Recently, we were leaving the house at 8am on a Saturday. Due to the fact that our home was on the market, and it was a weekend, we made sure everything was clean and vacuumed before leaving in case of a sudden showing request. I made the comment to my husband about how nice it was to be leaving the house in such great shape before we left.
Immediately, he replied, “Well Honey, we could just leave Realtor cards out on the entry table all year long so we think our house is still on the market.”
Ouch! That stung! I tend to be the one who struggles with cleaning my desk up at the end of the workday and making sure the dishwasher gets loaded before bed. It’s not that I don’t value a perfectly decluttered home. But I’m not always taking the time to finish up and put things away that I’ve been working on.
Though it’s much easier now that we live in a smaller place, my tendency to get sidetracked or interrupted can easily cause certain areas to be less than totally picked up. I used to blame my interruptions on the little ones in my home—but I can no longer use that excuse.
Over the years, my husband has learned to flow with my tendencies and to even lower the standards of having everything neatly in its place at all times.
But here are a few things that help me keep clutter under control:
- Reconsider starting a big project if there’s not enough time to finish. My doer tendency wants to make use of even five extra minutes to complete something that needs doing. But how much wiser to wait for a larger chunk of time if it means I can finish the project and cleaned up all at one time.
Have a stopping point. The saying that a woman’s work is never done is very true! But we women do need to set a stopping point for the evening and take some time to relax before heading off to bed. This helps me so that I don’t start into yet another job that will have to be abandoned before it’s finished. And I can build in a little clean up time for anything needing picked up.
Plan times in your schedule for those bigger projects. Each week I like to set aside larger blocks of time to work on projects and complete. Some weeks, this extra time is not available. But other weeks, I can guard a morning or an afternoon that I can devote to the job. If I don’t plan it in, it will never happen.
Find a place to store an unfinished project. For me, that is most likely books and papers and items on my desk. My husband came up with a way to help me store that mess by buying me a decorative black box with a lid to put all my folders and papers in while I am not working on them. Whatever it is for you, find a closet, a drawer, or some other place to put your projects away for those in-between times. Just remember that they are there and still your attention!
Whether you tend to have everything put away in its place or not, there are seasons when we don’t always hit our own or spouse’s desires on the homefront. A little flexibility and open communication help during those times.
In any case, do yourself a favor by creating habits such as those above to keep clutter under control and your home more peaceful for everyone.
Question: How do you keep the clutter of unfinished projects under control in your home? Share your answer in the comments below.