Many people, especially women, feel ashamed about being unable to keep up with a tidy home or an organized life. Is that the shame that binds you?
Society has perpetuated three beliefs that are particularly harmful to women:
It is a woman’s job to organize the home, her life, and the lives of everyone in the household while even working outside the home.
This female job comes from the fact that a woman’s capacity to organize, plan, and manage comes inherently to the female gender.
A woman should be capable of doing all that naturally, effortlessly, and excellently.
But planning, organizing, and managing require engaging the brain’s executive function. And whether it is due to an accident, illness, a brain condition, or genetics, the ability to plan, organize, and manage, takes work and requires learning for a large part of the population. The truth is that most people do not excel at those activities, even less enjoy them.
An Outsourcing Economy
And that should not be a problem. Our societal arrangement provides for outsourcing services and products we cannot make ourselves due to lacking skills and time. We defer the making of products and provision of services we need to groups or individuals that are experts at what they do because engaging our time in or learning all the skills needed to produce our products and services is not cost-efficient.
And there is no shame in that.
For example, we go to a salon to get a great haircut. Of course, we could cut our hair, but that does not mean we should, would want to, or be successful at it (I know, I’ve been there! LOL).
Or we go to a store or tailor to get clothes instead of sewing our own. Although many people excel at sewing, that is not most of us. And even those good at sewing would only make some of their clothes. In general, it is just not an efficient use of their time to make their whole wardrobe from scratch. So even they outsource their clothes acquisition.
Why The Shame?
So, why the shame around organizing, managing, and planning?
Is the CEO of a Fortune 500 company embarrassed to engage a business coach or a team efficiency expert? No! This is even expected from a person in such a position.
The shame of being unable to keep a tidy home and an organized life comes from thinking we are inherently capable of achieving this. So, if we can’t do that, something is wrong with us. Furthermore, if those skills are a given, they are expendable at some level.
A Compounded Problem
We are dealing with a double fallacy that compounds that shame.
Believing a person is inherently capable of planning, organizing, and managing, negates the possibility of needing to learn these skills, as is the case for so many.
Consequently, someone without those skills might feel ashamed and even less open to acquiring the skills by learning.
How about focusing on what we excel at and what makes us joyful? It is easier to feel happier, accomplished, and fulfilled in life this way instead of pounding ourselves with guilt every step.
Here’s The Solution
And for things that involve knowledge we don’t have, skills we were not born with, and time we don’t want to spend (like organizing, planning, and managing, for example), the Professional Organizer comes to the rescue!
A Professional Organizer is skilled and, in many cases, instructed in organizing, planning, and managing physical spaces, time, people, systems, and ideas.
Doing the organizing and planning, you do not have time to do
Doing the organizing and planning, you do not want to do
Developing systems that make your life and home more efficient
Using their knowledge, experience, and skills to build systems to make your life and home more efficient
Teaching you the fundamentals of their work, should you be interested in learning to maintain your systems
A Professional Organizer sets household members up for daily success and long-term goal achievement, plus a home that operates like a well-oiled machine. Who would not like to have that?
A Matter of Perspective
Look at it from the perspective of that Fortune 500 Executive that engages a coach to crush their short- and long-term goals while learning to work smarter, not harder. After all, you ARE the CEO of your home.
So, stop the guilt if that is what’s holding you back. Instead, give a Professional Organizer a chance to show you how easier life can be! You might be surprised. Your only regret might be not making that decision sooner.
The Lived-In Design: What she wanted to know about when she asked how anyone could live in a beautifully designed home.
A client once asked me how some people can have “cute things and display them.” She wanted to know how some live in such a way they have space to display décor items and make them look good. From her perspective, this was impossible.
The question does not surprise me, given that some people engage a Professional Organizer because they don’t want to live in a chaotic environment any longer. That means they call an Organizer because they do live in chaos.
But I have thought about this question for a long time and realized the answer lies in that inverse relationship between clutter and design.
