that these items are right there, handy, in case that "perfect storm" of alertness ever happens again in this lifetime.
As you can see, there is much potential for points of contention in our ongoing family flat spot debate. This weekend, Matt and Chance made a huge stride toward family unity with one of the greatest gifts they've ever given me. But, since this post is already annoyingly long, you'll have to tune in tomorrow to see what it is!
PS - what's your family's stand on flat spots? Are you clean as a whistle, or do you have to stash, stash, stash when company comes to the door?