Anyone who has been in the midst of a mess, can tell you, concentration and the overall ability to multi-task goes out the window. And as the little messes pile up, the mound of junk forming Mount Everest over there in the corner, can truly harp on one’s self-esteem. Having had multiple children, lots of messes and moments of temporary insanity, I had to come up with a hobby that would both boost my ‘mommy-esteem’ and make my life generally less ‘EEK’….
This is where that song ‘Clean Up, Clean Up Everybody Everywhere…’, came in handy. And I don’t mean for the kids. I had to face it, the kids could pretty much throw toys in box, but my idea of clean and they’re idea of clean…well, those were two different things. I’d come to realize, I rather enjoyed the ‘appearance’ that ‘clean’ created, but I’d hated to whole ‘cleaning process’.
And that’s when it came to me. I stopped seeing my home as chore and began to see it as art. What can I do with this canvas? How can I create a masterpiece? And rather than collecting mass volumes of useless junk, I realized…I prefer ‘minimal’ decor. Less is More. In this way, whenever I’m bored, I just change out a few things and I’ve got a whole new canvas. My new obsession was now ‘Changing With The Seasons’ and ‘Color Schemes’….maybe one month: tea pots and the next month: abstract art. But I knew, in order to make it work, I’d needed to quickly de-clutter. And minus the basic household needs…and I MEAN BASIC….everything had to go. For over a month, the garbage men hated our guts. Piles of this and that…gone. Not playing with toys? See ya….Haven’t worn those clothes in a year? Buh Bye now….Too many useless little figurines, with no rhyme or reason? Out you go! I went completely ‘blank palette’.
Over the years, since this obsession: with not living in a mess: began, we’ve had many different styles and themes. We’ve had greens, reds, browns and blues. A fresh paint of coat changes the interior of a home real quick. Then just change out a few items and viola…whole new house. This year, we’re going with blues, yellows, lime greens and pinks. We’ve kept the furniture a very neutral color and this allows for simple room make-overs, in just a few minutes.
One thing that I’ve seen folks get hung up on….is the small stuff. Filling boxes, organizing boxes, moving boxes…here’s a tip…if it’s going in a box….you probably don’t need it. Find a garbage bin! Grandpa’s old pants from God knows when….ummm…seriously, say goodbye. You’re only holding on to them for you, not future generations. Trust me….nobody wants to inherit a mess. Your kids will have their own styles, they don’t need boxes of old stuff waiting for them when they buy their new homes. Furniture…sure…maybe. If you have kids headed off to college one day or maybe to their first apartment, that old kitchen table may be of use. Otherwise…minimize. Keep TWO shelves of decorative change-out items, in the basement or garage. These are items that matter. Glassware etc…or maybe an old antique watch. No…you really don’t need to keep every single thing that used to belong to grandma. I know that’s a hard pill to swallow….but what exactly do you think will be happening to her stuff, combined with all your stuff….who are you saving it all for? Keep those things that have special meaning only.…just because an old shirt was found in her closet, doesn’t mean it was her favorite…especially when surrounded by BOXES upon BOXES of her old shirts. She couldn’t possibly have had a special relationship with each and every one. Or every single kitchen utensil…really? Here’s the thing kids…when I’m gone, you have my permission to throw out all the stuff that has zero meaning to you….yes, you may throw out my toothbrush and my bathrobe…I have no problem with that. Just keep my heart….it’ll be there…I promise.
Keep the top of the fridge BARE of FOOD! Piles of half eaten bags of chips on top of the fridge… it’s not a very welcoming site. Try standing in the entrance to your kitchen…what unique items are your eyes drawn to? If the answer is ‘a whole lotta God knows what’….maybe it’s time to put some stuff away.
Then you can show off a couple eye-catchers. Thrift Stores are great for this kind of stuff. Or pull from those two shelves of ‘change-outs’.
Use the cupboards! That’s what they’re there for. If you can’t fit anymore in….that means you’ve got too much. Or of the kitchen is small, shelving units come in handy. Unless you’re feeding an entire dorm of teenagers, you don’t need 10 frying pans laying about.
