November 05, 2017
I’m a naturally tidy person. I always have been, and everyone in my life knows it. In fact, some of them find my never-ending compulsion to keep my surroundings neat and orderly a little irritating. My husband made a comment a few years back that’s stuck with me:
“I think I'm going to call you my museum keeper from now on,” he’d said, with a crooked smile on his face. But even though that smile, I could see that he was both annoyed with and fascinated by me. As if he was thinking, why on earth is it so important to put every single item in its proper place? Isn’t that a bit over-the-top?
My cousin reacts similarly when we come home from a day in town together. As soon as we walk in the door, I’m emptying my bag of receipts and purchases, putting any new items exactly where they belong in my home. She just chuckles to herself as I zoom around the rooms, tidying as I go.
But despite their amusement and annoyance, I’m actually quite proud of this neurosis! And I’ll tell you why:
A tidy home, a tidy mind
I’ve always believed that an orderly environment grounds and centers me. My mind is racing all the time, and I feel like creating an uncluttered living space helps slow and calm me. Even if my internal life is a bit of a mess, at least some things are in order!
And after reading Marie Kondo’s books: The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up and Spark Joy, I found out my instincts were spot-on. Kondo is a Japanese tidying expert and best-selling author whose ideas have helped millions of people create orderly, welcoming homes and working spaces.
I’ve come to adore her simplistic, practical, and spiritual view on tidying and its impact on quality-of-life. And one of the main things she taught me was to put things away.
By cultivating the habit of putting things back after you have used them, you instantly make your everyday life much easier. For instance, when it comes time to clean, everything is already in its place.
This means you don't have to pick up and rearrange objects before you dive into the scrubbing and dusting, or shuffle things around to get to the surfaces you need to clean. Whether it’s you doing the cleaning or a hired professional, you’ll save tons of time.
I know my own cleaning lady is very happy with my uncluttered home. When she comes to clean, she swings out the bucket, the cloths, and the Ecoclean, and she can get right to work without having to fiddle about and move things around just to get started. I am so grateful for her help that I love being able to make her work simpler and easier!
Find each object a "home"
Putting things away might seem simple, but it can take some planning. In order to put things back where they belong, they need a permanent place within your space, or as Kondo calls it, a home.
It’s important to take the time to find a home for every item and to choose that home based on how often the item is used or needed.
Going through this process won't just make your cleaning process easier in the future, it will also make you more aware of the possessions you actually own. And being more aware of them helps you feel gratitude toward them.
Yes, I know that sounds funny! They are inanimate objects, how could they possibly appreciate our gratitude?
But the process isn’t about the object, it’s about your relationship to all of the objects you own. By finding each of them a home, you will see them, smell them, and feel them. You will appreciate the service that they provide to you, and that appreciation will lead you to take better care of them.
And it will lead you to buy less crap, if you’ll excuse my language. Most of us are guilty of buying unnecessary things we that we seldom (or never) use. We do it without thinking and surround ourselves with objects that don’t serve us. Finding homes for each and every possession will help you treasure what you have, and think twice before buying new things.
Make orderliness easy
In addition to creating homes for each item, you should create loose systems for organizing groups of items. Otherwise, you’ll end up living in organized chaos!
Here are some tips that can help you figure out the most logical way to store your things:
Especially in the kitchen, it’s important to create a fixed place for every item. Put the mixer and blender away after using them instead of letting them perch on the countertop, cluttering it up. But if you use them often, give them a place that's easy to access. Doing this will make your kitchen a dream for both cooking and cleaning.
I’ve come to believe that we should all designate a home for each object we own and store it where it truly belongs.
Doing so brings peace and serenity to our spaces, our minds, and our hearts. And after all, if we take good care of our possessions, they will take good care of us!
P.S. To make the cleaning process even more enjoyable and quick, check out Ecoclean, our environmentally friendly and vegan all-around cleaning product, produced in-house.
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