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I finally found a simple solution to a problem that has bugged me for years! My dining room table seemed to take on the life of a dump-it-all spot for everyone in the family, and I only made it worse by removing the good linen tablecloth - by leaving only the underpad that is washable with a damp cloth, it was an open invitation to dump stuff. I suddenly realized that no one in this family would put anything on it if I had it "set for company."
Out came the Irish linen tablecloth that is so beautiful but such a pain to iron, the good dishes, the stemware, the Irish linen napkins the napkin rings and the centerpiece. It was gorgeous and looked totally ready for company!
Not one person has even thought about setting something else down on that table or even any other surface. When asked if we were expecting company, I said only "Maybe, so don't leave anything in the dining room.!" End of discussion, end of problem. Added bonus is that the table setting is so beautiful that I find I am keeping the dining room really clean and dust free, ready for "company at a moment's notice."
My family, including myself, has the same bad habit of dumping everything on the dining room table. I recently cleaned it off, put a pretty lace tablecloth with cut glass bowl in the center, and miraculously it has been free of clutter. Such a treat for eyes too.
If your table is beautifully decorated and would be difficult to undo just to shake it out, use a credit card or business card to scrape those crumbs into a dust pan or some type of container. I also use the same method when removing pins after quilting, although I admit that the crumbs are much more cooperative!
I found a magnet on a stick type wand that is perfect for those pins and use it in the office area to get those stray paper clips also. Great way to round up those items without a lot of frustration.