I grew up in a cluttered home. In addition to being raised during the Great Depression, my parents grew up in Hawaii during a time when the longshoremen often went on strike. As a result, they stock up on items and keep things that have little or no value because they might “need” them someday. I’m completely the opposite. If something in my home doesn’t serve a purpose or enhance the environment, it’s gone.
Visible clutter makes me crazy! For example, I had the credit card receipts in a pile on the counter, because I intended to check them against the bill. I was pretty busy for a few days, so there they sat, and looking at a pie of unfinished business annoyed me. Finally, I put them in the desk where they were at least out of site. (I did verify the statement the next day, though)
Perhaps because of my discomfort for untidiness, I try to keep my home what I call “5 minutes from company ready.” What this phrase means is that the house is basically clean, but there may be a few things out-of-place that can easily be remedied in 5 minutes. Examples include: Clean dishes in the dish drainer, the day’s unopened mail on the dining room table, and reminders of things to do (for example, bagged dry cleaning sitting by the front door).
Another practice that helps keep a home tidy is putting things away immediately. It also saves time and effort. For example, if you place your coat on the back of a kitchen table chair instead of hanging it up and then move it to another chair (since it’s in the way when it’s time to eat) and then eventually hang it in the closet when tidying up, you’ve added two extra steps to the process.
You might wonder why it’s necessary to go through the trouble of being “5 minutes from company ready” since friends and neighbors rarely visit without notice. My reply is that you never know when you may have a visitor, and it’s nice not to have to frantically stuff everything into closets and/or drawers or to be embarrassed by “the mess.”