One motivation for simplifying my lifestyle was the realization that my time is limited. Sure, I always knew that, but with the addition of a toddler into our family dynamic, there was suddenly so many things I wanted to do with him: parks and playdates and ice cream dates. But between laundry and cooking and ironing and cleaning up after said toddler, there was little time left in the day! Somehow it began to make sense that fewer clothes = less laundry. Less furniture = quicker dusting. The quicker I could cross off housekeeping tasks, the more time I would have to spend on the things I enjoyed more than washing windows and scrubbing toilets.
I used this quote in my first post in this little series on minimalism, but it makes such good sense here too:
"My goal is no longer to get more done, but rather to have less to do." (Francine Jay)
I was hooked on this idea of simplifying my housekeeping tasks so there would be more time to spend with Hugo, and more time to spend on those simple pleasures that were reserved for my ever-shrinking free time. So I came up with an oversimplified plan for housekeeping that takes me an hour or less each week and a few minutes every day. Who's with me?!
This is the very first step to a cleaner home, if you haven't guessed it already. Look for the clutter traps and the piles around your home, find a place for those things to live, and then get creative to prevent them from piling up again.
My mom's advice is ringing in my head about now: find a place for everything, and keep everything in its place.
Two problem areas in our home were the dining table (in the center of the house - easy to drop a pile and run) and a shelf in the same room that seemed to magnetize every stray piece of mail and loose paper. That one was an easy fix - sort the mail as soon as it comes out of the mailbox, recycle the trash, and put the rest in an upright magazine file to deal with later. I addressed the dining room table by making it pretty: an arrangement of flowers and a small runner made the table look beautiful, and seeing it so pretty made me hesitant to "mess it up" with clutter!
Sometimes all it takes is a good organizing session to make your home look clean. Chances are, you'll think twice about plopping the junk mail and that empty coffee cup on your spic-and-span tabletop.
2. KEEP FLAT SURFACES CLEAN
I read that tip here, and it has stuck in my head like a little nugget of minimal housekeeping wisdom. I focus on keeping flat, eye-level surfaces clear of clutter, and minimally decorated. See dining table example above.
3. TIDY EVERY NIGHT
My husband and I take a quick pass around the house almost every night after Hugo is in bed. It's amazing how many stray toys and loose objects we can find, and it's just as amazing how much better the house looks in just a few minutes of diligent tidying. And that's not to mention how it feels to stumble out of bed in the morning and find a clean house and a clean table to brew coffee on. More time for important things like pour-over coffee, right?!
This isn't meant to be a big list of rules to check off (because heaven knows how much I dislike lists of rules to keep), and these little tips aren't necessarily guaranteed to work in your home like they do mine. I'm just sharing the simple tips that have worked to keep our home a little cleaner, our lives a little more peaceful, and our time a little more well-spent.
Tomorrow I'll share Part 2 of Minimalist Housekeeping: keeping your tidy house clean, as in squeaky-DIY-cleaner clean. Until then, please share your tips for keeping a tidy house in the comments! I'd love to add some more nuggets of wisdom to the few I've listed here!