Favorite practices for a clean & tidy home!
Updated: Aug 15, 2021
When you want to be really great at something, what do you do? You practice of course. Although, I don't agree with the myth, "practice makes perfect". However, I will say it can change your life for the better! A friend once told the "perfectionist part of me", that you don't have to be perfect, but you do have to practice striving for your goals. So, forgive yourself on days, for whatever reason you fall short, and keep trying to practice! At very least you will have learned something and improved your situation, right?
ONE & DONE! Meaning touch an item one time. This is the most efficient way of managing your items. So, instead of hanging your jacket on the railing inside the door which falls on the floor to pick up later, walk a couple more steps to the peg or closet, where it lives. Then you are done! That's it. You don't have to once again think about it, see it, or tell someone, "I have to do such and such". That takes away your precious resources of time and energy.
ORGANIZE DAILY OR AS YOU GO. Unfortunately, one cannot organize their pantry once and then it's forever done and completed. No, each time you bring something into the house or out of the house, the new or remaining items need to be redistributed. For example, seasons may dictate redistribution of clothing from summer to winter clothing. This changes not only in our yearly cycle, but in seasons of life as well. A couple will have a different way the home will need to function once they have children or pets, and once again if they are a downsizing empty-nesters. So, if you do a little bit of maintenance, which takes only a matter of seconds to maybe a few minutes, you will stay ahead of clutter and disorganization.
KEEP IT SIMPLE. One of my organizing friends says " I have to keep it simple stupid so I can consistently maintain a clean and tidy home." Often, I come to a house, with a busy working mom saying she can't keep up because she's has too much. Once upon a time I was that woman. So over decades I have honed systems and schedules that work for me. But, and this is a big but, you MUST go through your items and declutter first. Don't fret! I can coach you through this!
LISTEN TO YOUR INNER VOICE. How you think and talk will produce an outcome, right. So if I walk around my house and say, "I just disorganized and messy!" , how will this effect the state of your home? Will it start getting cleaner if you are demoralizing yourself over socks on the floor? Of course not. Mind you, at first you may feel like an imposter, but the more you practice the better you and your home will get. So say, "I can be cleaner." or "I'm making progress towards organization."
LESS IS MORE! Each item in your care needs time, money, and attention. Read that again. So, you are in charge of how many items you want to be. Remember, if you are fearful of less, pack up the excess and practice living with less. You will find you also have less stress and distractions. Plus much more time and energy for what you want to focus on! I also provide cleaning services and often am asked by clients for an estimate time to clean their home. Square footage is not the main determinant. It is the amount of items, knick-knacks, displays, piles, extensive collections, blocked walkways, closet and drawer overflow that slows down the cleaning process considerably. I used to clean a townhome which was about 1000 square feet in 4 hours and a 2,500 foot square home also in 4 hours.
PROBLEM SOLVE: How can I make these cupboards function better? What do I use the most? What don't I use? Can I use one item in multiple ways, thus cutting down on my responsibilities? Problems arise or change and you can save yourself a lot of time and aggravation by making little improvements on a regular basis.
DECORATE IN ODD NUMBERS. At art school one of the basics in creating an interesting and creative display or vignette. Of course, if you have a front door flanked by a topiary on each side this can be a real statement.
DARE TO BE DIFFERENT! So who said you have to use an area as it was originally designed? Does a formal dining room suit your lifestyle? Or could you better use this room as a study for you and your family? You are the king or queen of your castle so make it work for you! Make you living areas serve you and your family! You are in charge. You live there, not your friend or your relatives.
JUST DO SOMETHING! It's always, always, better than nothing! Right? I have struggled with chronic pain, fatigue, and along with that depression. Just move and do YOUR best for that day. Even if you only get a couple of items checked off your list, that's progress. Get up and do it again tomorrow. Eventually, you will get through your list.
MAKE A GAME OF IT! I don't know about you, but I am motivated by getting the dishes done on commercials. Or perhaps, setting the timer for 15 minutes, 1/2 an hour, or utilizing the time in between other responsibilities. I have also enjoyed the minimalist game as well. It is where you declutter 1 item the first day, then 2 on the second, and all through the month. This is a great way to learn what is truly important to you and help those in need.
YOU ARE THE EXAMPLE! This is big! Whether you have kids, roommates, or a partner, others notice how you manage your home. Start getting kids to help from toddlers on up. Don't worry if your kids are older and you are just getting organized, they may bulk at first, but you are providing living skills they will take into adulthood. Remember, they leave home and bring their habits with them. Set them up for success.
FINISH WHAT YOU ARE DOING! Okay, okay...there are times where we can't, but as a rule of thumb, finish each job completely before going onto another project. This includes the time to access the items, the whole way through to clean up and putting items back into their proper homes. You will feel more accomplished and your house will show for it.
BE CONSISTENT, NOT PERFECT. Lighten up, give yourself some grace, but only do this when necessary. Otherwise, don't think about it, just move! Get it done and it will have a positive affect on you and your family.
EVERYTHING NEEDS A PROPER AND LOGICAL HOME. Let me start with a proper home. If the cupboard is spilling out onto the counter , that is probably not a proper home, right? Each cabinet, basket, drawer, closet, bin, and so on has a limited amount of space in which you can easily obtain your item and then just as easily you should be able to return it. In other words, do you want to pick up 3 pots, set them on the floor, then move the casserole dishes, just to dig out the Wok? Then put everything back and have to repeat to return the Wok? It is inefficient. Also, the logical piece comes in when you answer questions like: Do I use this item often? Throughout my day? Daily? Weekly? Monthly? Once a year? Of course the items you use the most should be front and center and those that you use once a week can be on the top shelf. Also, you want to think of purpose, where the item is most used, does it need to be out of reach of children, can it be with other like items, and so on.
BREAK IT DOWN. Why put a huge job in front of yourself when you could have little daily tasks that are done in just a few minutes freeing up your Saturday? I do dishes after the majority of meals, it takes less than 15 minutes compared to the few hours it may take to scrape of last Tuesday's Lasagna from your dishes. Or do a load or two of laundry a day, so you don't have to make a whole weekend of it. Put it in the washer as you are leaving for work, put it in the dryer or hang it that evening.
DO THE NEXT THING. This is where routines and habits really make this easier. You know the jobs, what needs to be done, who should do them, and you don't have to constantly wear yourself out trying to make another decision in your already decision-filled day. I have tasks I do throughout the day, such dishes and keeping up with trash. Some may be once a day, every other day, once per week, or even once per month. You don't have to be super strict about it just a general basic knowledge of what needs to be done and how often.
This is not an exhaustive list, but these have been proven to work in my life, I hope they help you improve yours too! If you have any further questions or are ready to set an appointment with me you can call me at 717-752-7504.