Have you recognized a theme for this week of March MAIDness?
There is a reason why – your house would likely look clean if it was not cluttered. Even if the floor had not been vacuumed in a little too long, or there was a little dust on the cabinets and light fixtures; if there were not a bunch of stacks of clutter and random stuff sitting all over the place, you could take a breath and think. “This is not that bad.”
Additionally, it would be a lot easier to clean (no brainer, right?).
Yesterday we talked about clutter fixtures. Today is about their close cousin clutter zones.
Everybody has them, even the neat freaks out there. The reason everybody has them is because we, as a society collect WAY too much stuff. We are constantly adding to our already vast collection of stuff. We go to the grocery store at least once a week to add to our collection of food. We go to the mailbox, just to bring in more paper for our paper collection. We take perfectly good flowers out of the ground, and bring them indoors, to eventually add to our trash collection. We purchase clothes, shoes, jewelry, and purses to add to our collection of apparel. We purchase books, magazines, and movies (most of which we will likely only use once) and put them in shelves and call that an entertainment collection.
But it is not the collections that are necessarily the problem. If they are organized and managed well, they can be quite clean and give us lots of joy or meaning, depending on the collection (please don’t love your trash collection). The problem is we like to carry quite a bit of our stuff around with us, depending on the day and the mood. We aren’t happy with it being in the same place all the time, so we take it for walks and leave it in a new place, The new place we leave our stuff is likely a clutter zone.
Your clutter zone could be the place where you enter your home and put all the things you collected during the day: the receipts, keys, cell phones, change, mail, small grocery items, cups, hair clips, scarves… Another clutter zone could be your bathroom counter. As you get ready for the morning, are you diligent to put each and every item back in its place? More than likely, this is a place where various hygiene items hang out during the day and generally create clutter.
Are you beginning to get visions of your clutter zone in your home?
In our home, we have a few clutter zones, but the one that gets the most love is our kitchen counter. I don’t even want to share with you how much junk is on that counter right now. We use the counter/island for a lot of things throughout the day, so it gets a lot of use. But the evidence of our use is often strewn all over.
And it is a true clutter zone because it generates more clutter. You know the phrase “create clutter” I used a little bit earlier. It is not a misnomer. Clutter creates clutter. We see a stack of papers, we add to it. We see dirty dishes, we add to them instead of washing them. We see a bunch of stuff lying around and we add to it, thinking we will get to it all later.
So, what would our homes look like if we controlled the clutter chaos and zipped through the clutter zones, clearing away all the unnecessary? Probably a lot more calming, a lot more breathable.
Ok, but how? Here are some ideas:
Identify the problem. Clutter zones can often be clutter fixtures, so open your eyes and make sure you see what needs to be cleaned. Also, think about your day, your routine when you come into your home, after dinner, before bed. Are the places you frequent during those times of day places where clutter forms?
Do a very quick clean-up. The items in your clutter zone likely have a real home and it is not the kitchen counter. Go through your clutter zone, putting items where they belong. Return them to their proper collections. This will get you through most of your clutter.
Create homes for the homeless. Every once in a while, you will bring something new into your home that just doesn’t have a spot yet. That item(s) is likely to be sitting in a clutter zone right now. In this case, identify a place for your item (hint: sometimes it does not need to sleep at your house) and put it in its place.
Think of a solution to the clutter problem. Do you need to have a discussion with the other members of your household about putting items in their places? Do you need to come up with homes for your everyday items (mail, keys, etc.)? Do you need to stop buying more stuff until you use the stuff you have? Put some thought into how you could control the stuff in your home. You will be more mindful of the things you bring home from the store, the process for putting stuff away, and the ways you can streamline your routines.
Make it routine. Do these steps on a regular basis; once a day, twice a week, something routine. Don’t fool yourself into thinking your clutter zone will be clutter free forever, if you just follow these steps. It is the nature of our lives to have stuff to put away, but it is how we manage the stuff we have that makes us feel less stressed, more clean. Staying on top of the clutter problem is how we prevent clutter fixtures from forming.
So, today’s challenge is to identify one of your clutter zones and get it cleaned up. I am also challenging myself to keep mine maintained through the weekend. When Sunday night comes, I want a clean kitchen counter. Won’t that be a lovely way to start the week?
Have a great weekend!
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