We all lose momentum at times in our lives and its usually when we are not at our best or we are being pulled in multiple directions. Chaos in the home can quickly take hold and usually when the hullabaloo dies down we can get back in control. But what if the chaos has been there for some time and its looking like it will take an army of willing recruits to sort it? Stress and unhappiness can begin to seep in too. It affects everyone - including the dog! That lead won't find itself.
You know how it works when home is disorganised and cluttered. The doorbell rings and you do a quick scan of the room to decide if you dare open the door. It might be someone that actually wants to pass the threshold!! Can you get all the magazines and children toys under the rug and will they notice the steep incline? Its easier to say you were burgled and they can't come in as forensics would only get confused.
My top tips for dealing with chaos in the home will at the very least get you started and at the very best open up a new way of life where you are willing people to turn up unexpectedly so that you can open the door with a flourish and roll out the red carpet. You will feel calmer and more in control. Walking the dog need not be a stressful event as you will easily find dog poo bags and not have the embarrassment of using a peddle bin liner like last time.
Ask yourself 3 questions.
1. What does the chaos look like? Your idea of chaos will be so different to someone else's. If you are minimalist it could consist of a pile of papers you are not getting around to and the rest of the home looks relatively tidy. Its still chaos to you but not so much to the family that have multiple piles of multiple things in just about every room. The reason for asking you to look and really 'see' is that you are taking stock and acknowledging just what the problem is to hopefully find the best solution.
2. Thinking about who lives in your home who is the person/s that tidy up and who gets stressed by the chaos? I often work with people that have different views in the same family. A husband might be ultra tidy and his wife ultra messy (to him). Marital harmony can quickly nose dive in these situations. Why ask the question? A compromise and good communication is going to have to take place. Each member of the relationship has to change to meet the other half way and only then can they work as a team. If they acknowledge this then its a good start.
3. What would it take for the 'chaos' to be gone? This question is about what you envisage your home looking like. To have a clear idea of the end goal will motivate you to solve the problem. Your solution will not be the same as someone else's because you will have different expectations. Better not to compare your situation and to do what is best for you. You may hate the idea of minimalism and want to retain a family home. That works just as well as minimalism and its still possible for it to be organised.
Having asked yourself the 3 questions above you now have some idea of why the chaos is present and what you are aiming to achieve. So how to do it? Where to begin?
- Start small if you are doing it yourself and you have a busy life. Declutter first. Decide on a priority area - say you choose the dining room table (notorious for being a dumping ground for all manner of objects). Take 3 containers - bin bags, boxes or whatever is at hand - set a timer for 15 minutes and purge. One container for refuse, one for the charity shop donations and one for stuff to keep. STOP at 15 minutes. The charity shop and the refuse go out to the car so that they are out of the house and en route the next time you go on a journey. This stops you tripping over the containers and never getting rid of them of the contents! You have successfully removed things out of your home that contributed to the clutter.
- Repeat the declutter process for all areas that are making you unhappy. If its 15 minutes every day you are moving forward. See the end goal. Once all the clutter is gone you are half way there to being organised. Be mindful of what is coming into the house too. No point taking lots to the charity shop but while you are in there you buy a basketful more! Think about what you use on a regular basis. If something has not been used for a year why keep it? It might be useful one day is flawed logic. Its a safety net and nothing more. The same applies to new things that you just like the look of and don't have a good idea how you will use them. Think twice. You save a ton of money too.
- Finding solutions for storage starts after the declutter. Group like for like items together to see how many you have and you can also see if you have too many. Another purge might happen here. Then once you know how many you have you have an idea of the space you need to store them. Containers are a brilliant way to keep things together and they are easy to find and keep tidy. A box on a shelf is so much better that a collection of pens that roll around and fall down the back of the unit. You lose less this way too. Labels on the containers if its not obvious what they contain saves you time looking in each box and creating chaos emptying them on the floor to get somewhere on time.
Does this feel like a good start? Bear in mind that we are not all the same. Some people can't get started, have no interest in getting started and need support to get going. Some people are too busy and need support so that they can get on with other priorities. A Professional Organiser is your best ally in these situations. They will stand with you to help you purge and then find storage solutions. Once the work is completed you should have a good system to maintain the area and it not get out of control.
I would love to know what is currently causing you chaos in your home. We all have chaos at points in our lives. Share what is stressing you out and you are likely to get some good hints and tips about how to move forward.