Something I have been trying to do recently to help stay on top of the house is by touching things only once. So what do I mean by that? Let me walk you through what has been a normal routine in our house.
You walk through the door after work or the school run, there is mail on the mat. The school bags get dropped on the floor and the coats get flung over the bannister. The mail from the mat gets dumped on the breakfast bar unopened. The shoes are kicked off and the kids are demanding snacks. You then remember the washing is outside and is dry so you get this in. You walk back in with your arms full and then you spot something that needs your attention. So you just dump it all on the bed or in the ironing basket and move onto the next thing. An hour later you stop moving around and take in your surroundings. It feels like there is clutter everywhere and you have no idea where to start on tidying it all up.
This used to really annoy me, and then I realised by simply by changing one thing I could change all that. By touching things only once, or at least moving things forward onto the next job that was needed, it had a massive impact on the amount of clutter around the house.
If this is how you feel too then why not try this touch things once rule out on the following five things:
Coats & shoes
As soon as you walk through the door go straight to where you hang up our coats and put everyone’s away. Get the kids to get used to doing this too. With shoes, unless you are going to wear them again that day put them away too.
As soon as the kids walk through the door empty their bags and sort through the contents. The water bottles and packed lunches go straight to the sink to get washed up. If there is school paperwork read it straight away and action it if it needs it. I sometimes empty the girls bags, sort out their snacks, make myself a cup of tea and then read and action the paperwork.
If it’s info about a non-school uniform day it gets written on the calendar and clipped on a noticeboard, we have clipboards, to remind you of the details. Birthday party invites are regularly found in the girls bags, check the calendar and if they are free write it on and respond straight away. If it’s a form that needs filling in, do it then and put straight back in the school bag ready to be handed in the next day.
Sorting the mail
As soon as the mail lands on the doormat try to sort it out. After opening it and seeing what it is put the envelope straight into the recycling. If it’s junk then the paperwork swiftly follows to the recycling. If it’s a bill or needs attention, but not straight away put it somewhere for you to deal with later. Paperwork that needs sorting out I put in a box file where I keep things like this which I then action once week. I also file it, bin it, shred it as soon as it’s been actioned too. If it’s an appointment that needs to be made, try and make it there and then.
Whenever a load of washing is dry, don’t just throw it into all into the ironing basket. Sort through it there and then. If it needs ironing then yes put it in the ironing pile but if it doesn’t, put it straight away. The things I mean are underwear, socks, gym kit, towels, sheets etc.
Emails and text messages
Emails are obviously the electronic version of paperwork and the same rules apply. When you check your emails, open each one and deal with it straight away. Once it’s actioned file it, if it’s junk, delete it. The same rule applies for text messages If you don’t have time to deal with it wait until you do. If you are anything like me, and life is busy, we can read messages but don’t have time to respond straight away.
I have been working hard on dealing with these things only once and I have found it really does greatly reduce the amount of clutter around the house. If you give it a go I would love to hear how you get on.