What A Stylish House Doesn’t Need
Look at this picture (@flamingos.home). What do you notice? Or rather, what do you not see?
You can appreciate this design due to the absence of elements that pull your attention somewhere else, like clutter.
And clutter happens for two main reasons:
(1) Owning excessive stuff – Renders even the best storage space incapable of containing and concealing all the stuff.
(2) The lack of decision-making about things at any given moment – Causes stuff to land (and stay) anywhere in the home.
Although most people would not consider their homes magazine-worthy, as long as we have four walls and a roof, we can make the space as beautiful and incredible as we wish. Elegance, style, and luxury have less to do with money and the size of your home and more with taste, simplicity, and attention to detail.
But it seems challenging for many to envision the possibilities in their homes. Could this be because their homes’ clutter prevents the imagination from visualizing what they desire?
What Happens To That Magic?
Clutter prevents us from seeing the beauty of the home’s potential. But clutter also physically occupies the space that should be left available for new and better things to come into our lives.
I have extensively discussed the model home magic Vs. the nightmare of moving day. We fall in love with a beautifully designed, perfectly appointed model home, but somehow the magic disappears on moving day as quickly as it came.
Why does it feel so different even when we selected the same model home, building choices, and décor? This probably happens because:
(1) It is our stuff there now. And our stuff seems less than exciting in contrast to our new home.
(2) We see all our stuff together while moving in. It makes a big difference. This wonderful space now seems overcrowded and will be for a while until we get it under control.
(3) With the moving process as messy and disjointed as it usually is, stuff seems even messier and uglier than ever.
Puff! Magic gone.
Where The Stuff Is
Add to this scenario the prospect of living out of boxes for a while (there’s no time to put things away, and life is hectic anyway).
And at some level, we also recognize that wherever and however things land in the home on moving day, they will remain for the next three years or so.
Things might quickly improve if we engage some help, like a professional organizer, designer services, cleaning personnel, and such. The new home will probably thrill us again soon. And this better happens soon. A home is one of the most important investments we will ever make. So, we should care how we feel about it.
Life After Moving In
Everyone gets crazy about model homes, HGTV shows(the reveal is grand, right?), architectural digest magazine, and all those amazing home designs on Instagram and Pinterest. However, only a few make the connection between a marvelous design they love and the reality of the day-to-day living in that space.
No one talks about what happens after people move into a new home or back in with their belongings after a renovation. Having this conversation requires people to confront their mess demons and out-of-control buying. But, of course, nobody wants to go there.
Enjoying the beauty and style of a new home does not happen automatically. After moving in, we must work on it. Even the best design might get drowned in clutter. Clutter is the noise that distracts our senses from the beauty of the space and interrupts how we experience our home.
The Role of Empty Space
And aside from speaking of design, it is essential to honor space in the home. So many have issues with unoccupied space and try to stuff things in best-left-empty areas (“because I have some space there”).
However, a house should be a living space, not storage. Space is our friend, and it is best to make peace with it. Space is to the home like a white mat is to a piece of art – it enhances its beauty by isolating it.
It is possible to have a lived-in design. Clutter just has to go.
Enjoying the holiday season this year might be simpler than you think. But, if we can take care of a few essential things first, this is possible.
It Starts with Halloween
Let’s see. It’s Halloween, and you have precisely the stuff you need to create the theme you are going for this year. You know this because you have that neat area in your garage dedicated to holiday décor where every box is labeled. So decorating will be a breeze!
This year you are dressing up and having fun with the neighbors on Halloween!
You are enjoying it even more because you know how easy it is to put everything away (and while your kids are at school, you can eat all their candy!).
Then Thanksgiving Arrives
While putting all the Halloween décor away, you want to take out all the Thanksgiving stuff. Easy! It is all well-organized. What used to be a grumpy task is now an enjoyable thing to do.
And just like that, Thanksgiving has officially started in your home. Time to think of the menu, the guests, football, and all that comes with it. But guess what? You do have the time and capacity to think about all that now.
