I love to find effective solutions to keep me on track with my goal of living a simple and beautiful everyday life. I enjoy a neat, orderly and clean home but I don't want to feel like I can't relax or that I have to spend every spare minute tidying up.
Organising experts such as Peter Walsh and others always talk about keeping horizontal surfaces clear. Basically, once you have lost control of a horizontal surface, you've lost control of your home. Okay, that may sound a bit dramatic, but think of the difference it makes if you don't do anything more than clear off all tabletops, kitchen and bathroom counters and the floor, putting away anything that shouldn't be there. Your home is instantly transformed!
It seems like it would be an easy thing to keep all tabletops, desks, kitchen counter and dressers clear on a daily basis only leaving on them what I want there, and it is. I don't have to think 'the whole house needs tidying', I only need to tidy off the main surfaces and the whole room looks better.
Our dining table is right inside our front entrance so it's the first thing you see when you arrive home. It's so nice to have a tidy tabletop with a vase of flowers and our placemats and coasters. When I don't do this, the table can have on it headphones, iphone cables, magazines and newspapers, items to take to work... it's an endless list.
The same with our coffee table, it looks really nice with my tableaux of a set of trays on top of a decorative cloth, two vintage Penguin books stacked with a metal fleur de lys on top, a candle and my beloved Italian wooden miniature globe. If I don't clear it each night we will have salt and pepper grinders, bits of salt and pepper scattered all over, crumpled napkins, a nail file, handcream...
My home office desk is the same. When I come in to write, it's such a pleasure to have only my computer screen and keyboard, the lamp, pen holder and notepaper. At other times, notebooks and notes can build up, blank cds, iphone or Kindle cables, a tea cup or glass. I have a drawer for the cables and I always know where to find them (I keep my noise-cancelling headphones in there too), and the notebooks either are stacked neatly if I'm using them or are put where I find them handy. They actually move around a lot - by my bed for journalling, in my office, in my bag to take to work.
My dresser upstairs with my makeup on top is another area that it's nice to keep clear and move away everything that is 'temporary' (and can end up sitting there for weeks).
There are many benefits to doing this daily, and as I notice items where they shouldn't be:
- Daily tidies means nothing will get out of hand
- It will bring me peace of mind
- It looks nicer
- It will flow into other areas of my life, showing areas I have been tolerating and am choosing not to address
- I will know where to find things
- Nothing will get forgotten or out of date (such as a letter that needs something doing by a certain time)
- I will be showing care and appreciation for my home
- It's a step in the direction of my ideal self
- I am treating my home exactly as I would if it was my dream home in the country
- It's a good habit to cultivate
- It will be nice for my husband as well
- He will probably do the same (it's usually me that leaves stuff lying around though)
- It won't be embarrassing if someone pops around and our dining table is a mess of stuff
Do your surfaces stay clutter-free for long? Are you constantly fighting a losing battle? Looking around right now, what can you see that shouldn't be there? Extra points for the funniest/strangest item!
I'll go first - I can see a toy mouse with the stuffing come out of it near our dining table on the carpet. I am constantly putting the cat toys back into their basket because our girls love fishing them out and playing with them. The craziest thing about this mouse toy though, is that I didn't buy it. One of our cats brought it home one day so they must have stolen it from another cat's house. I checked with the neighbour closest to us and it wasn't theirs... kleptocat!