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how to be tidy

(27 Posts)
kansasmum Mon 14-Dec-15 22:44:50

I need lessons in the above. My house is clean, hoovered dusted but it's ALWAYS untidy. There is stuff everywhere. The breakfast bar has a small basket with " important items" in like my address book, calculator, various manuals for small appliances like the new kettle( fill up switch on - why have I kept the manual?!!)school letters,and other crap that I might need and don't throw out just in case.
Where do you keep stuff that you might need in the future?
I am sick of stuff everywhere. I throw stuff away/ donate/recycle lots of stuff but there's still stuff just there!!
So come on tidy people. How do you do it day after day and KEEP it tidy?

midsummabreak Tue 15-Dec-15 12:51:54

I am same a you- interested in advice smile
I think to start with we need to throw anything that hasn't been used for a while- in the last year? ( like that kettle manual)
I have papers /stuff on kitchen bench, but every time I clear it, other stuff reappears from kids bags-notes, etc. My children are reminded to make bed/hang clothes, bring out their washing and they are learning to put on a load of washing & I do get them to clean the toilets and vac their rooms, but always not long until messy again.......................
I have 4 children, and a home that is 1/2 renovated, so it is never going to be home beautiful, but any hints love to hear also

StarryStarryElf Wed 16-Dec-15 10:24:44

I read the (much raved about) Marie Kondo book, I was very cynical but I followed it and it actually worked!

BertieBotts Wed 16-Dec-15 10:28:26

You need Marie Kondo. Definitely. It's brilliant.

WhataRacquet Wed 16-Dec-15 10:29:43

Same here, house is clean but messy. I seem to be forever moving stuff from one place to another. Wish I had a spare room to chuck everything into! I think it's lack of proper storage as I am not a hoarder. Don't know what the solution is.

I manage to keep the sitting room clutter free but the kitchen and my bedroom are a disaster.

Tried Marie Kondo but couldn't keep it up. I think I will try it again after Christmas.

Pointlessfan Wed 16-Dec-15 10:29:52

I was going to suggest Kondoing too and it would be a brilliant way to start the new year.

StoptheRavelry Wed 16-Dec-15 10:37:24

I think it is very hard to keep a house tidy unless you have set it up to work from the start.

Basically I think you need a place for everything, and only then can you put things away - but the place itself has to be ergonomic, as it were, (not sure if that's the right word) what I mean is it has to be intuitive and easy to maintain.

So, a shelf or hook by the door for your keys (easy)

keep shoes and boots where you put them on or take them off

keep papers near your desk

important stuff in a particular place

I've moved from a flat to another flat and this one works very well and is much tidier, simply because the layout works better for us - so we have proper sized bedrooms for the children, not one huge room for me and a tiny room for them - all toys instantly belong upstairs. Sorted.

Clothes belong on the upper landing in a giant chest of drawers - this means all their clothes stay there, even if they leave them on the floor, and I can put them away or in the washing without having to search among their toys, or even go into their rooms.

The only problem we really have is a small hallway and landings, which means we have nowhere to keep shoes or pushchairs and that really annoys me because our last hallway was vast. sad

You can't have it all! smile but another bonus here is that we have put the washing machine in the bathroom, which is pretty big, and that means the aundry cycle is very compact - clothes get taken off before a bath or shower, bunged straight into the machine and out again to hang up on the airer.

I also have a large number of plastic lidded boxes in which I try to sort various items so they are all together - and small stationery drawers - for pens, pencils, rubbers, rulers - a box for coloured papers for the children to use - it's all got its own little department. I have discovered I have about 300 pencils and maybe 20 pencil sharpeners blush I will never need to buy anything ever again just because the existing one is lost.

I've gone from total chaos to - well, Bohemian perhaps grin as we don't make much effort, so it's still a bit of a tip - but at least I can find my pants. And things do HAVE a place so when I want to tidy up, I can, and it looks nice.

It's setting it up that makes the difference. Otherwise you will forever have random boxes and bags of STUFF that has no home.

It's taken me almost a year to get this far but it is so much calmer to live in.

FinallyHere Wed 16-Dec-15 10:40:32

Once you have a place for everything, and everything in it's place, adopt the mantra 'don't put it down put it away'. I still hear this, in a special deep voice my mother used only to intone 'don't put it down put it away'

StarryStarryElf Wed 16-Dec-15 10:41:19

I did have to adapt the Kondo book, with small DC's you have to do it a bit differently. I had a space behind the sofa with piles, 1 waiting to go to the tip/charity shop and another of paper work as it was everywhere in the house. Another pile of stuff to be sorted (you can't do toys properly when the DC's are around as they will tell you that every last item 'sparks joy').