Your home is decorated, organized, clean, and ready for holiday guests because after that initial effort and investment last year (when we worked together in managing your home and all the storage), you have maintained the place.
On Thanksgiving Day, you can eat all you want and blissfully go into a food coma while watching football.
And Before You Know It
When recovered, it will be time to decorate for the major holiday of the year and put all Thanksgiving stuff away.
Everyone wonders how this process became so easy this time – everything is organized, accessible, and clean. You are in a jolly mood. It is a beautiful atmosphere.
You do have time to go shopping or tackle all your gift shopping online in a couple of hours.
Since your home looks, smells, and feels like the holidays, you have fun gift wrapping. But, of course, it helps that you have a fantastic gift-wrapping station stocked with everything you need for this purpose.
Probably It’s Not You (Yet)
Okay, this is probably not your case. You need to contact My Space Reclaimed now. Let’s start planning and organizing now, so the picture described above gets to be your story.
People go frantic during the holidays. They have to clean and get the home ready for guests, decorate, plan special activities, shop for gifts, gift-wrap, mail cards, and cook.
But with a neglected house, seasonal decor shoved everywhere, and disorganization, it is hard to feel at ease or properly decorate, shop, gift-wrap, cook, or do any coherent planning. That does not sound much like the jolly spirit.
Shining A Light on Your Home
No other time of the year shines a light on our home and family life as the holidays. Our home is where we cozy up with friends and family to celebrate, cook, eat and drink while cold outside. So make your home an inviting nest that genuinely speaks of love, gatherings, family, and joy.
All these holiday-related activities can be joyful if we first take care of the fundamentals. Things like the physical organization of the home and developing systems that help us every step of the way is how we create the foundation for a joyful holiday season.
So be proactive this year! Start analyzing which home processes can be more efficient, what changes your home needs to feel and look its best, and what home areas need reorganization.
The holidays are around the corner, and we would love to ease your burden during this time. Contact My Space Reclaimed and see how we can help you.
In the minds of most, cleaning and organizing are two activities that go together. We think of a messy place and we imagine it both disorganized and dirty. For the same reason, Organizers get asked over and over if we clean, too. When asked this question, I politely smile and say, “Well, I clean my house, of course!” So, you talk dirty to me and I will tell you some cleaning secrets now.
I do have to say that most Organizers, myself included, refuse to place items neatly organized in dirty spaces. Therefore, we do our best to clean some or engage the client in doing the cleaning, so the project ends at its best. But I am the first one to tell the client to please postpone any special cleaning project until the home is organized – for best results on the cleaning.
So Many (Unused) Products!
As an Organizer, I admit I am impressed by the number of cleaning products I find in every household, especially those that need the most cleaning. There is often a plethora of products for every purpose imaginable, as well as multiples of the same products and cleaning tools.
Another factor that confounds me is the presence of dirty cleaning tools. It does not make sense to clean with dirty tools. It would make sense to clean those tools when we finish cleaning, so we keep the clean tools in our newly clean space.
But since it seems like this rarely happens, I feel free to suggest to my clients a handful of multipurpose products and tools that accomplish many cleaning jobs and eliminate most of the extra work.
What You Need
In my opinion, these are the only products and tools you need. Don’t overcomplicate your life and save space in your cabinets and laundry area.
NOTE: These cleaning alternatives might not be preferred options for the environment since they are chemicals and disposable items. Some are not the most cost-effective either. But these products get the job well done with a minimum of effort, which is what most people need. They keep the tasks simple and are a less expensive alternative than engaging a professional cleaning company. You can also research natural alternatives to the chemicals, especially recipes created with Young Living essential oils, baking soda, and vinegar.
