If you liked our last set of tips for keeping your home tidy between weekly cleanings, here are five more focused on optimizing the storage spaces in your home and making it much easier to keep your home tidy on a regular basis.
• Purge, purge, purge. Untidy homes-or homes that always seem to descend rather quickly from being picked up back into chaos-have the common denominator of overfull storage locations. And many of the things occupying those storage locations have outlived their usefulness to the household. Closets full of shoes and jackets that are either too small or worn out. Cabinets full of foods past their usable dates. Medicine chests full of expired prescriptions. Let's not even talk about what is stored in the basements and attics. Regular and merciless purging forms the foundation of every consistently tidy home.
• Think short-burst organization. Everyone has had days when they felt inspired to start purging and organizing their storage spaces. Ten hours, 17 bursting trash bags, and an aching back later, they wonder what could have possibly come over them, which tends to result in long stretches between bouts of purging and organization. Try this instead: Make a list of all the storage locations in your home. Give yourself the small and extremely manageable goal of purging and organizing just 1-2 locations-a single drawer, a portion of a closet, an old file box from the basement-per week. Another good strategy: Plan larger purge and organization activities to fall just before gift-giving holidays and birthdays to make plenty of room for new things to be assigned permanent locations for where they belong.
• Donate. If you can't bring yourself to throw old things away or you have a habit of packing things up to be donated, then sticking the bags and boxes in the basement because you don't have the time or inclination to haul them out, commit to spending a few hours on the Internet researching all of the wonderful organizations that will gladly come to your house to haul your junk away for you. All you have to do is call, schedule a pickup time, and have the items packed and ready to go by the morning of the scheduled pick up date. Pre-scheduling is a great motivator to purge and organize. What is more, most organizations that pick up will leave receipts you can use to claim deductions on your tax returns.
• Become a box collector. See an empty box in the copy room at work? Grab it. A big obstacle to purging and donating things is not having handy means for packing up the goods. Get in the habit of noticing and collecting empty boxes and/or saving boxes from purchases that can be used later to pack up items for donation.
• Digitize. Use your shiny new smart phone to set up a daily house chore alerts for yourself. Example: If you have a bad habit of forgetting laundry in the washer and having to rewash it because it has gone smelly, set up a daily alert to push laundry to the dryer for a time you know you will be home. Four other ways to digitize and also remove massive amounts of clutter from your life:
- Rip one CD per day into your iTunes library then have the discipline to toss the plastic media you rarely use anymore,
- Splurge on an e-reading device and say goodbye to all those dust-collecting, space-hogging books,
- Spend a Saturday afternoon signing up for, and learning how to use, your bank's online banking services and/or creating online accounts to access statements and to pay nearly all of your bills online. Very quickly, you will find most of your daily mail going directly in to the recycle bin and your foot-high 'to-file' pile shrinking down to almost nothing.
- Spend a different Saturday afternoon opening and learning how to use an eBay account. For all the unused things you feel are too valuable to just throw out or donate-like that designer dress in your closet with the tags still on-try selling it instead.
We hope you have enjoyed this two-part series on Quick Tips for Keeping Your Home Tidy between Weekly Cleanings. Got your own Quick Tip for Keeping a Tidy Home? Please share it on MaidPro's Facebook wall or by Tweeting @maidpro, using the hash tag #tidytips.