Have you ever heard the quote “You are your home”? Does it resonate with you in some way, making you feel warm and fuzzy… or slightly uncomfortable? We’ve been in the process of selling our home over the past few weeks and, amongst other things, it has meant a lot of cleaning, organising and sorting out and letting go. Interestingly, one of the recent points raised in the course that I am studying currently (more on that in another post), is the strong advocation of keeping your home in good order.
Today, as I made the beds one-handed (I was holding Oliver with my other arm), literally stopped to smell the roses on my windowsill and made myself a coffee the old-fashioned way (ground coffee beans + water boiled on stove + French press, as all appliances except for the Kitchen Aid have been stowed away), I thought, “I could happily live in this space… everyday!”.
I looked around this morning and realised I was about 15-30 minutes away from having a ‘visitor-ready’ home; one that, if a friend spontaneously called and said “I am in your neighbourhood. Mind if I pop around for a cup of tea?”, wouldn’t mean a panic stations-style domestic duties frenzy. Actually, in Stockholm it never happens that people spontaneously drop around (in fact, it is considered intrusive). Thus my happiness at the realisation was nothing to do with the possibility of a chance last-minute visitor. Rather, it was because we have made a conscious decision to give ourselves the same inviting, clear and clutter-free space we try to offer visitors to our home.
And this is so important. It is not about keeping up appearances and hoping we appear to have it all together in the eyes of others. It is about gifting ourselves the environment we deserve; a workable, livable, functional and enjoyable space… everyday. I suppose it is top of mind for me right now as I find myself on maternity leave, and my home is both my nest and my office.
Having given birth to 3 children in a period of less than 5 years, I anticipated extra clutter, more mess and sticky little handprints on surfaces that would remain shiny in an ideal world. And so it is. This is why I am not aiming for ‘a perfect home at all times’. It is unrealistic… unless I aspire to run my home in the style of Captain Von Trapp (pre arrival of Maria), and my children and I are far too fun-loving for that.
In my experience there are two simple ways to maintain a home that’s in a ’30 minutes from lovely’ state at any time, and they work perfectly together. The first is to implement a declutter strategy (such as Peter Walsh’s 31 Days to Get Organized challenge) and the other is the simple practice known as ‘clean as you go’. The basic premise of a declutter strategy, such as the one Peter Walsh advocates, is that around 10 minutes per day for a period of one month should be devoted to clearing one area of your home. It could be your kitchen ‘junk draw’, or one wardrobe, or the area under your bathroom sink. Put all of these cleared out, organised little spaces together and, over time, you have an organised home, created with an investment of just minutes per day. Cleaning as you go is a no-brainer, but something that I had to train myself to do. Essentially it means, if you use it, clean it and/or put it straight back where it ‘lives’… and don’t wait until tomorrow to do it!
There will always be a few tasks on the go in a busy family home. As I type this I have folded laundry waiting to be put into drawers and another load of laundry being washed. There’s recycling that needs to be taken out and a hallway that could do with vacuuming when Oliver has woken from his nap. But all of those things amount to around 15 minutes of effort to achieve. And our current domestic goal (yes, my husband is just as onboard as I am) is to maintain just this: 15-30 minutes to a clean, clear home at any given time.
To reiterate, this is not about unrealistically striving for absolute perfection and thereby adding stress to our already busy lives. Rather, it’s the opposite; making things as easy and easy-to-maintain as possible with the purpose of living a lovelier domestic life. Clear space, clear mind (and all of that).
I will be sharing my experiences of the latest Peter Walsh 31 Days to Get Organized challenge soon.
In the meantime, do you have any strategies you like to implement to keep your home environment in check? I’d really love to hear about them!
❤ MM xx