If you do a google search on 'clutter', there's something like 33 million results.'Tidy' brings up 52 million, and 'simplicity' a staggering 107 million.
So to write a blog myself on these very things, seems kind of...superfluous - almost like adding something else to the overloaded and excessive list that is already available.
But, here I am.
Today I visited a friend. The house is like mine - ordered, calm, and although not large, is spacious feeling. It was lovely!
I reckon it has to be easier to live in space not stuff. And yes, it takes time to keep my place the way it is, but I am convinced that it is LESS time than what it would take to clean a house that has double the furniture, double (or more) the toys, and had piles (however neat) where ever I looked.
I can clean my house, top to bottom in a little over an hour. That's vacuuming, dusting, cleaning the bathroom and kitchen, changing bedlinen and towels. I follow, kind of, www.flylady.net, although I was doing it before I discovered her (and I don't put out a new tea towel every day...).
So, due to popular demand (of at least, oh, one reader of this blog...) here is my list of tips for keeping the house clutter free and looking calm and orderly
10. make the beds, right away, every day. Drawing curtains, ditto.
9. make a rule about clothes - all things go in the laundry basket or are put away, right away, every day
8. there's a kid rule in this house: if it's found on the floor it is confiscated. For ever. Only ever had to do it once.
7. do the dishes, right away, every day
6. use the same routine on cleaning day. start in the same place each time, moving round the house in the same direction, every time. this not only feels more efficient, it quickly becomes a rhythm. Clean every room in the same session, otherwise it will feel like it never gets done. try and have a regular day or timeslot for cleaning. Have a cleaning box always ready so you're not rummaging for products, cloths etc.
5. Have regular purges (as per previous post). Aim to do each room at least once a year. So in an average house that means a room is getting looked at every 8 weeks or so. Count the pantry, the linen cupboard and the garage as rooms too.
4. for every one thing that comes in to the house, something goes out. whether it's clothes, linen, kitchen stuff, whatever
3. get in the habit of recycling, upcycling and donating. Often. I always have a box on the go!
2. have one, or two, designated dump spots in the house. Ideally not in regular view (IE not the kitchen bench or your dressing table!). I have a table in the laundry where everything left by other people, or things to be taken out of the house, are always put. I also have a 'safe place' - mine is a small kete on a shelf in the kitchen. All little bits go in there - spare wheels from toy cars, extra keys, spare pens, anything very little that i find when I...
1. Do 'sweeps' around the house. I was doing this long before i discovered it had a fancy name. I do it about 3 times a day. This is how it works:
- I always start in the same place, as per cleaning day. Moving through each room I pick up everything that's not in it's rightful place. If it is out of place in the room it's put back.If it's from somewhere else - like say a hairbrush left on the kitchen bench, I pick it up and take it with me. By the time I've moved right round the houseI might have 7 or 8 things that all need returning elsewhere. Rarely is it more than this as I adhere to the other principals as much as I can during the day. And it's not difficult or time-consuming - it takes 2 or 3 minutes tops each time.
I always always do a sweep before bed so that I come out to a tidy house in the morning.
And (almost) always before I leave the house each morning so I return to order too.
Now, these things might sound a bit detailed, pedantic, maybe even rather hard work, but this is how it works for me. I've got the children in the habit,(although I do have to nag a bit about shoes around the place and toys left out!) and they too like being in tidy and ordered environments.
For me, I need the order in order to function! I simply can't concentrate or relax when there is chaos around me. When I have a house full, which is often, I am happy to have things out of place of course. When the kids have friends over it often looks like the place has imploded. But as soon as everyone is gone - yep I'm straight back into it!
Oh, and like the cartoon...just stop buying stuff....