When It Comes to Keeping the Home Clutter-Free and Organized, the Entire Family Has To Be On Board!
The other day, as I was driving away from a client’s home, I got to thinking about how decluttering and staying organized is similar to losing weight and keeping the weight off. It’s all about healthy habits and lifestyle. You can put in all of the hard work with exercising and eating well, but if you don’t maintain your efforts after you have reached your goal weight, the pounds will slowly begin to creep back on and you’ll be back where you started.
The same is true for organizing a home. My clients and I put in a lot of time and effort in going through boxes and drawers, closets and cabinets filled with items and helping the house to “trim down.” But, once the home is organized and looks amazing, if everyone who lives there doesn’t do his or her part to keep it that way, the clutter will begin to pile up again and the organized system will be gone. And, it’s simply not fair to expect one person to do all the work!
Have a Family Meeting
This is very important. Communication is everything. Really try and have a serious conversation with your family about how much it means to you to live in a clutter-free, clean, and organized home. It matters. Try and make an effort not to yell, curse or fight with anyone. Speak calmly and politely. You are communicating with your family how you feel.
The Importance of Teamwork
Wouldn’t life at home be so much better and easier if everybody simply did their part to help out? Wouldn’t that be great?
If you are struggling with this issue yourself, please know, you are not alone. Believe me, all of my clients go through this. As a mom of two teenagers, I go through it myself. And I’m a Professional Organizer! I get it, I really do. At your family meeting, explain that everybody in the home needs to work together. You all live there. It’s your home together. You all need to take pride in your home and how you live.
You are also asking that everybody try and show consideration for others. In the common areas that everybody uses, like the kitchen and bathroom, you are asking that they leave it clean for the next person coming in.
Treat Everything Like Your Toothbrush!
When you are done brushing your teeth, you put your toothbrush back where it lives, right? People rarely lose their toothbrushes.
The same should go for everything else in your home. After you use something and you’re done with it, simply put it back in its proper home, where it lives! It really is that simple.
Teach them the “3 Golden Rules” in STAYING organized:
Rule 1. Home for every item
Rule 2. Like with Like
Rule 3. One In, One Out
Follow these simple, easy rules and you really will be golden. This is how you stay on track.
Rule 1: This means that every single item in your home, has to have a home. Where do things live? Make it a game even- for yourself and if you have kids. After all, children learn through play! Example: “This hairbrush is lost. It doesn’t want to live on the dining room table. It wants to find its way home, back to the bathroom.” Put the hairbrush back in the bathroom. That is Rule 1.
But, that hairbrush misses its family! It wants to live with its brothers and sisters, the comb and hair ties. Or maybe the hairspray and blow dryer. Whatever the “category” is. Don’t just throw that hairbrush in with the toothbrush and tooth paste. That is not following the “like with like” rule.
Similar items live with similar items. That way, when you are looking for something, you will know where to find it. No mixing your categories. No mish-mosh. You want to find what you need, when you need it. That’s the whole point. That is Rule 2.
“One In, One Out” works wonders in keeping clutter under control. Remember, “your stuff has to fit your space!” If things keep coming into the home but things never leave the home, you are going to be buried with too much stuff. Example: Next time you buy yourself a new pair of sneakers, donate your old pair. Or two! That is Rule 3.
Plus, feel good about donating! It is very important to teach our children all these rules. These are LIFE SKILLS.
A Made Bed and a Clean Kitchen Sink Matter
Two of the healthiest habits you can do for keeping your home looking clean and organized: Make your bed every morning and make sure there are no dirty dishes in the sink when you leave your house for the day. Everybody in the home has to do this. Everybody has to do their part. Children too! Trust me, the sooner your child learns to make their own bed and helps with dishes, the better. Make these two habits part of your everyday routine.
Walking into a bedroom where the bed is made and a kitchen where the sink is clean, you just instantly feel better. You breathe easier. Makes such a huge difference.
Think of making your bed each day like drinking a glass of water in the morning. Healthiest way to start your day!
Finally, let everyone know that there will be consequences for not doing their share. In my home, I find that an afternoon or two without a smartphone or video games will get my kids back in line and cleaning up their messes. You have to figure out a consequence that works for you.
While you can’t necessarily force others to care, you can definitely enforce your new decluttering and organizing policy. After all, you’ve worked hard to lose the “house weight” and you can and will- keep it off. You can do it. I know you and your family can!
Rachel Winter, Founder and Owner
Happy Home Organizers, LLC
Life is Happier… when your home is organized!
2016-2017 NAPO-AZ Membership Director
2015-2016 NAPO-AZ Marketing Director