I think at one point the sofa was about 6' away from the wall and I worked until about midnight several nights on the trot to get it done while the DC's slept.

BertieBotts Wed 16-Dec-15 10:45:09

The way I adapted Kondo to do with DC is that I just break everything up into smaller categories and once a category is done, it stays done. Haven't moved onto the tidying process yet, am still in discarding except now we are moving, so I've paused it (yet again) - been doing it over a year now, because I suck at sticking to anything, but I will definitely get back to it as soon as we get unpacked (she says, optimistically!)

BertieBotts Wed 16-Dec-15 10:49:28

But yes, the point is, that you can't make tidiness happen from nothing. You need to set up a system that works, and the Kondo book is a step by step guide to creating that system, so it should work. I'm on a few Kondo threads/boards in various places and it does seem to work for most people, even people who finish and say "I'm still having X issue" seems easier to solve when you've been through the whole process.

My favourite bit of the book is when she admits that she is actually very lazy and disorganised and that's why she has to have everything so precise, it appealed to me.

RB68 Wed 16-Dec-15 11:04:56

I find if things have a home then its easier to stay tidy and if it gets messy easier to find somewhere to start to tidy up!

NoSquirrels Wed 16-Dec-15 14:26:39

It's deciding on the "Place for Everything" that gets me, and prevents me from putting everything in it's place.

Big intuitive things, fine - shoes and keys by the front door, towels in the airing cupboard, nail scissors in the bathroom cabinet, wrapping paper & Sellotape in a drawer etc., clothes in wardrobe = all fine.

But the flotsam and jetsam of everyday life - the appliance manuals, the cute picture you mean to scan and then frame but you never get around to scanning it, the business card for the carpet fitter you'll probably want again at some unspecified point in the future, the odd creation loving made by a DC, the half-finished tester pot of paint that you'll need to take to the shop to get the big pot, the top that came off something but you can't quite remember what but know you'll kick yourself when it turn up, topless = all that stuff drives me mad. I don't know how to sort that stuff and find it a "place".

Ditto toys - fine to categorise and store Lego, or Playmobil, or cuddles, or dressing up, but what about the small bits of tat that the DC think are important and give them joy but can't go in a labelled drawer?

OliviaDunham Wed 16-Dec-15 14:56:54

Squirrels I have spent many hours sorting DCs toys into baskets, one for super heroes, one for cars etc etc - I give up as they never keep them separate! I now aim for as long as they are put away in A basket, then that's close enough.

Scattymum101 Wed 16-Dec-15 16:44:42

I think the biggest thing for me was letting go of those 'just in case' items.
I take pictures of things I think I might need or keep a note in my phone.
Appliance manuals can be found online.
I have everything organised into labelled boxes, from stamps to seeing materials.
We're moving and I plan on having a serious organisation in the new house as its much bigger so will be much easier to have a place for everything thank god.

RedMapleLeaf Wed 16-Dec-15 18:01:50

But the flotsam and jetsam of everyday life
Ok, for right or wrong this is what I would do.

- the appliance manuals...*
Magazine holder on the bookshelf or chuck it

the cute picture you mean to scan and then frame but you never get around to scanning it
Scan. It. Now. I'd probably chuck it

the business card for the carpet fitter you'll probably want again at some unspecified point in the future...
Scan it although I'd probably chuck it

the odd creation loving made by a DC
Scan it.

the half-finished tester pot of paint that you'll need to take to the shop to get the big pot
Go to buy it tomorrow or write the details on your To Do list. And then chuck it.

the top that came off something but you can't quite remember what but know you'll kick yourself when it turn up, topless

I'd chuck it and then chuck the topless thing away too when it turns up.

imip Wed 16-Dec-15 18:12:20

I'm by no means clean, but I have a solution for appliance manuals, guarantees, instructions etc. I hole-punch them all and then put on a lever arch file. This is despite the fact that I generally know they are online (not the case for my mamas and papas cot). And now where do I put the lever arch file!!!

imip Wed 16-Dec-15 18:14:52

I feel like am imposter on this thread blush

I also have 4 DCs and struggle. I used to keep all plastic bits and bobs party bags, doll parts all the usual junk kids collect. I felt guilty throwing it away to fester in environmentally on a rubbish dump. But now I recycle it! God I hope it's all recyclable!

thenewaveragebear1983 Wed 16-Dec-15 18:24:29

I downloaded kondo's book and today took 2 binbags of handbags and scarfs to the charity shop plus 2 boxes of books. It felt quite exhilarating! I raised my eyebrows a little when I read about rolling up socks and how it makes them unhappy, and I'm not sure about things like the sink plunger which does not fill me with joy, yet neither do I want to chuck it away. But I definitely see the benefit in discarding all the excess stuff.

