Imagine how everything in your house feels when it’s where it belongs. See, we all need a place to “live”. There’s a reason that “living out of a suitcase” is considered sub-standared to real life in a home. Within every house, there are lots of residents who have their own homes. It’s like your house is one big apartment complex and each item in it belongs in its own apartment. Some things, rarely leave their homes. You know, a couch, a recliner, the coffee table… they are homebodies and really don’t enjoy getting out. From time to time, they upgrade to a nicer apartment or downgrade due to budgetary constraints, but most beds, dressers, and dining room tables move in and stay put– sometimes for life! Other things like the baby’s toys, your shoes, a book etc all take trips from their homes. Imagine how discouraging it must be for the book to find itself an unwelcome guest in the dresser’s house!
Some things, however, move into the complex and wander the corridors looking for an empty place to live. A new knick-nack, tool, or even the brush may never be given its own home. So like transients, they wander the halls hoping to find an empty place to call their own. Of course, under the couch might not be the ideal place, but they’ll move in if no one helps them find a permanent residence they can call home.
I know, I know. It’s a silly way to state the obvious, but I’ve been thinking a lot about house ordering in the past week or two. As I’ve droned on about so much that you’re probably sick of it, I just did my little craft nook in my room recently. Before that time, I rarely sat down at my machine. Doing so meant taking it out, leaving it up for days, and then putting it away unsatisfied with what I’d gotten accomplished. Since I’ve set up that little corner with everything being assigned a home, I’ve made four skorts, 2 pairs of capris, three shirts, a roman shade, made a skirt, and that’s what I can remember at the moment. It’s so rewarding to skip in there, pull out my cutting table, reach for my scissors that are always in their home on the hook on my pegboard, reach for thread that is where it belongs, grab the seam ripper, tape measure, pencil, or fray check from exactly where I know they’ll be, and have no stress, no fuss, no muss. It’s fun to sew when everything is readily accessible, in their home, and waiting to be used.
This is true of my children as well. When we scrub up the living room, clear all surfaces, organize their coloring and drawing materials, put games on the shelves correctly etc… suddenly they want to use those things. They want to be in here, doing things near us, talking to us, and tension is pretty much unheard of. However, if the room is cluttered, noisy, or the things they want to use too difficult to access, it won’t happen. Now that my room is clean and organized, would you like to guess where the favorite hang out is in my house right now? Would you like to guess who is the fanatic about keeping things clean and kicking them out if they leave a mess? Yeah. That’s because I know I won’t want to go in there and sew or make pretty paper things if it’s a nightmare like it was back when it was a catch-all for the rest of the house.
Do yourself and your family a favor. Give every item in your home a home. If there is no room for it, either get rid of it or evict something else and move it in. Whatever you do, give each item in your house a home. Your possessions will be used instead of abused, you’ll know where they are, and you won’t replace the extension cord fifteen times because you didn’t know where you put them the last time. If they always belong on a hook at the back of the sink cupboard … you’ll know right where to find them, won’t you?
It’s a simple principle. It’s one that, for the most part, people use without thinking about it. However, most people (who are not or have learned to overcome the C in OCD) have a dozen or two things that are homeless in their homes. If they have too much stuff, it’s usually worse than that. One thing that’s important, the home has to fit the item. Just as you wouldn’t put a six foot eight inch man in a house with six foot ceilings, don’t try to stuff six girls’ worth of clothes into one dresser. Not that I’d know anything about that. I mean, it may seem logical that a large drawer each for things like socks, undies, and pjs would be sufficient and they could hang the rest in their spacious closet, but the fact is, it’s not enough. Just thought you oughtta know.
Simple principles, but I’m going to break them down even simpler.
- If it walks, is dragged, carried, or in any other way enters your door, it needs a home.
- If you don’t have room for it to have a home, it can’t stay or you must evict something to give it a home. Everyone needs a home.
- When your homes are overcrowded, find new ones for things you don’t need anymore. It’ll give the rest of your things a chance to “breathe” and likely will help them last longer not having to “rub elbows” with other things quite so often.
- If your house seems to have a lot of clutter about, either things aren’t staying at home enough, or you’ve missed one of the other three things up there. Do something about it.
Thanks again, Chautona! Your sentiments are mine when it comes to finding a home for your possessions!
For more wisdom on organizing your life, I HIGHLY recommend Julie Morgenstern's wonderful book, Organizing from the Inside Out, -- mentioned, of course, in my book, Bootcamp for Lousy Housekeepers. Be inspired!
Don't forget to enter in to the Spring Clean Fling book giveaway for your chance to win one of two copies of Bootcamp!