From chaos to (mostly) Organized

Monday! I bet everything around you in the house is clean and tidy today, (depending on how many chores you achieved over the weekend). But what's the bet things won't be looking this good tomorrow and by Wednesday the doors of your closet can no longer be closed as the shelves are crammed with clothes and you haven't done the laundry. There is a growing stack of newspapers on the dining table, a wet umbrella by the door, a pile of clothes on the spare bed. By Friday, the house is a full-blown disaster zone—that is, until you tackle the massive (and much-needed) tidying up job on Saturday which will spill over to Sunday. Then, the cycle starts all over again.

I know, for many years now you might have been struggling to keep your house comfortable and “lived in” without it looking like wild animals live there, and perhaps like me, you could never get it right. After all, when you are busy cleaning up one room, the others in the house (dogs included) are busy creating a cyclone in another room. And then a visitor drops by and you mumble a quick ‘sorry about the mess,’ as they step over toys and push a load of books off the chair to sit down.

The scary thing is having a tidy home isn’t about impressing people. It can actually affect our happiness. The science of neuroarchitecture shows that our home affects our moods and if we are feeling a little down or overwhelmed, a bit of tidying might just give us the lift we need. Then again who wants to spend all their time cleaning? That would surely be the perfect idea of hell. There are too many books in the world waiting to be read to be wasting time folding clothes!

The good news is by keeping up with a few good habits every single day and getting the whole family involved, you can transform your home from chaos to mostly organized. Sure, you will still have some toys on the floor during the day and general “cleaning” that needs to be done once a week or whenever you get to it, but for the most part, your home will be fairly neat. Let’s just say that if someone gave you 15 minutes notice that they were coming over, your house would look clean.

Spacious and fresh

Experts say the number one most important thing you can do to keep your house tidy and yourself sane (and save money) is to get rid of the clutter and, just as important, stop bringing new clutter into your home. When we think about it we realize part of the reason we spend so much time tidying is because we have so much stuff to tidy. Remove some of that stuff and not only have you cut your workload, your house now looks tidy, spacious and fresh.

It's also important to stick to the adage; A place for everything and everything in its place. Most of the time our house is in a mess because we don’t know what to do with the things we have or where to put it. Or we have run out of room to put it anywhere. So, After getting rid of the clutter, the next step is to find a home for everything that remains. When everything we own has a home, it takes minutes to pick things up and put them away.

We can also cultivate the habit of tidying a little, more often. Rather than having ‘a big clean up’ every week or going into a panic when visitors call, take a minute or two to tidy just a little each day.

This can be as simple as putting the junk mail straight into the recycling bin rather than letting it pile up on the dining table, or washing your mug after drinking tea straight away rather than leaving it lying around. With only a second or two of effort, your house remains spic and span.

Academic success

Here's another sure-fire way of keeping your house neat. Train your tribe. “What is one of the most important things you can do to help your kids grow into successful adults?” A writer in a magazine for housewives once asked. “Is it private school? Is it extra-curricular activities? Well, according to research it’s giving them chores at a young age.

Children who began chores at ages 3 and 4 were more likely to have good relationships, achieve academic success and be self-sufficient than those who started as teens or had none at all.

A child’s very first chore it appears should be (at around 2-3 with your help) to pick up their own toys. And this is also the time to capitalize on that youthful enthusiasm that wears thin as they grow older. ‘I’d love to scrub the sink, Amma!’ turns into a groan in a few quick years, so get in early and teach them young. True, it can be a whole chore in itself to get your kids to do their chores, and sometimes it’s easier to just do it yourself. In the short term. In the long term, however, nobody wins if we become a slave to our kids.

Finally, be happy with “clean enough”. If you are a perfectionist, this is probably the hardest one for you. You want your house to be relatively clean and tidy but that doesn’t mean that every little thing has to be perfect. You can follow the 80/20 rule – meaning that you are happy with 80% of the cleaning being done. Getting caught up in all of the little details that make up the last 20% (like making sure every little speck is cleaned up off the floor or getting to all of those little out of the way and hard to reach places to dust) take up too much time and are probably details that no one would really notice. It's not that they never need to be cleaned, but make them part of a deep cleaning routine rather than your regular weekly cleaning schedule.

And at the end of the day, make it a routine to do a family 15 minute nightly clean-up. Kids can clean their rooms or do other small household chores while you and your spouse finish up the kitchen cleaning or fold and put away laundry.

Start with the things that are making the biggest mess or creating a lot of clutter or any “must dos” that need to be done before bed so that in the morning you wake up to a tidy house. This may look like a lot of time invested, but it’s really not. If everyone works together, you can have it knocked out in no time. The secret is to never aim for perfection. Just stick to a few good routines that will give you some sanity. After all we live in homes, not hotels. So find sometime to make a cup of tea, grab that book and put your feet up. 


Add new comment

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.

Or log in with...