StoptheRavelry Wed 16-Dec-15 18:55:02

Actually and importantly, NOT all appliance manuals can be found online. That's why they give you the paper version.

Also depending on how long you're thinking of keeping your appliance, the manual may not be available in a few years' time, and what if you want to sell it or pass it on to someone else?

No, keep the manual. Treasure it. I have a Really Useful Box for these. With a clamped lid. Under my desk.

Business cards go in another Really Useful Box on my desk (a small one, they stand up in it) Children's drawings go in another plastic box. Picture frames in a cardboard box as they fit better.

Random toys without a category go in a wheeled plastic toy box with a lid. We have regular sort outs of toys.

Ornaments made by the children get displayed till they break or all the sequins fall off when they end up either in said child's room (in a box) or the bin, depending on attachment.

midsummabreak Wed 16-Dec-15 20:32:37

'don't put it down put it away' -am going to be saying this too,over Christmas and New Year -thank-you Finallyhere and will be looking at Marie Kondo- inspired to hear others are winning the battle

I will need some bribery to get my teenagers picking up their clothes/papers from their floor on daily basis, to maintain their rooms where you can walk through and not trip and nearly knock yourself out falling over But it is so worth it, you guys have reminded me,thanks kansas mum for thread
OK i confess i spend time on this site specifically to avoid clearing/sorting finding places for stuff but this thread has caught me out and shamed me at my own game...................-I'm getting cracking this week,will spend an time after work with the children helping to declutter 2015 stufffff (Hmm now I've written that will I stick to it? It is tooooo addictive this Mumsnet, lots of great chatting threads)

kansasmum Wed 16-Dec-15 22:45:25

Thanks for all the ideas. Have tried Kondo but gave up. Must try harder! The " don't put it down put it away" thing is KEY I think. I am FOREVER putting something down on the side/table/breakfast bar etc to out away later except later never happens!
Scanner is broken but could photograph stuff I guess.

BertieBotts Wed 16-Dec-15 22:58:08

Sink plunger - if you had a blocked sink, would it bring you joy then as it allows you to fix it rather than phone a plumber? Yes/no? If so then keep, if plumber/chemical solution would bring you more joy then chuck. That's how you do "joy" on utilitarian stuff.

I remember when my hoover broke. I was almost ecstatic when I got a new one. Obviously I don't love my hoover now. But basically, imagine being without that useful thing and how useful it would be to have it.

I divide DS' stuff up into categories. Characters are "figurines" - can be displayed on a shelf or chucked in a basket. Vehicles all go in a big tub. Then he has a tub for gadgets (wind up toys, mini magnifying glass, LED keyring torch, you know) and treasures (random pine cone, lolly stick, 100000000000000 conkers which I occasionally thin out, etc) They do get mixed up but I sort them out every now and again. I agree baskets are key for kid stuff especially the cheap crap that they profess to love but never play with.

I don't scan/photograph stuff, I'd only lose it. You can chuck an alarming amount of paper, though. Anything we need to keep I have an A-Z home file thing from WHSmith which works well.

To be fair about manuals - I don't think I've ever had a manual for a second hand fridge or washing machine. Ever. Half the stuff I own I've never looked at the manual, because it's not that complicated. For something which might be fixable if it goes wrong, or which has a lot of settings, yeah, keep it, but for a toaster or something, don't bother.

BertieBotts Wed 16-Dec-15 23:00:20

But, I mean, how complicated is a fridge? You open it, put food in, done. You don't need to give somebody a manual, they'll work it out. And you can find old manuals online going back to about 1985.

Scattymum101 Wed 16-Dec-15 23:38:23

I think I need to seriously get Kondo-ish when unpacking all these boxes. I thought I had done really well in minimising the crap but actually now I've had to pack the house up it's alarming how much clutter I still have. Argh.

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