Ever since JD and I got married almost six years ago, one of my main struggles has been to keep some type of order and cleanliness in our home. Living in the dorm or at home with my parents, I was only responsible for a small space, and even those spaces were a tad on the messy side. Once I had a place of my own, with an equally messy companion, it was hard for me to maintain a level of clean while being proud of how our home looked.
As most of you know, I’m a big fan of the blog Unclutterer. It’s a great resource and a daily reminder that being organized is a constant battle and not something that can just be achieved so you can move on. Being organized should be a habit.
I love Unclutterer mostly because I’m always eager to read practical tips that people use to keep them sane in regards to clutter and organization. Especially now, as we begin the summer, and we have more guests, impromptu gatherings of friends, and just random house-happenings, I am stepping up my organizational game. So, I thought I’d briefly share some ways that I keep our house in order, and things I’ve developed over the years that work for me. I’m no expert, but maybe these ideas could help you too?
Every night, I do the following things before going to bed:
- Fold the living room blanket and put the sofa pillows in their place. This does wonders for me in the morning. Waking up to an arranged living room makes your day start off on the right foot.
- I prepare all of my “stuff” for work the next day: my purse, my gym bag, my lunch that doesn’t need to be refrigerated, or anything that makes my morning run smoothly. I would admit to being a morning person, but I need that first hour after waking up to be smooth-going.
- I get the kitchen ready. This may seem weird, but I like to load all the dishes in the sink, clean off all the counters, and not leave anything out. Our coffee pot is also set on a timer to turn on before we wake up, so JD will make the coffee before going to bed. One exception: the large pots and pans that we used for dinner the night before air dry in the sink after cleaning and are ready to be put away in the morning.
Other things I try to do to keep down clutter:
- Anytime I move from one room to another, even to go to the bathroom, I take an item that needs to be put away. I try not to go from one room to another fruitlessly. I’ll bring shoes to my bedroom from the living room, throw towels in the laundry room from the bathroom, put away scissors in the craft room into the kitchen…. it just reduces clean-up time at the end of the night.
- I try to sort the mail immediately. This is a constant struggle, but I like dealing with what comes in to the house right off the bat.
- Every item has a place. I know this seems generic, but if you know where something goes, then there is no question or hesitation to it being out.
- My pet peeve has become unneccessary kitchen counter clutter. To JD, this is ridiculous: there are things we use every day that can just sit on the counter. But, we’ve come to a compromise and agree that some things should go, some can stay.
- Especially in the beginning of marriage, I wouldn’t do any chores around the house until I knew people would be visiting. First of all, that’s gross (but I was lazy). Secondly, I end up pulling my hair out in order to get ready for visitors. If I just had a maintenance schedule, it wouldn’t be so difficult. Now, I do one big chore a weekend: I clean all the bathrooms, or vacuum all the carpet, or dust everywhere, or sweep and Swiff the floors. This has done wonders for my self-confidence in regards to how the house looks. And, I also don’t feel guilty for not having cleaned something when I know it’s next on the weekend chore cycle. (Also, if your husband is laid off, he just does them for you during the week!! heehee)
I’m sure there are other things, but those are the main organizational tips I try to stick to. I’d love to hear of other ideas you have. Also, how do you deal with big seasonal cleaning, like cleaning windows, changing air filters or dusting fan blades, etc.? I still need to figure out a plan for that.