Aug 17, 2010

Anticipating Messiness - The House That Cleans Itself Chapters 16 & 17

Do you keep a list in your head about all the things you’d - eventually – like to do to make your house nicer? Mindy asks you to put it into action in Chapter 16 of The House That Cleans Itself. That means putting the list in writing, with special emphasis on changes that would either make the house look cleaner or make housekeeping easier. Then actually make these changes a priority in your life. Here’s a good example from my house: The bathroom sink is badly chipped around the drain spout. No matter how much I scrub, it always looks dirty. Seeing the chipped sink always lowers my spirits, and I’m sure I’ve wasted plenty of time trying to clean something that can never look clean. Therefore, I’ve added “new sink” to my list of needed changes.

The next chapter challenges us to prevent messes before they happen. Mindy asks us to look at areas that tend to get cluttered (like the coffee table, perhaps) and study them after we’ve decluttered. Memorize how that table looks and vow to never let a single thing that isn’t there now park there. It’s amazing how well this simple idea works. I’ve already implemented it on my kitchen table. No matter how many times I cleared off that table, stuff always managed to accumulate there. What I’ve discovered, as I’ve read The House That Cleans Itself, is that:

#1 Most of the stuff that ended up on the table didn’t have a home elsewhere.

#2 I kept putting things on the table until I “found time” to give the things a proper home.

Now that I’ve made up my mind to keep the table absolutely clear (except for dinnerware and food, at meal times), it “magically” is clear all the time. Every time I’m tempted to put a thing on the table until I find time to put it elsewhere, I stop myself and find a home for it right away. And, wonderfully, I’ve discovered that it’s quick and easy to do this, while at the same time I feel better because I’ve kept the table cleared.

Mindy also asks us to anticipate where trash will build up in our homes. For example, our family room is often cluttered with such things as empty popcorn bags, so I’m setting up a trash bin in the room – near the couch, where it’s easy for any family member to toss the trash. The rest of the chapter deals with anticipating purging and dirt in a similar fashion – including the brilliant idea of keeping “quick cleaning” items (like wipes) in each room, to make quick cleanups super fast and easy.

Have you put Mindy's ideas into action yet? Tell us about it! (Or, if you haven't, start today. They work!)

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