Thursday, April 20, 2017

Only Touch it Once

Piles of clutter are pretty much the most draining stressor known to woman. Nothing kills your joy at home quite like looking from one mess to another- piles on the desk, piles of laundry on the floor, piles of toys strewn through the hall.

I try to stay on top of my personal piles, organizing and tidying regularly... but they still build up. I know that in part its having so many small children {I get interrupted mid-task often. They tend to collect things everywhere we go. Life is busy and exhausting.}... but a big part of it is also my bad habits.



Housekeeping has never been my strong suit. I'm notorious for not cleaning up after myself, and being overly optimistic about what I can accomplish in a given period of time. I also tend to think, "I'll just do this later when I have a little more energy." Spoiler alert: later never comes.

I keep coming across the advice to only touch something once. In seemingly every book I've picked up or article I've perused recently, it's tucked away: if you are done with something, put it away immediately instead of just dropping it where you are.

Sort the mail as soon as you bring it in. Clean up the breakfast dishes as soon as breakfast is done. Put away that tool before moving on to the next project.

It goes quite nicely with my resolution for the year of cleaning up as I go.

So I've been trying to adopt the habit. Put the cereal away as soon as I pour a bowl for a kid. Scissors back in their jar immediately after cutting a paper doll for little miss. Homeschool books and supplies back in the drawer as soon as we finish with them {which has made lunch time prep SO much easier!}.

It occurred to me in all of my decluttering and organizing to take it a step further. What if I could only touch the useless, cluttery items in my home ONCE? And like, never again?!

If I'm taking all of the trouble to go through our home area by area, finding a specific place for each item, and getting rid of the extraneous... why not do it as I'm already putting something away?

For example: that annoying little chotchke the kids picked up at a birthday party. Let them trash enjoy it for a few more days? Or just quietly pitch it now {so I never have to touch or think about it or nag them to clean it up ever again?!?}? The answer is obvious.


Cleaning up the many coloring papers and crafty projects strewn under the table? Decide which ones to save in the portfolio, and recycle the rest immediately so they don't move between piles and floor for days or weeks.

Or less obvious things. The various items on my desk that seem to just get shuffled around as I clean, but are never really used and aren't adding any beauty to my home? Maybe it is time for them to go.

It's changed my perspective as I go about my daily housework. I'm trying to think hard about each item that I touch and decide if it still has a place in our home.  If so, what is that place? By putting it in the ideal place {or the donate box} right away, I'm cutting back on my overall organization/decluttering/clean-up time.

It's making a difference in my home and thought process right now.

Are you in the habit of touching things only once? What has helped you the most with streamlining and organizing your belongings?

You might also enjoy reading Modern Mrs. Darcy's article on completing the cycle. I sure did!

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