Grab a pen and paper and jot down some of these pointers on keeping your home in order from Jessica Kane, a writer of all things organized. This is from my guest post series on decluttering. Enjoy!
Five Things You Can Do to Keep Your House in Order
You need to have a plan if you want to keep your house in order. Just like the rest of the Universe, your house will descend into chaos without proper attention. Here are five concepts to apply:
Routine Times for Cleaning and Straightening
You need to have a specific routine that schedules you or someone you hire to put things away, put the cushions back on the couch, re-align the coffee table books and to sweep and dust. The schedule should also include actual cleaning of the kitchen, bathrooms and perhaps the mudroom, not only to reduce chaos but also to keep your house sanitary. It is not a good idea to base the “schedule” on the day before the next visit of your in-laws or friends. It is better to base it on the calendar. If you have small children, you will need to straighten more often and you will need to be satisfied with some chaos. Any true friend or in-law will understand.
Have a Place for Everything
If you do not have a place for everything, then by definition, you can not put everything away. There are two ways to solve this (the first may not be viable):
1. Acquire or make a storage place for everything, or
2. do not acquire things you do not have room for.
Does it really make sense to have so much stuff that you rent a storage unit to hold the excess? It may make sense for a short period of time in which you are having a major transition (such as merging two households) but more than a year is suspect. Actually, it might make sense if you collect anvils, treadle sewing machines or Hemi V8 engines.
Keep Everything in its Place
If you have followed the “Have a Place for Everything” concept, you have won half the battle. The second half of the battle is to keep everything in its place, except, of course, when you are using it. Once you let objects wander from their assigned homes they tend to forget where they belong and squatters sometimes take over. This can be a problem if you start 16 projects and finish three. Remember- multi-tasking is for computers, not people.
Do not Overstock nor Keep String to Short to Keep
Unless you are running a boarding house with 10 bathrooms, you probably do not need to stock 1000 rolls of toilet paper. Sales are tempting, but keeping a supply of anything you expect to consume in a quantity that lasts more than a month may be penny wise and dollar foolish.
Now consider your collection of rubber bands. If you subscribe to a newspaper and you get enough mail so that it is rubber-banded each day by the end of the year, you may have collected over 600 rubber bands. What precisely are you planning to do with all of them? A collection of bakery bag clips is equally useless.
Do not Treat every (semi-) Flat Space as Storage
Flat spaces are the bane of existence. They attract things. Most flat spaces have other uses, like a place to eat from, a place to prepare meals on, a place to put your laptop and a place to sleep upon. If each day you transfer stuff from the desk to the bed and each night you transfer the same stuff from the bed to the desk, sure you are getting exercise, but you also have a found yourself a bit of a problem.