Sunday, June 29, 2008

So How Do YOU Do It?

I get cranky when clutter piles up. I wish I could claim to be such a neat-freak that clutter just doesn't happen in this house. But truth-be-told, clutter is part of my life. My kitchen counters are the biggest clutter-collector, followed closely by my dining room table (no fun to set the table for dinner when I must start with finding places for everything that collected on the table). Next in line is our "phone table," my desk and, well, basically any elevated horizontal surface.

The good news is that over the years I have found a variety of ways to combat it. I thought I would share my tips and let you share yours, too.

1. Never start a new project until the current one is totally done and put away. (That includes starting another load of laundry before the clean, dry load is folded and put away.) Teach your kids to only make one mess at a time, too.
2. Throw stuff away. Ever done a "27 fling boogie?" walk quickly around your house with a plastic grocery sack and put 27 things in it that belong in the trash.
3. Put toys with a zillion pieces up and out of reach so you can control when (or if) they come down.
4. Do the dinner dishes and wipe down the counters every night so you awaken to a fresh start every day.
5. Do a "that doesn't belong" run. Walk around your cluttery spots and fill your hands with things that don't belong (stop when your hands are full) and then go put each item away. Do that once or twice and call it good until tomorrow. This works really well when you only have a moment and you are just totally overwelmed at the thought of even attempting to de-clutter.

So those are my top five. How do YOU deal with the constant barrage of clutter coming at you?


Brenda said...

Hey friend Jenne~~this is a great post. I recently read that Elizabeth George always puts an "F" for finishing something on her schedule. It got me thinking about "Finishing" and how many projects I start and don't finish (and then I wonder why my house is so cluttered!!). I made a list of my hopeful projects, and I started one and I'm working on it a little each day until it's done (this project is organizing my recipes). I won't start any others until this one is done. I've been putting things away when I see them~~throwing things away when I'm faced with them. I'm not hopeful that I'll ever look at that Pottery Barn catalog, for example, I just throw it out. I also keep toys with little pieces out of reach (except for legos and a small container in the boys' room). I also make sure the kitchen is all cleaned up right before naptime, and before bed time. :) I haven't done the "27 thing boogie" or whatever it's called in quite a while, but thank you for the reminder!!

Greg and Andrea said...

Have you been listening to the Fly Lady? A lot of what you wrote sounds like the great advice from

I, too, have trouble keeping those horizontal surfaces clear! Those are some good tips.

Ginger said...

I just e-mailed you my novel. :)
It seems that throughout the day there are endless toys, and clothes and things that end up downstairs that need to go back upstairs. I used my friend's idea and as I find things throughout the day I put them all in one of those box-shaped recycled grocery bags on the stair. In the evening I take the bag up, and everyone is responsible for putting away their "matchbox cars, bracelet, chapstick, socks, books, doll, treasures..." That way too I'm not contantly tripping over toys on the stairs, or getting frustrated with someone for not taking it up with them as they step over it and go upstairs. And Fly lady - don't you love her stuff? Having a place for everything is SO helpful. It's the things that I don't have a place for yet that pile up and drive me batty. I have to remind myself - Less is More, then toss the stuff that isn't being used and doesn't have sentimental value.

Diane said...

Your right about cleaning up the dishes and kitchen counter after dinner. Sometimes I'm tired and just want to veg but then I awake to a messy kitchen, oh how I hate that. Fly Lady says, 'go shine your sink'. I try to do that, it's a nice feeling to wake up to a pretty clean kitchen. As for the's a monster!! It's out to get us all!!
Just wait until all of your kids are in school.........oh the papers that come home. I read your post yesterday, it must have motivated me because today I cleaned and decluttered my office.
Thanks for the post and motivation.
I feel better knowing that I'm not the only Mom who stuggles with a messy house. I try...lord knows I try. (at least I tell him often enough and ask for his help. LOL!)