I get a lot out of Emilie Barnes’ ideas for taking care of clutter and organizing your life and your home. Here are a few tidbits for you to take to heart and incorporate into your hectic schedule….to make it less hectic! 🙂
Evening…a Time to Clean Up
Get your children into the habit of cleaning up after themselves, especially before bedtime.
Schedule a family meeting to explain the new routine and get everybody on board. Initially they might not be too excited about the idea of an evening clean up session, but you can make developing this new habit fun.
Stress the importance of waking up to an orderly home and ask everyone for ideas so each member is included in the pursuit of this new goal.
It takes 21 days to form a new habit so don’t be discouraged on day 12 if they haven’t caught the vision! Press on.
Keep the cleaning simple. You can either set a certain amount of time each person needs to spend cleaning or designate an area for them to maintain. Even little kids can clean their rooms in just a few minutes.
Adjust the cleaning plan as you go so that it works best for your family.
Why So Many?
In most cases we don’t need more than one of anything. As you survey all your stuff, you will soon discover that you have multiple screwdrivers, spoons, glasses, tape measures, flashlights, pliers, boxes of cereal, and cans of pasta mix.
Why do you hang on to all these multiples? Perhaps you think that if you have more than one, you have a better chance of finding it when you want it.
Multiple things take up a lot of space in an already cluttered area. Here are two suggestions that might help you find that one of a kind object (whatever it might be):
Decide on an exact place to put it.
Always return it to that spot the minute you are through using it. Is this rule sinking in yet?
Clear the Clutter in Child’s Room
Children’s rooms also need the proper tools and equipment in order to keep from accumulating a lot of clutter. Consider these suggestions:
Keep a small vacuum handy to quickly clean up messes.
Put up a blackboard to write on or a pegboard to hang things on to keep things off the floor.
Use extra large wastebaskets with plastic garbage can liners.
Organize toys in plastic boxes, milk crates, or decorated cartons.
Install closet rods (appropriate to the height of the children) so they can hang up their own clothes.
Limit snacking in bedrooms.
The Closet of Mystery
All of us have “ghostly closets.” They are a mystery even to us. We open the doors just to see what we have stuffed into them.
As a child I can remember listening to one of my all-time favorite radio programs, Fibber McGee and Molly. During one of those episodes, Molly opened up her closet and everything tumbled out of it—many things that didn’t even belong there. But because it was behind closet doors, no one except Molly could see into the closet.
If you have one of those mystery closets, begin today to get a grip on it. Take everything out, lay the items on the floor or bed, and examine each item to see if it still fits or if you’ve worn it in the last year. It must pass your inspection before you put it back into the closet.
If the item doesn’t pass the test, you must give it away or put it into the garage sale bag.
The Messy Medicine Cabinet
When you open your medicine cabinet, do you feel as though you’ve just walked into the Rite Aid Pharmacy? Do you have one of every pill prescribed by mankind? Have some of the items expired three years ago?
Do you find old toothbrushes and half-filled tubes of toothpaste? Do you have old ointments, tweezers, eye makeup, and nail polishes of various shades of red and purple?
If so then you need a “medicine chest makeover.” Attack with vigor—get rid of all that old stuff you no longer use. Make sure you don’t throw out old medicines in a way that children could mistakenly find them.
Don’t use your easy-to-reach medicine cabinet to store all of your feminine items. Be selective about what you keep in this handy storage spot.
Cleanliness and order are not matters of instinct; they are matters of education, and like most great things, you must cultivate a taste for them. -Benjamin Disraeli
Order is not pressure which is imposed on society from without, but an equilibrium which is set up from within. -Jose Ortega Y Gasset
Broken and Outgrown Toys
Do you suffer from kiddie clutter in your home? As I visit homes where children live, I’m amazed at how many toys, games, gadgets, puzzles, and books there are in the home. You know who is responsible for much of this clutter? Parents and grandparents—not the kids!
In many cases these toys are missing parts and the games are no longer played with (because they are for three- to five-year-olds and the child is now nine).
Take an inventory of all this clutter. Set aside those items that should be given away, tossed out, or added to the garage sale bag. As long as you keep all of this kid stuff clutter, you are having to store it, dust it, move it, and spend your energy vacuuming around it.
This is a declutter paradise. Check to make sure that your children have shelves, closets, baskets, and trunks to store their belongings. If they don’t have proper places to store their toys, everything will end up strewn across the floor, or in piles at the bottom of their closets.
Do the Worst First
One of the basic principles I share in my organizational seminars is “do the worst first.”
Once you complete the worst part of the project, everything else is easy. This is also a great rule to follow if you have trouble with procrastinating.
We all dread the worst—that’s why it is best to get it out of the way in the beginning of the project.
When you enter a room with plans to clean it, determine which of the projects you dread most.
Take a minute to break down the whole job into smaller tasks. Now choose the worst of the small tasks and do that one first.
You will learn two things about this “do the worst first” rule:
It didn’t take you as long as you thought.
It wasn’t as bad as you thought it would be.
Happy Feast Day! I love my patron saint! <3
St. Anne, Gentle and Saintly Grandmother, Pray for us and all our needs!
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