The more organised you become, the easier life is. You don’t need to spend your life cleaning to have a tidy home.
Yep, that is true. Hard to believe, but it is the truth. The more organised you become, the easier life is. But the flip side is, the more organised you become, the easier it is to forget how difficult everyday tasks can be before becoming organised. Sounds strange, but true.
When I first started out on my organising journey, I read an article focused on the topic of how to become more organised in the kitchen. What struck a chord with me, was that the author had suggested to wipe the kitchen sink before you wash the dishes every time. I’m like, “What? What are you talking about? It’s hard enough to wash the dishes, to actually find the sink, let alone wipe the sink beforehand. Where am I gonna put all the dirty dishes that are already in the sink and on the kitchen bench, if I have to wipe the sink first? How is this possible?”
I just didn’t understand it, I didn’t comprehend it. It was clear that the article was written by a naturally organised person who just didn’t understand what it was like to be disorganised.
But the more organised I have become, the simpler everyday cleaning and home maintenance tasks have become, the more I understand.
A few years back, I was helping my sister prepare for a rental inspection. She had a whole range of items from plants, to elastic bands and bread tags and a few containers and vases lined up on the window behind the sink in the kitchen. Exactly what it looks like the kitchen in the family home that my sister and I grew up in, so it isn’t foreign to me. I’ve grown up surrounded by clutter. My sister asked me to wipe the window sill and I stood there dumbfounded and thought “How would it be possible to wipe when it was covered in things?”
How quickly things had changed. All of my life growing up as a child and into young adulthood, it hadn’t bothered me. I had simply picked up each item on the window sill to wipe underneath and return it to where it was. Quick and easy. Or so I thought.
But after living in a clutter-free home with nothing on the window sill; except for the odd pant or glass jar for the best part of 10 years, I had forgotten how long and difficult it can be to clean a home that was full of clutter. The whole experience was overwhelming and really time consuming, and the end result didn’t reflect the effort involved. The window sill, although dirt free, looked untidy. Really unsatisfying – particularly, as I knew that I could have cleaned my own clutter-free window sill so that is was sparkling clean in less than a minute, maybe 5 minutes if I wanted to be really pedantic and get the hand vacuum out and remove of the dust that gathers in the window frame. There is such a huge disparity.
So, here I am, almost 20 years down the track, teaching other people to be organised. I hold with me those thoughts of cleaning the kitchen with my sister and can emphasise with them, but remind my clients that the more organised that you become, the easier life is.
I’ve come from living within an untidy and cluttered home to a home that is tidy and organised specifically for my family’s needs. My home is far from perfect. I have 3 children and a dog which makes the concept of perfection impossible, at least for me. But my family and I know where everything in our home can be found.
Having self-taught myself how to be more organised, I can now understand. I understand how it is possible to wipe the sink first prior to doing the dishes. And I understand, that it doesn’t actually take a lot more time to have a tidy home providing that my family is consistent with our maintenance and daily tidying routines. Now, if I choose to (and I often do – so that I have nice clean hot water) I can wipe the sink before I wash the dishes. How, you ask?
10 to 15 minutes a day is all it takes
My family of 5 is now at a point where tidying up the kitchen in the evenings as a team only takes about 10 – 15 minutes out of our day. That includes unstacking/stacking the dishwasher; hand washing the dishes that don’t go in the dishwasher; wiping the dining table, stovetop and kitchen bench, and sweeping/vacuuming the floor. Taking this short amount of time to do this every day results in a nice, clean kitchen; ready for the next day.
But at the time of reading the article, I just didn’t understand how it could be true. My mother ingrained into me as a child that she didn’t want to spend her life cleaning. This was something that I took with me into young adulthood, and my brother and sister still hold today. I want to spend my time with my children. I want to spend my time with my family and doing things I enjoy. Her lived experience taught her that she needed to spend all day cleaning to have a clean home. And to clean the house so that the floor, bench-top and tables were tidy, meant that she did need to clean all day. Why? because her cleaning and tidying routine was irregular.
Importance of a regular routine
What my mum didn’t realise, and nor did I until I was a young adult, was that with some simple organising systems and some short focus periods of cleaning each day for 10 minutes or so, it doesn’t take much at all to keep a tidy house. We also then add a deep clean to the mix each fortnight.
I don’t have an immaculate showroom house – and I don’t want one either. If I wanted my house to be immaculate and showroom-perfect – as if no one lived in my home – then I probably would need to spend all day cleaning. But that is not what I want. I have a home with three children; five people living comfortably. It’s organised.
If you would like some help to establish some regular routines or systems for your home, please feel free to contact me or if you want some inspiration to become more organised for an easier life, you might find this other blog of mine helpful: 4 timesaver tips for maintaining an organised home.