A Place for Everything
I love living in a clean house. There’s something freeing about having wide open spaces with everything in its place. We all ensure that our homes are clean before we entertain or have guests over, but in the in-between times it’s often difficult for us to keep our houses completely clear of clutter. It just seems like cleaning ends up ranking pretty low on our to do lists during the week. One strategy that I’ve found to be particularly effective for cleaning is instead of setting things down, I put them away.
Clutter starts gradually and then multiplies rapidly. This can be easily seen in the kitchen. One dish in the sink becomes four dishes, becomes 12 dishes, becomes dishes overflowing in the sink, on the counters, and everywhere else. The dishwasher can be completely empty, but if there’s one dish in the sink, it acts like a magnet. Washing off a dish and putting it in the dishwasher only takes a few seconds, and that small step can help to ensure that your sink remains empty.
That’s the main point of this strategy. A few seconds here and a few seconds there prevents us from taking several hours clearing all the messes that we've made. Like the kitchen sink, the dining room table seems also to quickly fall victim to clutter. In our home, the front door leads right into the dining room table, so mail, purchases, and anything else that we happen to be carrying when we walk through the door ends up on the table. Instead of setting and forgetting, we’re much better served by processing the mail, putting away purchases, and keeping the table open for eating food.
Of course, sometimes you’re really in a hurry and don’t have time to take care of something right away. The way to handle those types of situation is to have a little bit of time set aside in the evening and do a quick clean-up. Plan no more than 15 minutes to get this clean-up done and then you’ll be all set for the morning.
Taking a few extra seconds in the moment can save you a big chunk of time later. That’s not only at the heart of this cleaning strategy, but it’s a fact that we all know to be true. So do yourself a favor and put things away instead of setting them down.