Just keep a few items that match your color palette. One or two shelves of ‘change out items’ in the basement or garage, is all you really need.
Fruit! Ahhh…bliss….If you don’t have flowers, fresh fruit and veggies make fabulous centerpieces.
Instead of throwing those remotes, batteries, etc… all over the place, keep only the ones you actually need. If you’ve got remotes for items you no longer own, cuz…hey… “might need’em someday”…pitch’em! Only keep what you NEED!
Find a way to hide cords. This can be as simple as behind the furniture, to using tape, hiding them under the carpet or using an entertainment system with doors. Also, it’s a safety issue. Have a toddler? A very chewy cat or dog? Yeah…might want to make them ‘out of sight, out of mind’.
Stand in the entrance of your home…does it look inviting? Can you spot a mess? Is it cluttered? This is the first view guests have when entering your home. Take a picture…what would you like to change?
Coats tossed about? Hang them up. Shoes don’t belong in a pile by the door. It’s rather nerve wracking to spend the first couple minutes in someones house, just trying not to trip on a mound of shoes.
Make the beds…honestly..everyday. Keep some large toy bins in the bottom of the closet. If they haven’t played with that toy in a year and you aren’t saving for another baby, get rid of it. If it’s broke and you ARE saving for another baby…get rid of it.
Ahhhhh…the most boring job ever. Unless……you make it fun. Make it about the decor. Yes…laundry can be about decor. I’m actually currently in the process of redesigning my utility room.
My plan (and I’ve already ordered a couple of things…)
I’m going with bins that have straps…they’re easier to transport when I’m doing laundry. Since the color changes in our home, I’ve had a strong desire to play with this room. It’s often overlooked. But for us, we have to walk through it, to get in the house. So it needs to be cohesive with the kitchen.
I do a load a day. EVERY SINGLE DAY! Sometimes two. There are five of us, so it can pile up quickly.
Side Note: Another really nice thing about using thriftstores or garage sales….there’s no sentimental value there. So if it breaks or get’s boring, so what? It’s cheaper and the variety never ends. Most thriftstores update their stock daily. Get there early. Flea Markets and Garage Sales fall into this category as well. However, watch it with flea markets. Know your stuff. It’s easy to get ripped off. That antique, may not be an antique. So don’t overpay. Do your research.
Things to do :
Pick up the clothes, put them in the laundry baskets.
Pick up the overall clutter.
The dishes…don’t let those sit all night. They just pile up and get harder to clean.
Toilets! YES! DAILY! Especially if you have boys! Wipe off that pee!
Remove hair and anything else that may be growing in the tub.
Wipe up spills…doesn’t take long for mold to form in a bathroom.
Make the beds.
Clean out the pet dishes. Don’t make them drink out of dirty dishes. USE soap and CLEAN them.
Mop…this can go every 2-5 depending on how many kids and pets you have.
Dust the vent fans in the bathroom. I like to remove them and use a vacuum extension on the fan blades.
Baseboards…lots of icky stuff lands there.
Furnace filters….that’s an important one.
Foam, vacuum or wipe off your couch, depending on fabric or leather fabric preference.
Pull out everything and wipe down cupboard shelves. Discard what you don’t use.
Wipe off light switches and glass covers.
Wipe off doors…Ever looked at the back of your bathroom door?
Scrub tubs and showers.
Windows…ahhhh windows. We do this every spring….so not fun, but I’m always relieved when it’s done.
Mop or Steam the bathroom and kitchen floors.
Pull out the tv…see all the dust in those vents? The brush extension on the vacuum is great for that.
Pull out the fridge, stove , washer and dryer….vacuum and scrub..it can get pretty nasty under there….
Honestly, I could go on for ages…..the important thing is, start with what you see. Go large to small. Not the other way around. I’ve seen that fail…a person can spend hours working on a box. Clear the big stuff first. Then when you can focus, because you can now see the floor, you’ll have a better mindset to tackle one thing at a time. Maybe a closet. But don’t over think it. Remember the new hobby is ‘playing clean-up’ and building a ‘masterpiece’. Are you a Monet? A Picasso? Or maybe a poet….Once your pages are blank…you decide the prose….so who are you going to be today?