I’m working on the cleaning chapter of my book and I wanted to talk to you about two concepts that have proven mind-blowing for me. The first is from my mentor-from-afar Marie Kondo. The second is from the wild ride I’ve been on as a mom.
The goal with simplifying our homes is to make things really easy to put away which, coincidentally, also makes them easy to get out. That’s how we keep the clutter monster from returning.
This is a lesson from Kondo and it’s helped me immensely. You see, many times we focus storage on, well, storage. Or “organization.” When we instead focus on reducing and simplifying, it means less stuff. It means we can easily find space to put things in. It means you open a cabinet, pull out the casserole dish and then shut the cabinet. That’s instead of opening a cabinet, moving aside three small dishes to get to the stack of dishes behind them, pulling all of that out, taking them out of the casserole dish and then putting everything back. Let’s not even get into the mental block you’ll have with putting the casserole dish back away. The same example applies to the coat closet, the linen closet, movies, desks, laundry and anything else that is a clutter problem in your home.
If we focus our organizational energy on reducing/simplifying and then making things really easy to put away then folks are more likely to put things away. Which means less work for you and a nicer home for you as well.
Now, this goes hand in hand with another strategy. And I do mean hand in hand. As in, you’re going to have to hold everyone else’s hand.
Put it all the way away.
The concept of putting things all the way away is a struggle we all face. My son is a great teacher of this concept. His shoes will go from his feet to off. Then from off to by the staircase. Then from the staircase to his room. Then from his room to his closet. You know, away. I explain to him that if he would have just put them all the way away the first time, he would have saved time and nagging. Winning.
I wish I could say the kiddos were the only culprit. Not so. As adults we do it too. We bring a cup in from the other room and it goes on the counter. Then maybe it gets moved to the sink. Finally, it might get moved to the dishwasher. Or we bring in mail and it goes from the counter to the desk to the shred machine pile.
You get the gist. If we can simply get in the habit of putting something all the way away the first time we would surely save ourselves time, frustration and visual clutter. Just think about all the time and energy you waste handling things more than once. If you and your family were in the habit of putting things all the way away the first time, everything would be better!
Putting things away doesn’t quite have the bang-you-over-the-head-with-obviousness effect that putting things all the way away does. I suggest you try this out with your family this week. If you can get into this habit, it will save all of you time and mental clutter! It pairs especially well with making it really easy to put things away.
Do either of these concepts help you? I know they’re big time for me and my family.
PS: If you need a coach to help you get on top of clutter, cleaning & productivity, I’m your girl. I work with clients twice a week for 30 minute sessions where we talk plans, action items, strategies and encouragement! Fill out the form below to work together.