5) Clorox Ultra Clean Disinfecting Wipes (1 container per bathroom and 1 in the kitchen)
6) Clorox Free & Clear Multi-Surface Cleaner
7) Scotch-Brite Multi-Purpose Scrub Sponge (4-6) – these are the best sponges, even for doing the dishes manually
8) Ajax All-Purpose Powder Cleaner with Bleach or Comet Cleanser (one or the other, but just one) – for when additional scrubbing power with bleach is needed.
9) Assortment of brushes with and w/o handle and different kinds of bristles
10) Gloves (you need to protect those hands!)
11) Arm & Hammer Clean Shower Daily Shower Cleaner (1 bottle per shower or tub) – this product is truly a miracle. Tilex has its own version as well.
12) Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Sponges (tough stains, marks on walls, even cleaning the tub w/o bleach)
13) Microfiber rags (4-5) – Use dry with Windex for stainless steel, glass, and mirror. Use it to dry off washed surfaces. Use wet with the multipurpose cleaner to clean all surfaces.
14) Clorox toilet wand kit (one per toilet) – The kit leaves in the bathroom by the toilet. The sponge is single-use, disposable. The sponge contains the cleaning agent, so there’s no need to have an additional product. Do not flush the sponge. Dispose of it in the trash.
15) Windex (regular kind – just 1 bottle)
16) Pledge Multi Surface Antibacterial Everyday Cleaner – If you have special surfaces such as wood, use this product instead of Clorox Multipurpose. Use with a dry microfiber rag.
17) Cleaning caddy – Keep all your products in the caddy, so they can be moved around your house. Only one set of products is needed. You want a caddy that is rectangular, with straight angles, and not overly divided.
18) Trash bags in sizes according to trashcans in the home (very important to always line your trashcans. To avoid ruining the look a nice-looking trashcan, use transparent bags. Pro tip: knot the rim of the bag to make it fit the border of the trashcan. Hide the excess bag between the trashcan rim and the bag rim.
19) If you have dogs/cats, you will want these two things:
a) Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Lithium-Ion Cordless Hand Vacuum
b) Evercare Pet Extreme Stick Plus 100 Sheet Lint Roller (and extra rollers) Or some other product with this purpose. Pro-tip to use lint rollers: do not dispose of the cover. After using the product, peel off the used sheet and leave the new sheet ready to use protected with the original cover.
Follow A Process
Assign a day to wash towels and bedsheets. A good idea to simplify your life: have only one complete set of towels per person, per bathroom, and one set of sheets per bed that truly complement the décor. When it is laundry day, wash, dry, and place them back in use. No need for storage space. No need to fold.
Wash bathroom rugs at least once a month.
Assign a day for each household person to do their laundry (from start to finish on that day). That way, family members take turns and there are no loads of clothing waiting around for washing.
Accumulate all dirty dishes and utensils inside the dishwasher. At night, run the dishwasher. Empty the dishwasher completely and put everything away, first thing in the morning (or before bed). There is no need to keep that strainer or piles of dirty dishes around the kitchen day after day.
If you have dogs or cats, it’s probably a good idea to vacuum once a day or at least once every other day. With the cordless vacuum, this is truly therapy.
Keeping disinfecting wipes in the kitchen and bathroom makes it easy to wipe off surfaces as often as needed.
At least once a week, clean the inside of toilets with the toilet wand and the outside with the Clorox wipes. Clean all surfaces with wipes and clean the mirrors with Windex.
Keeping a bottle of Clean Shower in your shower or tub helps you use this product daily. When you do this, this product virtually eliminates the need to clean the shower! Probably once a month you’ll want to scrub the tiles and all other areas with Ajax or a Mr. Clean Eraser sponge.
Dust all that you can see with the duster. It is so easy to work with this product, that you’ll get in the dusting mood quite fast. When finished, just trash the duster.
Always clean top to bottom and left to right so you can keep track of what has been done. Also, dirt falls on the floor and you want to leave the floor for last.
Finally, use your vacuum all over, go over the floor with the dry Swiffer if desired, and finally, use the wet Swiffer to clean the floors.
Don’t forget to dress your beds, re-place bathroom towels, and change all trashcan liners at the end.
