No child has ever said ‘I want to grow up to be a cost accountant’ or ‘I want to grow up to be a housekeeper’. Let’s face it, as nice as it is to live in a tidy, well-organized house, it’s not all that much fun creating one or keeping it that way. Perhaps the best you can hope for is a plan for housekeeping that will make being tidy and organized less of a chore.
There are actually just a few basics to organizing your home.
Get yourself organized before attempting to organize your house
You will never be able to face the task of organizing your home if you don’t have yourself organized. You need a plan.
a) Survey your daily schedule to see where you can get some time to do small tasks. You might have five minutes before you get the kids out of bed, feed them, and send them off to school to collect the dirty laundry, throw it in the washing machine, and get it started. Don’t let dishes pile up in the sink. It takes only a minute to put them right in the dishwasher.
b) Chart out your day, indicating what is supposed to happen when.
c) Enlist the family in helping you work the plan. The reward is free time for everyone on the weekend for enjoyable activities.
The more stuff you have, the more clutter you’re likely to have, and the more difficult your organizing task. How did all that stuff accumulate?
a) Are you a hoarder who picks up ‘bargains’ at garage sales because ‘they might come in handy someday?’ It may be in a garage sale to begin with because its owner is cutting the clutter in her house. Whatever it is, if you’ll ever need it, it will be available to purchase somewhere.
b) The procrastinator’s motto, when it comes to getting rid of clutter, is ‘Ma’ana!’ Putting off household projects till tomorrow drags down each new day with yesterday’s unfinished business. Do it now! Just resolve to start the job – no more than start ‘ and that will invariably carry you uninterrupted right into the job itself.
c) If you’re a perfectionist, that clutter won’t get eliminated until you know you have the time and the plan to do a flawless job. Consider the 20-80 rule: 20% of every job takes care of 80% of the problem, while fixing the remaining 20% eats up 80% of the job. Do only the important 20% of the job now. Later, you can do the other 80% perfectly, if you want.
d) Sentimental about your clutter? Sentimentalists keep every memento – report cards, souvenirs from long-forgotten trips, etc. Reduce the mass of mementos to the most important and the most portable ones. A good way to decide whether to keep a marginal memento is to ask yourself, “When I’m no longer alive and kicking, will there be anyone who would actually want to save this stuff?” If the answer is yes, sent it to them; if no, dump it.
Work smart and contract out at least some of the work
Cleaning and organizing is time-consuming, so save hours wherever you can to make the job less taxing.
a) Set up a time-saving online bill payer system with your bank – some bills can even be paid automatically.
b) Order merchandise over the Web rather than driving to a store, searching for a parking space, then window shopping.
c) Phone in your grocery order and have it delivered.
d) Have a local Laundromat pick up, do, and deliver your laundry.
e) Hire a cleaning service to come in every other week.
You will be amazed at the time you’ll have available to handle other housekeeping chores!