I am not an organized person by nature. I didn’t grow up in an organized house. I didn’t *have* an organized home as a young adult. This is something I wanted to change when husband and I bought our house.
Four years later and I had figured out how to decorate on a budget but every time we had guests coming, I still found myself rushing to hide all the clutter. When Babe was born and we decided to dedicate space for a play room I decided to put my foot down and figure out how to keep at least this one room clean. And I did it. I can clean the playroom in five minutes flat without having to hide any clutter. Now that I’ve figured it out, I can clean any room in five minutes and I can tell you how to do it too!
It’s actually really simple. It’s so simple that it almost seems like it can’t work…but it does.
Find A Place
There is a saying “a place for everything and everything in it’s place.” Some might call this statement a platitude but I’ve found it to be helpful on my quest to becoming an organized person. This statement is actually the crux of my entire cleaning philosophy.
Every single thing in the playroom has one single home where it belongs. You can’t get to your destination without knowing the directions and you can’t out something away without knowing where it belongs. There is not a single toy, instrument, or book in the playroom that does not have a its’ own singular home. Each item has just one place where it belongs.
But this cleaning motto is not just about physical things, it’s also about behavior. The *only* thing we do in the playroom is play. We don’t sort junk mail or fold laundry or assemble crafts. Mail is sorted in the kitchen. Laundry is folded in the bedroom. Crafts are assembled in the craft room. Each activity has its’ own place as well and that means that I never need to put something away in a room other than where it was found.
Do It Now
There’s something that will never have a place and that’s dirt. If something spills on the floor I clean it up immediately otherwise it will get sticky and gross. Sticky and gross is much harder to clean than a fresh spill. When I see dirt I stop what I’m doing and clean it right away.
Do It Often
I clean all day long. I clean every few minutes. I spend most of Babe’s waking hours sitting on the floor and playing or reading with her. She’s a baby so when she decides to play with a different toy, she just drops the last one on the ground. When she turns to the next toy, I scoop the last toy up and pop it back into it’s place. Granted, if I walk out of the room for five minutes, I will return to find that she has pulled out every toy and book we own. The old me would have slumped down and wallowed in the disorder. The new me calmly spends the next five minutes putting everything away and, voila, the room is clean again.
I tagged this post in parenting because kids learn by seeing. Being raised in a disorganized house, that was all I knew. Having a disorganized house doesn’t make someone a bad parent, but it does make it likely that any kids who grow up in that house will also be disorganized. I’m working on modeling this behavior for Babe so that, hopefully, living in an organized home will be all she knows.
Do you actively try to model behavior for your kids that is different from behavior you learned from your parents or are you naturally organized? What are your tips for keeping your house clean?