I am the perpetual clutter queen. (The first step is admitting there is a problem, right?) So when I heard rave reviews about the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, of course I had to read it! It certainly has some fantastic ideas that I would love to implement some day, but its all or nothing approach just isn’t a good fit for me in this phase of life. I am not ready for all, and don’t want to do nothing. So I came up with this solution, and it really has proven to be the most magical trick I have found thus far!
I have two words for you: Two Laps.
That’s it. Two Laps.
Seriously, try this. It is the first trick I have found that actually works and I have been able to maintain it for more than a few weeks!
Materials Needed: A Laundry Basket
1) Start in one room of your house. Put everything in that room away and place anything that doesn’t belong in that room into the basket. (Example: In the kitchen I put all kitchen items away, and stash the shoe, the toothbrush (don’t ask) and the matchbox car in the basket.)
2) Carry the basket with you to the next room. If any of the items from the previous room belong in this room, put them away. Next, as you did in step one, put everything in the room away and deposit misplaced items into the basket. (Example: Now in the playroom, I take the matchbox car out and put it in the appropriate toy bin. I put away any other stray toys. I place the dirty sock and the empty cup in the basket to put away once I get to their appropriate rooms.)
3) Continue steps one and two in each room of your house.
4) By the time you have circled your house twice, you will have put everything where it belongs. (The shoe made it into the garage cubby, the toothbrush in the bathroom, the sock in the laundry, the cup in the dishwasher.)
This tip is a huge time saver and the magic is in its simplicity. If I were to put each stray item in its appropriate locale each time I came across one, I would be exhausted from going up and down the stairs, traipsing all over the house to the point of just giving up or only focusing on one room, leaving the rest for “tomorrow”.
The first time we implemented this strategy it took about 20 minutes. The next day it took less than 10. The third day it took less than 5 and we were done after only 1 lap. Some days are messier than others, but overall getting into the habit of doing this, we have been able to stay on top of the perpetual and inevitable clutter that 5 people living under one roof create.
These are the random items we found on our third day: a feather duster, a drum stick, ski goggles (it is June), a cooling rack (toddlers and their treasures!), shoes, and a toy train. Imagine what we would find in a weeks’ worth of accumulation!
We do this immediately after the kids go to bed before we lose motivation. Skipping days just means it takes longer the next time as things accumulate. We are more relaxed, more efficient, and more productive in a tidy house. We have also found that the kids play better when their toy room isn’t a giant mess of toys (see here ) and they too are more motivated to put things where they belong when it is in manageable pieces.
Give it a try and let me know how it goes!
I leave you with two more words: