Friday, January 12, 2018

Friday Faves...Let's Talk Cleaning and Decluttering, Part One

Last week I posed a question to my readers asking if there was any interest in some posts about cleaning and decluttering.  I received quite a few responses saying yes, so this post is the first. 

First of all, I feel a bit trepidatious posting this.  I do not think that I am the queen of clean or that I have reached the pinnacle of perfection in homemaking. 

I definitely DO NOT have it all together when it comes to cleaning and decluttering my home. I am disciplined in cleaning my home most of the time-but I definitely have my areas of weakness in this as well. 

I no longer have children living at home. When our three daughters were younger, keeping the house clean was definitely more challenging, yet I still had the same standards I do today-the public areas of our home were to be kept tidy. Don't ask me about how their bedrooms looked at times though!

I AM NOT a minimalist.  Yet, I love the clean, simple minimalist look that I see online. I love home decor and kitchen cookware a bit too much. I have more pots and pans and mixing bowls than one cook could ever use. I love home decor.  I love clothes and shoes and handbags. To keep things from taking over my life I declutter and purge often and try to live by these rules-for anything new I bring into our home something old has to be given away. Also, I must have a place and purpose for something before I buy it.  That keeps me from buying something just because I like it-it must have an immediate place and purpose for it to take up valuable space in my home.

You can be sure that REAL LIFE is happening in our house. But, the goal that I live by is to have the main living areas of our home ready for any pop-in visitors.  Here are some of the ways I try to make that happen.

-Keep the public areas of your home picked up daily. (In my case this is the entry, living room, kitchen, dining room and guest bedroom and bathroom.)  I am a habitual tidier and clutter picker-upper!  (To a fault in fact...sometimes my husband isn't finished with something and I've already put it away! Or, I have been known to put a cup or glass in the dishwasher before he has finished the contents!) My personality doesn't rest well if things are chaotic and messy, so I do keep our bedroom, our master bathroom and my home office picked up as well, but I tend to be less perfectionistic in those spaces.

-Have a place for everything and everything in it's place. Always put everything back where it belongs when you're done with it. For example-Every shelf in the pantry has a purpose-small appliances, baking items, breakfast foods, snacks.  Every cupboard and drawer has a purpose. Coffee, tea and cups, pots and pans, spices, everyday plates and glasses, baking items.  All like items in our home are stored in the same place.  For example-there is one place where all of our candles are kept, one place where you'll find lightbulbs, one location for all small decor items, (and large decor items have a place in the garage).  Decide where the best spot is for each item. Figure out what works best for you and then always put things back where they belong.  If you get into a habit of delaying dealing with putting things away or throwing things into any cupboard or closet where you find some space then you will inevitably find yourself living in clutter and chaos.

-Have a daily pick-up routine. It takes less than an hour for me to tidy up the main living areas of our home. What I do-make bed, tidy our bathroom after my shower, scan the living room to see if anything needs picked up or sofa pillows need straightened, check dining room and put anything away that's been left there, do dishes and wipe down kitchen counter, dust mop wood floors and vacuum rugs as needed. I both begin and end the day making sure everything is tidy and picked up.

-Don't procrastinate. Deal with dishes, messes and clutter and mail right away.
When we get the mail I immediately put mail where it belongs, put junk mail in recycling and destroy anything with personal information on it.  Mess happens when we handle things more than once or procrastinate dealing with things. It only takes a minute to deal with mail and other clutter right away. 
You opened a package or emptied a jar?  Don't delay, put it in recycling right away. You spilled something? Wipe it up right away.
Clean up as you cook. Put the dishes in the dishwasher and wipe down the table and counters after every meal. (But be flexible! This strength can also be a weakness. After Thanksgiving dinner I turned down a walk with my family so I could get the dishes done.  Sometimes you need to choose people over tidiness and I fail in this too often. For our Christmas breakfast I used cute Christmas paper plates so I could relax and enjoy our time together more.)

-Declutter often.  After Christmas I did a declutter.  New things came into my home, so it was time to get rid of the old.  I went through my closet and got rid of anything I haven't worn in quite some time.  That way I had room for some new sweaters when they were on post-Christmas for eight dollars each!
I did a complete pantry and and refrigerator clean out.  I took everything out, wiped everything down, and threw away anything old or outdated.
I got one new coffee mug so I got rid of several old ones. I have one whole cupboard of coffee cups and mugs and teapots!  I told you I'm not a minimalist!
I got rid of some home decor that I no longer love and use.

-Daily tidying and frequent decluttering makes the need for deep cleaning less daunting.
But next week I'll be sharing more about that.

Next week I'll share a bit more about decluttering and deep cleaning.

Have a happy Friday
a safe and blessed weekend!




  1. Enjoyed the post.. I agree, keeping up with clutter is the best way.. My kids are grown and gone too, and it is much easier now.. But still requires. keeping the decluttering going and keeping everything put up..

    1. It is easier with the kids grown, but I still have a husband and grandkids that keep me busy!

  2. YAY! Thank-you for sharing. Your home is lovely.

  3. We are iced in here (Tennessee) so I am home from work today. I plan on starting the decluttering now. Thanks for the great post. Your home is beautiful by the way.

  4. Great tips, Elizabeth! Paperwork is probably the hardest for me. There are too many things "in process" At least I keep it to one stack that I can "hide" if company comes, lol. And, we don't have a dishwasher, well we do, me - so dishes do get stacked in the sink sometimes. I do love a clean kitchen so this one does tend to bother me. Looking forward to part two!

  5. This is a great post! Thank you for sharing your tips with us. I'm beginning to move things out and make life much more simple. That's the goal but, as you know, I really like a lot of things! I'm looking forward to hearing more.

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  7. Amazing tips Elizabeth! As you said, developing the habit and routine of cleaning up mess or pick up things as and when they appear is very important.

    Tackling the small tasks is much easier and less time consuming than waiting for things to pile up which further will lead to procrastination.

    For me, following the daily cleanup routine and completing small chunks each day keep me motivated.

    Will focus on tip #2 as am very poor with organizing stuff.


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