I have taken many steps to try to get my laundry problem under control, but I continue to wrestle with it. The kitchen is a similar stress aggravated by the fact that my husband and I eat three meals a day at home. Then, there is the family room where things come in and never leave.
These three areas have one thing in common: they have a constant supply of input. Every night I deposit clothes into the hamper. Every day I sit and knit or read or watch TV or whatever I’m doing to relax in my family room. Every meal I dirty pots, pans, plates, utensils, and cups, and every week I bring in more food to repeat the cycle.
I’ve been working diligently recently to keep these areas clutter free in my own home, and can share a few tips and advice. I hope that you find at least one or more helpful.
- If you haven’t already read it, start by going to my previous post on dealing with laundry clutter. Following these tips have made my laundry situation bearable.
- Additionally, I recommend making your laundry room as welcoming, cheerful, and serene as possible. A laundry room that is pleasant to be in makes doing the laundry much less of an annoyance. A dark, dreary basement with bare concrete walls isn’t inviting. Spruce up your space so that being in it is a reward, not a punishment.
- Institute a “no food” rule for your family room. No food outside the kitchen or dining room is a good general house rule, too.
- Assess the amount of furniture in your family room. Do you really need four end tables and two coffee tables? I find that the more tables I have in a room, the more stuff I set on the tables.
- Every time a person leaves the room, have them put something away. If everything is properly in its place, celebrate.
- Have a vacuum cleaner/broom easily accessible to the room. I find that I need to vacuum the carpet in this room twice as often as in the rest of the house. Having the ability to use it with very little effort is essential.
- Have a place for everything in the room: a knitting basket with a lid, a storage system for your video games, a chest for children’s toys, a bin for piano music, a CD and DVD solution, etc.
- My first suggestion for the kitchen is to get your hands on Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook. The kitchen section in the book is really good and I learned a great deal from reading it. I reference it a handful of times a month.
- Put dirty dishes straight into the dishwasher. No plates or cups should ever sit dirty on the counter.
- Own dishwasher-safe stainless steel cookware and other kitchen items. If you have to wash it by hand it is likely to sit cluttered on the counter.
- Avoid unitasker appliances and utensils. Based on your cooking style, a few may creep into your home, but it’s best to try to keep these numbers small.
- Monitor what small appliances and entertaining dishes you use, and get rid of those you don’t. I’ve used our reader-suggested dot system for my monitoring with great success.
- If you must store small appliances on your counter, only have out those you use often. My toaster, coffee pot, vacuum sealer, and mixer sit out all the time. I use all of these daily or almost daily.
- Organize your kitchen so that what you use is stored next to where it is used. It’s a bit of a no-brainer, but things like pots and pans should be next to the stove and leftover storage containers next to the refrigerator.
- If you’re like me, don’t use a bread box. I put bread in there, forget about it, and then discover it weeks later all moldy. I currently store aluminum foil, wax paper, ziplock bags, and such in my bread box instead. I set my bread on top of the bread box.
Please feel welcome to add suggestions in the comments section. There are so many effective strategies out there that I couldn’t possibly name them all in this post. So, let us know what works for you!
This post was originally published in July 2007.