The lessons this week? Instead of decluttering, create space in your home. Then do small, simple changes that make cleaning easier. These two tips will reward you with a home that’s a more enjoyable, supportive place to be.
Let’s talk about the one thing that gets in the way of cleaning. It’s clutter. When you want a serious clean you can’t get it unless you’re willing to get rid of some of the overwhelming mess that accumulates regardless of how good of a housekeeper you may be.
But let’s talk about clutter from a different direction. Please bear with me and my metaphorical (and metalphysical) discussion of clutter.
Nature abhors a vacuum
This simple truth explains clutter. It’s true that whenever there’s empty space, someone or something comes in to fill it up. And what larger vacuum could therebe than our house? A leaky boat will always fill up with water.
So, too, do our homes. It’s their energetic imperative to fill up with stuff; it’s our job to keep bailing. Therein lies the struggle. We want decluttering to be a one time thing like taxes.
When I was the cleaning editor for a women’s website I once received an email from someone who said that if she followed my cleaning advice she’d be cleaning every day. That’s what I do. I fight the tide of stuff that beats at my door on a daily basis. Some days I win and some days I don’t.
But, every day I make some kind of effort. It’s my daily vitamin C (“C” being for clutter) that keeps me from being taken over by everything from mail to old clothes, crayon pictures to collectibles.
Space — the final frontier
What I’m asking you to do is to love space more than you dislike clutter. So, rather than focusing on how much stuff you need to get rid of, emphasize the positive by putting your attention on creating space in your closets, drawers, dresser and countertops. Once you look at clutter from this perspective, you see the “gain” in creating space instead of the loss and the work attached to decluttering.
It’s a subtle shift, but one that can improve your motivation. After falling in love with clear, open space, the work of decluttering is something you’ll willingly undertake because you begin to enjoy the visual peace and relaxation that comes with it.
Work for an easier clean
When you create clear space, your efforts are rewarded in relaxation and contentment at home. You won’t feel overwhelmed the moment you walk in the door. That’s because clutter wears you down and frustrates you so that it’s difficult to relax anywhere. Think about making simple changes to your home to contain the clutter and ways to make cleaning easier.
I recently received an email from Sara Meyer in my hometown of Cuero. She stated that she’d been frustrated with soap scum and tired of scrubbing and working hard to clean her bathroom. She’d read my tip about using liquid soap instead of bar soap because cleaning the bathroom is almost effortless with liquid soap.
She said it was an “Aha!” moment and has since outlawed bar soap in the rest of the house; congratulations, Sara. My cleaning bugaboo is dirty walls and woodwork. You’ll be amazed at how a smudge on a wall distracts and annoys you. As you clean your home, keep a damp microfiber cloth with you and spot clean the walls and woodwork. If you have flat paint that smears when you clean, use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. They truly do work like magic.