Get yourself a wonderful glass of wine and take a bubble bath in your clean tub!
All this is exponentially easier if your house is uncluttered and organized. If it is not, let’s start with that, shall we? Then you’ll see how easy it is to maintain your home clean.
Social distancing and quarantine times, are they over? It’s hard to say. We’ve been too long on this. So, all that time we have been at home and with our loved ones? Make this time count!
Some of the practices we observed during 2020 and 2021 are still here, and some are here to stay.
For example, many companies have realized they are more productive when employees are at home. Therefore, more and more people are adopting this trend as the new normal.
In addition, some schools have kept remote learning as a permanent alternative for the students. As a result, we still share our home space (and for more extended periods) with other household members.
When we are closer together under one roof, clutter and lack of systems seem to hit us harder. Thriving under these conditions requires adjustments for most of us.
But change can be very positive, depending on how we take it. I, for one, have discovered a new joy in being around my husband and children. We have created a productive and harmonious work and play environment for the most part. And I don’t need to mention how ecstatic our dog is with this at-home arrangement.
But living, working, studying, and playing in closer proximity to each other for more extended periods may cause previously considered menial details about our space to appear more significant and bother us.
So here are some things that might help us enjoy our new way of co-existing to make the best of the situation.
Keep It Clutter-Free And Clean
Strategically place boxes of tissue throughout the house.
Have a trash can in every room and take out the trash daily.
Have antibacterial soap or sanitizer on every sink.
Wash towels and sheets more often.
Handle your incoming mail daily, rapidly, and efficiently. The last thing you need is more paper clutter around your home.
Take 15 minutes at the beginning of each day to put the house in order-clean the counters, vacuum floors/carpets, and open up shades or curtains to let in the sunlight.
Gather dirty dishes and utensils inside the dishwasher throughout the day so counters remain clear. It requires putting away clean dishes every night before bedtime or first thing in the morning, so the day starts with an empty dishwasher.
Get caught up with your laundry as soon as possible. Laundry is often the nemesis of many households. You don’t need the added clutter right now. Read my laundry process blog if you feel this is a weak point.
Embrace a Positive Attitude
Make beds every day – this gives you a sense of accomplishment to start your day.
Get dressed as if you were going to work or school – when you dress up, this shows in your demeanor on the phone and Zoom calls.
Enjoy Family Time
Go on walks outside with the family – if we are together at home, we can take advantage of that.
Watch a movie or play board games as a family – welcome back game and movie nights.
Get to know each other better!
Develop a system to ensure everyone takes their supplements and medications consistently.
Grocery shopping needs strategic planning to have what we need while avoiding waste. Although we eat more meals at home, buying more than we need leads to food waste. Have a well-planned system.
Go to bed and wake up at the usual time every day and keep meal schedules – these two practices allow the body to maintain a routine and feel better.
Assign spaces for each household member to work or study. These spaces can vary by day, but it is easy to control clutter and to have an increased focus if everyone has a space on their own to operate each day.
Avoid distractions by making sure your pets are cared for before starting your business or school day. Ensure your pets have adequate food and water, have gone outside (if applicable), and have safe and comfy areas to rest.
Try listening to Binaural Beats using headphones while you work or study to boost productivity. Binaural Beats in the Beta pattern may help promote concentration and alertness. Listening to Beta waves helps to increase focus, productivity, critical thinking, decision making, situational awareness, and memory. Beta waves also help increase your energy, sharpen your hearing, and improve overall well-being.
To take productivity to the next level, combine the binaural beats experience with the diffusion of essential oils that enhance your mood and increase brain activity. Young Living Essential Oils are the purest oils you can find. Some oils that improve brain function and affect mood are Vitality, Joy, Awaken, Motivation, Frankincense, Peppermint, Sandalwood, and Lavender.
I believe this time will show us that we can move forward in more productive and efficient ways than we ever thought. As a result, we will arrive at a better place as a society.