Tag Archives: household maintenance

The Common Excuse For Avoiding Household Maintenance, Invalidated

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

“I can’t put it away; I’m going to use it again tomorrow.” 

The fact that you’re going to use/wear/eat/play with/work on something tomorrow should have no bearing on whether or not you put it away today.

You’re going to get dirty again tomorrow, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t shower today. 

You’re probably going to use your car again tomorrow, but you wouldn’t leave the motor running all night long.

You’re most certainly going to open the fridge tomorrow, but you wouldn’t leave the door open until then.

Your dog will need to be walked again tomorrow, but you wouldn’t leave him outside overnight.

You’ll use that set of silverware when you eat again tomorrow, but you don’t leave forks and spoons out on the counter. 

Our whole lives are a continual pattern of doing and undoing, creating and streamlining, opening and closing, beginning and ending. When you keep this in mind, you stop resenting the daily acts of putting things away and taking them out. You see those minute tasks as playing into the larger rhythm that is your life.

Put it away out of courtesy to the person or people with whom you share your space.

Put it away to show the gratitude you have for it by caring for it and storing it properly.

Put it away because every day, we use so many things that if frequency of use applied to each, every surface would be clogged, every jar uncapped, every shirt balled in a pile on the floor. 

Put it away because consistency is key in household maintenance, and it is far easier to regulate your behavior with your stuff across the board than it is to attempt to delineate how you should look after individual products. 

Put it away Simply because you have a spot for it. 

Put it away so that it’s there to take out tomorrow, that taking-out contributing to the overall sense of how life is continually beginning over each moment, and certainly each day. 

But really, for the love of god, just put it away. 

Image credits: 1. Fox & Owl, Varpunen via A Merry Mishap, 2. Merricks Art 


One Basket To Avoid Clutter And Maintain Organization

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Even if you have ruthlessly edited the contents of your space today, it’s inevitable that with the passing of time, you will find yourself no longer needing or desiring additional belongings.

The moment any item crosses over from necessary and desired into the realm of extraneous is the point at which it morphs into clutter, and therefore must be removed.

The thing is, even the most stringent individuals will be less inclined to cross the threshold of declaring a thing clutter, as it necessarily means they will need a place for it, a place other than where it was previously residing.

So, let’s say for instance that Charlotte maintains a beautifully organized closet. One day, it occurs to her that she no longer wears or wants that striped cardi that she never really should have bought in the first place. But Charlotte isn’t in the process of doing a major closet overhaul; she doesn’t have bags upon bags sitting around waiting to be hauled off to the Salvo Army. “One lame sweater,” Charlotte thinks, and so she shrugs her shoulders and keeps it in her closet.

ERRRRRR. Try again, Charlie.

Charlotte institutes a permanent basket for donation to maintain organization. It’s an attractive basket that she doesn’t mind having around, and its specific purpose is to collect the individual items that are intermittently expelled from her ownership.

Charlotte sees the sweater. She thinks how its tag itches her back. How its color makes her look like a blank white hyacinth. She snatches the sweater from its hanger, trots directly over to her donation basket, deposits said sweater in said basket and then goes on with her day, retaining her feeling of lightness. Every so often, according to the rate at which she fills the basket, Charlotte delivers its contents to the local charitable organization of her choice.

Ding ding ding!!

Great, so now that we’ve explored the many insipidly-est ways I can approach the matter of sharing an organizational tip, I shall conclude by adding: yeah, yeah, do that.


Image credits: (clockwise from left) Martha Stewart, Family CircleCloset Factory

Organizing Strategy To Live By: One In, One Out

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Today, teacups, I want to discuss one of the most important and basic organizing strategies. Those who follow this rule never struggle to keep their homes in order, and they never find themselves bogged down in clutter. It will change everything, promise.

One in, one out.

You’ve no doubt heard of it before, maybe rolled your eyes at it as well, but it’s floating around out there for a reason. Thing works.

Let’s think this through: your space has a limit to the amount of stuff it can comfortably contain. Unlike groceries, when you bring material goods home they don’t dissipate. You won’t use up your sweater like you will your jar of jam. So stuff remains. And then we keep adding more to the mix. Without subtracting in like quantities, it is inevitable that the end result will be cluttered, chaotic, over-stuffed spaces.

You must establish the “stuff equilibrium” for your space. Maybe you feel good about how much you have right now, maybe your closet or your bookcases are filled just the right amount. Great, start applying the one in, one out upon your next purchase. If that’s not the case, if you’re living far beyond your spatial means, then you have some serious editing work to do. Weed out, then begin implementing the one in, one out.

In order to maintain that equilibrium, you must obviously compensate when a new item is added. Re-balance the scales by editing out a similar item. Buy a new t-shirt? Get rid of an old, yellow-arm-pitted stained one. A new hardcover added to the shelf? Part with another title you no longer feel attached to. Purchase new towels? Toss some older ones that are fraying at the edges. Treat yourself to a new eye shadow? Let go of another one. Your babe gets a new toy? Decide together which toy you’re ready to donate to another child. ETC.

I know it may sound corny. I know. But it will make all the difference in your space. It will alleviate you of the impending, overwhelming clutter situation– that moment when you finally realize you’ve let things spiral out of control, you’ve lost your hold on your home and you’re in deep doo-doo in the Live Simply department.

One in, one out.

Get to it.

Image credits: Vogue, El Pais