Everyone who has ever entered my home unannounced is surprised at how neat and tidy it alway looks. Of course I see the stray bills, dog toys, dust bunnies, and dishes but no one else seems to notice what I consider a mess 🙂
Fortunately, I’ve got some clear strategies that help me stay organized and neat. They are real life solutions that help you pick up and put away things fast.
Fundamentally the quote from Benjamin Franklin says it all:
A place for everything, and everything in its place
The Core Causes of a Messy House
- Papers / Mail
One rule I have and this is a must! This is a 5 minute process that only takes 15 minutes a day:
Pick up everything before I leave a room, go to bed, and before I leave the house.
It sounds SO simple right? At the fundamental core, clean up as you go and then the task isn’t so overwhelming. Your home will be neat and tidy, with very little effort. To let it all pile up creates an overwhelming task – AVOID IT!
Papers / Mail / Keys / Purse
This one I think gets all of us! We are constantly bringing paperwork, bills, information, magazines, etc into the house.
Papers and MailSo I have a couple of ways to combat that issue. I sort the mail and divide it into a few piles:
- Junk to recycle
- Things to file
- Important or for later
Junk to Recycle
Just do this. Pull it out of your mail pile and into the recycling bin it goes. Usually I do this IN the garage before I even enter my home.
Man I get a lot of catalogs from all of my online shopping! They have to be dealt with and I divide them into two categories:
- I’ll never read it so recycle
- I LOVE this catalog so it gets stored under my coffee table for perusal (usually Sunday mornings while drinking coffee)
Having an extra large basket under my coffee table has been great for not only catalogs, but books and magazines plus Mick’s grooming brushes because I usually groom him on the sofa.
Bills / Keys / Purse
An area that I stay on top of constantly. I put the bills in a pile and after I am done sorting the mail I pay everything online right away.
If it’s something like a big tax bill, that gets a reminder in my calendar to follow-up and goes into “This is for later” box sitting on the counter in the laundry room. This box I sort through once to twice a month to dig out anything important.
Things to File
This was an area that got WAY out of control in my life. Stuff ended up in piles without any rhyme or reason.
After being really frustrated with my lack of a system, I added hanging file rails to two drawers in my office, ordered some pretty folders, and spent an evening getting organized by putting all important paper work into a folder.
If you want to see this project CLICK HERE.
Now, as those envelopes come with the mark “Important Tax Documents” they go straight into the “2017 Tax” file folder I created for myself. It’s been a great system that I love! A labeler and pretty folders are my friend!
Toys and Video Games
So these days, my toy issue is left to Mick the dog’s toys 🙂 This honestly I could have written about in detail about 10 years ago, when I designed a whole built-in system for toys in my former home.
It’s an entire subject I’ll leave for the mommy bloggers, with young kids, and not a mom like me who is an empty nester.
My son’s “toys” are now video games and components that I keep organized in drawers and baskets in a media center.
My dog Mick’s toys I keep neat and put away in a basket hidden behind a chair in my family room.
If only he would pick up his toys before bedtime like I do!
Anyway – the dog thinks he has a special hiding place and I don’t see his mess. It’s a win / win situation for both of us.
Clothes & Laundry
This one can be tough and I am not perfect on this front, but do try. There are some nights that I am just so beat I throw my clothes on the side of the bathtub and deal with them in the morning. For the most part, I follow these principles:
- Not dirty, hang it up or fold it and put in the closet/drawer.
- Dirty, I have a handy 3 section laundry hamper hidden in my linen closet for towels & sheets, dark, and white clothes.
- Pajamas I wear a few days and they get stored during the day in a little ottoman in my bathroom.
This laundry hamper is amazing! I took off the wheels to put it in my linen closet. Then it doesn’t take up precious clothing closet space and I can close the door to keep it hidden.
What I especially love is you pull the bags right up and take them to the washing machine. It couldn’t be an easier system!
Here is a similar ottoman to what I use for my pajamas. Plus I sit on it to get dressed and to put on lotion.
I MAKE MY BED EVERY DAY! NO MATTER WHAT!
Everyone has their messy character flaws and mine happens to be I kick off my shoes at the family room coffee table and leave them there for others to trip over. My parents, son, and ex-husband would all say this is an area that needs improvement with me!
Plus I’ve installed a moveable shelving closest system to adjust to any change I want to make in order to keep my closet organized. If you are interested in the closet system, CLICK HERE.
That’s how I keep my shoes under control by putting them in those neat clear shoe boxes. Then I have a shelf for shoes I wear more often like sneakers and flip-flops. The little booties I wear the most and keep those lined up on the floor. Remember the Benjamin Franklin motto?
If I don’t pick up my shoes before I go to bed, I pick them up in the morning before I leave.
Now let’s get real. Do NOT leave your dishes dirty in the sink overnight. I’ll give you three reasons why:
You’ll attract them to the buffet overnight and that is just gross. I am currently battling ants, after my son was here for a visit and left food out overnight. Lovely.
Ways to cope and I KNOW how tired you feel, but really it just takes minutes.
- Use the wand filled with dish detergent and wash them before you go to bed or before you leave the house
- Put dishes in the dishwasher as soon as you are finished eating
If you get ants, this Terro Bait stuff is AMAZING! Eat up little ants…
Think about it. With some simple storage solutions and picking up for 5 minutes a few times a day, your house will look super neat and tidy! You will be ready for visitors at any time.
I go the extra mile and throw my blanket I use while watching TV into a basket before bed and fluff the pillows on the sofa. OK call my OCD, but every morning when I wake up I start my day with a neat home and clear head ready for what the day brings!
Hopefully, I’ve stimulated a latent clean freak inside of you! Or inspired you to find some simple solutions of your own to make picking up and cleaning up a much easier process.