How much time do you spend cleaning house on a weekly basis? Do you share my dream that you could snap your fingers and the house would be perfectly clean and tidy? For most of us, cleaning house is one of those necessary evils. A clean house is essential to keep our homes safe and healthy. According to the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) getting rid of clutter eliminates 40% of housework. So it would make sense that if you want to reduce the amount of time you spend cleaning, you should reduce the amount of clutter in your house. It’s important to distinguish between cleaning and de-cluttering. To clean is to remove the dirt, grime and germs. To de-clutter is to remove the items that are no longer used or simply to return items to their designated ‘homes’. Below are 10 tips to reduce the amount of time you spend cleaning house.
1) The less you have, the quicker cleaning will be. Keep only the things that you love.
2) De-clutter daily. Have all family members pitch in. Set a timer for 10 minutes. Or create a basket for each family member for their “clutter” that must me returned to its home before watching TV or eating a snack.
3) Delegate household cleaning tasks. Kids can make their beds, empty trash, load and unload dishwasher, vacuum and dust their bedroom and clean their bathroom.
4) Keep cleaning supplies under each bathroom sink for easy access.
5) Use multi-use/all purpose products. Fewer products to purchase and store.
6) Listen to music, a podcast or talk on the phone to pass time while cleaning.
7) Clean the house on the same day each week. Establish the same routine with kids cleaning their room. Maybe Saturday mornings work for your family.
8) Host a book club or dinner club. Having people over regularly is great motivation to get your house in order.
9) Be comfortable while cleaning. Dress in comfy washable clothing.
10) Let go of perfection. Settle for “Good Enough”.
What time-saving tips do you have to keep your home clean? Please comment below.
I hear this a lot from clients. It’s hard to donate or sell things that we paid a lot for. But is it really worth that much now? It may be very valuable to you and hold some sentimental value, but the real value is most likely not as much as we think. I don’t force anyone to get rid of anything but sometimes it’s clear that the “abundance of stuff” is causing stress. Ask yourself these questions to determine whether you should keep or pass on certain things.
If I keep it, does it have a home?
Is the space it takes up worth it?
Do I love and honor this item?
Is it easily replaceable?
Will a new product be more efficient?
Do I know the true value of the item? Will it go up or down in value?
What’s the worst thing that can happen if I get rid of it?
Have I used/worn/viewed this within the last year?
Does it hold some special family sentimental value?
If I’m saving this to pass down to future generations, will they honor it? Or will they just be guilted into accepting it?
Options for creating more space by removing things things that no longer fit into your life include selling on Ebay, Craig’s List, local online and newspaper classifieds, garage sales, consignment stores, or simply donate and use as a tax deduction. Remember that other people will get more satisfaction from the items than you will.
If you’re having trouble with over-flowing clutter in your house, then maybe you haven’t adequately defined the function of your rooms. Every room, closet, nook and cranny of your home needs to have a well-defined purpose. When I go to a client’s house for the first time, I ask what the room is currently being used for. Then I ask what they WANT and NEED the room to be used for. My job is to get the room from it’s current state to the clients desired vision. As I’ve mentioned before, everything needs a home. But do you have well defined “homes” set up?
Often, the rooms in our homes are multi-functional. For example, a kitchen’s purpose is for food preparation but may also be used for eating, homework, socializing and mail sorting. Kid’s bedrooms are for sleeping but may also serve as a play area or study area depending on the age of the child.
The guest bedroom tends to be our “catch-all” space. Stress sets in when house guests are expected and the bed and floor are taken over with clutter. Define the purposes of this room and set it up accordingly. Ask yourself if you need this room to serve as storage. If so, then create desirable storage solutions.
Another consideration is under-utilizing a space. We don’t use the room for it’s intended purpose such as formal dining rooms and living areas. This isn’t a problem if there’s enough space in the rest of the house. If not, consider breaking away from the traditional use of the room and converting it to serve a different function such as a home office or a play room if you have small children.
Ask yourself these questions: What do I want this room used for? What activities do I want/need to take place in this room/ area? It’s important to assign the purposes to a room. Keep this vision and don’t allow the defined areas become over-taken by clutter that belongs elsewhere.
Choosing the right container is usually the last step in the organizing process. This is an important consideration because using the wrong container can lead to disorganized chaos. I remind clients when choosing a container, the priority is its ease of use. Simple storage solutions are more important than how pretty the container looks.
Things to consider as you choose a container:
--What will be stored in the container? Take into consideration the amount of stuff and how heavy it will be. Storing heavy items in large bins will make moving them very difficult.
--Where will the containers be stored? Will they need to be stacked? If so, you want to have flat tops so that is possible. You will probably want to take measurements of the shelf, drawer, cabinet, etc. to be sure that the containers will fit.
--Clear is almost always best. You can see what is in the container.
--The more squared off containers are, the more practical. Curves and angles are space wasters.
--Frequently used containers are often better without a lid. It’s just easier. You might not put the mail away if you have to lift or unlatch a lid.
--Let the container be the limit or the boundary for what is stored inside. Once it gets full, it’s time to weed out rather than purchase another container.
DESIGNATE a “home” or a place for everything. All items in your house should have a shelf, container, cabinet, drawer, etc.
DECIDE immediately what to do with things that come into your home. Clutter is the result of not deciding what to do with our “stuff”.
DIVIDE your stuff into categories and organize like items together.
DONATE Most of us have too much stuff. All of that stuff adds stress to our lives and takes up valuable real estate in our homes. If you haven’t worn that shirt or used the casserole dish in the last year, it’s time to let it go.
has, but if you follow the steps lined out in my earlier blog about cleaning out your
purse, then it should be simple. Miscellaneous things seem to ﬁnd their way into the
junk drawer and not ﬁnd their way out. This should be a relatively quick project. If you
don’t have 15 minutes to set aside for this task, maybe you can multi-task and start organizing the junk drawer as you’re
cooking dinner. Just follow the
same ﬁve steps below that I outlined to organize purses and backpacks.
1) Empty everything out of the drawer.
2) Throw out trash - if there’s an unknown object that’s been in the junk drawer for
awhile, it’s probably safe to throw it out.
3) Clean - Wipe out the empty drawer. It’s much nicer to start with a freshly cleaned area.
4) Sort - Group like items together and
5) Put back in an organized way. I like the junk drawer organizers like the one they sell
at The Container Store. http://www.containerstore.com/shop?productId=10000671&N=&Ntt=junk+drawer+organizer
Generally the toughest drawer to organize will be the junk drawer that every kitchen