Today’s post is by one of my favourite Aussie bloggers – Bron from Maxabella Loves. Go check out her blog – she writes from the heart with great insights – she is someone who I think just “gets it”. I am currently away camping with the kids but leave some comment love and I will reply as soon as possible.
Clutter and I are not friends. We are barely on speaking terms. Don’t worry, I am in no way shape or form one of those cold, impersonal ‘minimalist’ types*. My home is quote-unquote capital letters ‘Lived-In’. I love pretty ‘just because I like it’ things and my addiction to books and magazines is threatening to take over the known world; but I go psycho every now and then and abolish everything (except the books and magazines) because clutter is not my friend.
Forget the annoyance of having more stuff to clean, clutter messes up your mind.
I need to have many, many completely clear horizontal surfaces in my life or I cannot function as a working mother of three. I need space to fold clothes without having to move a mountain of clothes to find space to fold. I need space to write school notes without having to move a tree worth of school notes to write. I need areas to lay out our life for the week ahead without having to rethink the week that was. And when my life feels utterly chaotic and my brain is about to explode with all the stuff that is in it, I like to saunter over and open my Empty Drawer and just breathe in the emptiness. What? You don’t have an Empty Drawer at your place? You need to get one. That Empty Draw is a pause in my life that says, yes, you are in control and yes, you do have enough storage no matter what you might think – just look at this entirely Empty Drawer. Plus, of course, every day I secretly fill that Empty Drawer with my dreams. Or not, but I could if I wanted to, right?
Now, Empty Drawers aside, in order to stay on top of clutter, you have to be vigilant and purposeful. Here are five things I do at my place that just might work at yours:
1.Have a tray.
Yes, a bit corporately, but the tray at my place is on the end of the kitchen bench and it’s where I dump all the Incoming Stuff that I don’t want to have to deal with right now. Incoming Stuff has the capability of taking over my entire kitchen in seconds if I don’t contain it. It all goes in the tray and then at the end of (most) days (okay, every now and then) it gets dealt with.
2.Have 4 clipboards hanging on your wall
Right near the tray, on the wall behind the kitchen door, I have four clipboards. They are nice, vintage clipboards but any old clipboard or even just a clip could do the job. The clipboards are labelled:
- To Pay
- To Action
- To File
- To Keep
The To Pay stuff is my husbie’s clipboard. He’s the bill payer so I just clip anything payable onto that board and he comes along and takes them and pays them.
The To Action stuff is stuff that I need to do something with that doesn’t involve money. Make a dentist appointment, fill out an application, RSVP a birthday.
The To File clipboard isn’t used as much as you’d think. Most paperwork I try to do online. But tax receipts, warranties, particularly great kids’ artwork that I pluck from the avalanche of kids’ artwork and the like get put here to go into the big filing cabinet from time to time.
To Keep is mostly things I think I really want to read but haven’t got time for right now. I go through it every other week and mostly throw those life-changing articles straight in the bin.
3.More on kids’ artwork
If you want to stay on top of Mount Artwork have to be ruthless every.single.day. And better than that, at the end of each year you need to go back to your stash from the year before and pick out your top 5 pieces to keep forever and recycle the rest.
4.Don’t buy clutter in the first place
Those pretty little trinkets and ornaments and that new pair of black pants when you already own five pairs of black pants. Don’t buy them. Oh, and donate at least three of the five pairs of black pants you already own to charidee.
5.Tuck it up at night
I can’t sit down to relax in the evening until all the stuff hanging about the place has been tucked into its real bed for the night. The hairclips, the books, the toys, the school bags, the random shoe, the jumper, the… oh, you know, the STUFF. It all gets put away at the end of every single day.** If you don’t, all that stuff breeds overnight and believe me, it likes it on top and you always, always regret it in the morning.
Are you on speaking terms with clutter?
How do you stay on, cough, top of it?
* With respect to all cold, impersonal minimalists out there, of course.
** The third drawer down is very useful here.
From Deb: I hope you can take on board some of these tactics. I love clipboards (and whiteboards – drool!) and use two for “To Pay” and “To Action” (and a 3rd for journaling). I am going to work harder at her 5th idea “tuck it up at night”. I am usually so tired by the time the kids go to bed that many days I ignore all the crafts and bits that have been left out. I used to do 15-20 minutes a night of tidying up – am definitely getting back on that horse!
Find your simple,
image credit (and project to “fancify” your clipboards)