One of the things many people comment on when they come over is the fact that our home usually doesn’t seem cluttered. We are by no means minimalists, although I have a secretly harbored dreams of being a minimalist. We have kids. I have a husband. We have a dog. And, frankly, I would never be willing to give up my books.
As decluttered as we are, my home can get trashed just like any other. It seems like any time I get sick, I come out to find that a cyclone has hit the house. The good news is, that even as quickly as my home can become trashed, and it can happen in remarkable speed, we can just as quickly get everything back in order. Here are a few quick tips on how we do this:
- Have less stuff. Sure, it sounds simple enough, but this idea is overlooked a lot. The more stuff you have, the more stuff there is to put away, and the more stuff there is to clean. I don’t know about you, but while I may not be a decluttering diva, I don’t particularly want to spend hours each day cleaning or even picking up. There are other ways I prefer to spend my time. So, clear out the excess stuff that you probably don’t even need. Better yet, don’t even bring it in the house at all. Keep your money – and your sanity – by keeping things simple.
- Everything needs a place, and only one place, to have as its very own home. When items don’t have a home, they never go to their spot, and you spend your time moving them from place to place. That is a lot of work, and it just adds frustration. If the item is important enough that you use it, you need it, you love it, or it adds to your life in some way, it is important enough to have its very own location.You won’t waste your time playing musical locations and you will always know where the items goes. Even better, everyone in your household will know where the item goes, saving you the time you once spent answering the question, “Have you seen….?”
- Clean as you go. This is an easy one to forget, especially when you are tired and busy. However, cleaning is so much easier if done right away. Just ask me about the time that I went ahead and stayed up late decorating a birthday cake but decided to clean up in the morning. Dried icing is not your friend. Besides, if you are cleaning a little bit all of the time, there is no build up and cleaning is easier.
- Quick pick-ups. This is a must at our house. Five minutes can make the difference between chaos and calm. A few quick pick-ups throughout the day are easier than letting everything pile up. With everyone pitching in, it may not even take the entire five minutes. Even on busy days, quick pick-ups need to happen for us before bedtime. Our days start out so much better when we wake up to a clean house. It gives us a clean slate, and keeping everything going is much easier.
- Be realistic. That artful display of carefully organized whatever supplies in neatly stacked containers may look nice when you first put it together, but is it really realistic? Are you going to take the time each time you need something to put everything back the way you had it? Is your family? Part of keeping things organized means being realistic in your expectations and making things easy. Keep it simple to keep it done.
- Make things functional. The organized mail rack in the living room isn’t doing you much good if you bring mail in through the kitchen. It makes more sense to have the kids’ art supplies near where they actually work on art projects. Keep things you use often where you can easily get to them and save the long term stored items in the out of the way places. Only keep out things you are using. If the kids tend to not play with play food when they are in a dollhouse mood, switch them out so that you only have the current item out.