By Madame Missou: writer, life coach, consultant, and artist living in Germany.
Every New Year starts with a whole bunch of resolutions that we really want to stick to, but that are more often than not forgotten after only a few days or weeks. I myself used to be known to break my New Year’s Resolution only hours after the New Year had started. Since then I have however been tirelessly working to establish habits in the areas of my life that I want to improve. If you really want to make changes to the way your home looks and feels when you get there after a long day, here are a few tips that can help you, taken from my book “How Cleaning Up & Clearing Out Makes Us Happy”.
Let’s start with a small basic rule, which shall simplify the start of your new life without junk and chaos. Starting today you will do the following: every day sort 5 things in your home, chuck them out or put them at the place they belong. Sounds simple, doesn’t it?
- Socks on the floor? Off into the laundry basket! (and why not use this beautiful and very handy corner laundry hamper with lift out bag from neatfreak!)
- Old magazines on the couch table? Off to the paper recycling basket with them.
- Empty toilet paper rolls are lying in the bathroom? They also belong into the paper recycling basket.
- Your jacket hanging on the kitchen chair? It should go on the coat rack.
- Books you haven’t read are piling up on the night table? Put them on the shelf.
- The expired yogurt in the fridge? Why hasn’t it been dumped into the trash yet?
These are all simple actions and can be done within a few seconds. Follow this rule consistently every day and invest only a few minutes; then, after merely one week, you will have sorted out a great deal of chaos. And just imagine how much you can manage in one month. For every room there are things you can do to organize, to clean up and to keep the chaos from developing.
THE LIVING ROOM
In the evening, many people chill out in the living room after a long day at work. They slouch on the sofa, read, watch TV or chat about the day. While doing these things, it is popular to have a glass of wine, eat chips or simply sprawl. When the evening in front of the television ends, we often go straight to bed and leave the living room in the same state. The next morning we are annoyed about the mess we return to. It would be indeed nicer to enter a tidy living room in order to enjoy the day untroubled. Here are a few quick tips that can be done in no time and which have great effects.
Quick tips for the living room:
- Put the remote control after an evening of TV back to its place. This may be the coffee table or some prefer to place it on top of or next to the television.
- If your sofa has decorative cushions, drape them before leaving the room. A little action has an enormous effect. With a properly arranged sofa, your living room will seem tidier at once.
- If you are fond of using cozy blankets in winter on your couch, then fold throws, etc. after their use properly and store them in a corner on the seating area or behind the sofa.
- In case you like to snack in the living room, put bowls and glasses back into the kitchen before going to bed.
- Use coasters in order to avoid ugly watermarks from glasses
- Don’t overfill your windowsill with decoration or plants. This automatically seems chaotic and messy.
- Something similar goes for display cases. Less is often more in this case (great pun, huh?). A crammed display case brings disquiet into the room, even if the content itself looks completely neat.
Collections of perfume bottles on the shelves seem crammed and messy. It is more difficult to clean the surface and the expensive perfumes go bad quickly since you only use your favorite ones anyways. Thus sniff on every little bottle and find out which fragrances are still pleasant and which ones are too old. Throw them away. Afterwards, place 2-3 fragrances which you will actually be using and store them in a little case on the shelf. Also cosmetic utensils and make-up are quickly hoarded and countless cups and little jars populate the bathroom.
The basics in the bathroom:
- Shelf, basket or linen cupboard with fresh towels
- Laundry basket for collecting dirty clothes
- Shower gel, shampoo, etc.. are to be at hand in the shower
- Toothbrush, toothpaste and soap go on the sink
- In the cabinet under the sink, store detergents and buckets
- Put make-up utensils into a little cosmetic case or store them in a multi-section drawer
- Place sanitary articles for women discretely in a little box near the toilet
Quick tips for the bathroom:
- Definitely use a little trashcan in the bath and empty it regularly once or twice a week.
- Throw used sanitary articles, empty cups or containers into the trashcan immediately and don’t leave anything on the sink or in the shower
- A basket for dirty laundry (if necessary with a practical trisection) is also useful in the bathroom as used towels can be stored inside it until the next washing. Also worn clothes can be stored in that basket before taking a shower. That way nothing ends up on the floor in first place.
- A little towel for guests should be kept near the sink. That way you can wipe over the sink and the faucet quickly after you freshen up in the morning and unpleasant water stains have no chance.
- A vent for the shower also prevents ugly stains if you dry the tiles and the shower after your shower.
- Make sure you air properly after every bath and shower. That way you avoid mold that is hazardous to your health.
Keep the decoration of your bedroom simple and in pale and relaxing colors. This room especially should not have chaos or be messy since it is solely for relaxing and sleeping.
Quick tips for the bedroom:
- Dirty clothes go directly into the laundry basket in the bath-or bedroom. Resist the temptation to throw clothes on the floor or put them someplace else after taking them off
- Make your bed first thing in the morning. The place where you sleep is indeed the center of this room and if it has been made nice and neat, then you are already half way there. Now you can already use the space for other things such as folding clothes.
- Only the most important things go on or inside the nightstand. For example, the alarm clock should be on top of it as well as the night lamp, the book, which you are currently reading and possibly reading glasses. That’s enough. In case the little table has a drawer, don’t just throw everything into it but store only the most important things in it.
- Please hang or properly fold clothes you want to wear again over a particular chair or get yourself a dumb waiter.
THE CHILDREN'S ROOM
The children’s room doesn’t always have to be spic and span. Here children may of course play, be creative and simply be kids. In this room, it is okay to have some things lying around, stains on the table, or the bed not made. So what? Don’t be stressed out and don’t rigorously clean up behind your children. Now this doesn’t mean it should get to the point where you can’t set foot in the room anymore.
There are nice and practical shelf systems or storage solutions for toys and items for children. Plush toys needn’t be nicely and neatly stacked next to one another on the shelf. A multi-color box like one of these pretty and colorful felt storage bins does it just as well. Your children can throw all their teddies into it. Board games go in another box. Pens are stored in a case on the desk. Papers and notebooks go into a drawer. The book bag has a fixed place next to the table and so on. It is not about being accurate but to teach children that everything has its place and that things ought to be put back there.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Madame Missou is a writer, life coach, consultant, and artist. She was born in Bamako (Mali) in 1960 as the daughter of the French Ambassador and an Argentinian botanist.
She has already published numerous bestselling guidebooks in German, and more than 6 books in English mostly about topics geared towards women.
If you would like to know more about Madame Missou, you can find her via her website: http://www.MadameMissou.com, on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MadameMissouAuthor, or reach her via Twitter: https://twitter.com/Madame_Missou