My Dining Room Table is Full of Shame

dining room table

I love my dining room table. Well technically, we don’t have a dining room, but I also feel odd calling it a kitchen table because um … it’s not in the kitchen. (There goes literal Katie again.)

When you enter through the front door of our home, you step into a large, open concept area. Couches, a tv, built-ins and a fireplace are the first things you see from the entry. Beyond the couches you’ll find what I will refer to as my dining room table for the duration of this post. Oh how I love my dining room table! It was our very first “grown up furniture” purchase – not a hand me down, not from IKEA or Target. It’s from a real-life furniture store and it wasn’t cheap. We fell in love with a dark wood high top table with rich cherry tones. The table is square with slightly rounded edges and it came with 6 pub height wooden chairs with dark brown leather seats. An extra leaf easily folds out for additional space for guests and we later found a 3 pack of matching stools, providing additional seating for parties. There’s even space at the base of the table for storage or a cute decoration.

When we have visitors, it’s almost a guarantee that someone will run their palm across the table and give it a compliment, which I graciously accept, because I love this dining room table — except for one thing. On most days, IT IS FULL OF SHAME!

(Or maybe I am full of shame, if we’re being fair.)

Why am I being so dramatic? This beautiful, beautiful piece of furniture has a large flat surface area which means it is the perfect place for my family (and lately me) to conveniently place things and forget about them. We’re now a family of 6 and when we walk in the door we’re carrying kids, bags, school papers, food, etc. All of it usually finds its place on the table with the intention of being put away. (It usually just piles up til I get sick of it.) Worse off, the dining room table is one of the largest, flat surfaces in the house, which makes it the perfect place to fold laundry. And stack clean piles of clothes. And laundry baskets. Waaaaaahhhh! I hate putting away laundry. So it sits there until Todd or I are somehow miraculously inspired to take the laundry upstairs AND put it away.

When anyone sits down to eat, they have to move stuff from one chair to another so there’s room to sit and shove stuff over so there’s room on the table to put their plate. Instead of looking at each other, people sitting across the table from each other stare into plastic laundry baskets that have been pushed to the center. On a good day, when we get the laundry taken upstairs, there is still a permanent, shameful fixture on our gorgeous table – which I refer to as our orphan sock centerpiece. This white wire basket used to live on a shelf above the washer and dryer but now it’s sooo full the only way to find a match is to spread the socks on the table.
basket of socks

I’m being pretty lenient when I say “find a match”. 95% of the time, the toddlers and I wear socks that don’t match. We’re not entirely random – we try to go with similar socks e.g. a Darth Vader sock can go with a Yoda sock because they’re both Star Wars, but we wouldn’t put a Snow White sock with a My Little Pony sock – we have some boundaries! Also for full transparency, my husband would have you know that the socks aren’t all orphans, they’re just not matched. Both of us hate matching socks and we can’t pawn it off on Oscar because they’re not his socks. He does his own laundry separate from the little kids. We tried to make it fun and hyped it up as a matching game for the toddlers but they’re too smart for that. So the clean socks just sit in the basket on the dining room table until the kids need socks for the morning. Socks don’t make it to the toddlers’ rooms.

To top it off, while we have all these damn socks in the basket, the majority of them are probably edging on being too small for Mikey and Scarlett’s growing feet, but not small enough for Isabella. That would be too easy, right? I have no idea where we packed away the newborn socks three years ago so we’ve been making sure Izzy is wearing outfits with footies while her 3 pairs of socks are making their way through the laundry.

This morning, I felt like a bad momma because we’ve only managed to find 3 pairs of newborn socks for my new baby, and summer is coming (eventually) so this little chick isn’t going to be wearing full body suits with footies much longer. Alas, this morning I decided I was going to put an end to this never ending problem and TAKE BACK MY DINING ROOM TABLE – at least from the sock basket centerpiece! I pulled up the Target website on my phone and searched for toddler socks for boys, toddler socks for girls, and newborn socks for girls. In just a few days a box will arrive on my front porch and Mikey, Scarlett and Isabella will all be the proud recipients of three new packages of socks each. For anyone thinking – “What about Oscar?” Yes, I did think about him – but he’s already set on his sock game. His feet haven’t grown too much lately and he has been wearing the same kind of socks for as long as I can remember. Black Nike socks; he asks for them every Christmas and when Kohl’s has socks buy one get one we stock up. Taking a page out of Oscar’s playbook and also inspired by Michelle’s minimalist post from earlier this week, instead of buying the toddlers “fun” socks with characters on them like I usually do, I bought them all mostly white socks which will be way easier to match.

If you’ve gotten this far into my Thursday morning ramblings, thank you. This is a lot of words to write about a dining room table and socks, but I’ll wrap up with a mom hack I hope you put to use. Whenever we shop at Kohl’s and earn Kohl’s cash, I know that $10 or $20 certificate is just a ruse to get you back in the store the following week to spend more than that — but I don’t. All our Kohl’s cash is used for items under $10 or $20 like socks, underwear or undershirts for anyone who needs them. We do the same with Target gift cards. When we buy diapers, wipes, formula or cleaning supplies in bulk, we earn Target gift cards for future purchases. Luckily I had $25 in Target cards in my wallet to offset the cost of the major sock investment I made this morning.

Once the new socks arrive we’ll go through that pile one more time to look for any toddler socks we can save for Izzy and the rest we’ll toss. The white wire basket will be repurposed for a greater use, finding socks for my children every morning won’t make me groan, and my gorgeous dining room table will once again regain its honor, hopefully with some kind of summer-y decoration that makes me smile. Let me know if you have any ideas!


Katie Helgesen

Katie Helgesen is the Senior Director of Business Intelligence at Dealer Inspire, a fast-growing and award winning technology company near Chicago. Katie and her husband, Todd, have 4 awesome kids and love living in a small community centered on a lake in northwest Indiana. Baseball, t-ball, and soccer schedules are just a few pieces of Katie’s Mom Hustle. Her daydreams revolve around finding more “me time” and traveling. In real life, Katie keeps herself sane with naps, Netflix and eating out as often as she can.