Friday, 10 January 2014

Five laws of domestic science

1. All horizontal surfaces will accumulate crap

This is just the law of gravity really. This includes tables, chairs, shelves, kitchen counters, and floors. Tatami rooms are especially susceptible. If you're building a house and want a tatami room, and think it's going to look like the kind you walk into in a ryokan, then be aware that it's probably going to look more like a store room. 

2. The tupperware never fits into the tupperware cupboard

In our case it's a drawer. Tupperware is an amazing invention, but relatively recent in the psyche of the kitchen designer. It's cheap and light, which makes it ideal to buy and use, but makes it seem less voluminous than it is. When kitchens are planned, we think of cutlery drawers, places for plates and pans, cupboards for cups, and stockers for food. We are preoccupied with ergonomic locations for the fridge, cooker and sink, or at least we should be. Tupperware is the last thing on our minds. It will find itself in a left-over cupboard. Luckily tupperware is light, so it's not a big problem if it finds itself in a high cupboard.

There are two more more facts about tupperware. First, some of it is always being used, so whenever you try to neatly arrange it in its cupboard or drawer, which is already too small to start with, you're always missing something. Second, inspite of the trademark, and with apologies to other brands that are not getting free advertising, it is made by different companies and does come in different shapes and sizes. Some pieces and sets stack neatly together, smaller sizes fitting elegantly into larger sizes. Some do not. Tupperware collections grow organically and are not planned. It is always the large, bastard sizes that are hiding when the cupboard is organised, and it is those pieces that shatter the order into chaos.

3. It's easier to put things in front of drawers and cupboards than inside them

Sooner or later something is going to appear in front of each drawer and cupboard, unless the drawer or cupboard is in a well trodden, narrow corridor where people would trip over it. In fact, even then things get left in front of cupboards or drawers, and people do trip over them. Then usually the person who left the thing in front of the drawer or cupboard complains about the person who kicked their stuff. One solution to this is sliding cupboard doors. These can still be opened with stuff in front of them, so there is much less need for people to put stuff there. Also, people may be scared of leaving things in front as they know the door could still be opened and their stuff could fall perilously into the void beyond.

4. There's always a pile of stuff that doesn't live anywhere

A plastic part that definitely belongs to something. A semi-precious stone. A ticket for an event in two-and-a-half weeks. A glove that somebody left in the house. It's been there for ages, and the person has been surviving with one glove. Who knows, they may even have taken up golf.
Coming soon: a list of objects with no obvious place to put them away.

5. The only way to avoid clutter is to have no stuff.