Why, yes. I said that. It's perfectly fine to have clutter in your home. I bet you do, in fact.
You know what?
So do I.
If you've read previous articles of mine, you know that I think that decluttering should be a part of keeping your home clean. Someone read one of my posts the other day about housecleaning and was so upset by the fact that I said you must declutter your home, that she stopped reading. And then let me know about it.
I still stand by that. How can you expect to clean your home and keep it that way - quickly and easily - if you have clutter all around? Are you moving it as you clean? Or are you just cleaning around it?
Too much clutter in your home makes your house look messy. Clean all you want; it will still look that way. Stack your clutter in neat piles. OK. Still piles of stuff, neat or otherwise.
Wasn't this article supposed to be about how it's OK to have clutter in your home?
Yes. And it is OK.
This afternoon, I needed to get something out of my purse. I keep it in the closet by the garage along with my coats, shoes, a cart with craft supplies, my sewing machine, and more. Hey, that sounds sort of cluttered, doesn't it?
It does! And it is!
When I tried to take my purse out, it turns out that a bag full of ribbon and string had fallen off my crafting cart and landed somewhat on my purse. This is what I pulled out:
Obviously, my closet is cluttered, my craft cart is cluttered, and all of it needs to be cleared out and organized. I might even throw some things away!
Is it Stuff, or Junk, or Something Else?
Maybe I should have clarified this a long time ago. What is it they say? One woman's junk is another woman's treasure?
The stuff that you should be getting rid of and decluttering is anything you consider junk. Of course, if it belongs to a family member, you have to take their ideas into consideration.
If you have a pile of mail on the kitchen counter, I guarantee you some of it is junk. That needs to be gone through and thrown away or recycled.
Or what about your closet? Do you love and wear everything in it? Or are there some things you bought that you never wear? Or maybe you've worn them so much, they're way past their prime. While that might not be considered clutter in your home, it can be clutter in your closet. Wouldn't it be nice to have a closet with just the things you wear and love in it?
Right now, I have two corners on my side of the bedroom that I would classify as cluttered. My nightstand counts in there too. But nothing in either corner is junk. It's all stuff I want to keep and things that I use. What they need is a better home.
Look, we all have stuff. Most of us have too much. I am not advocating a minimalist lifestyle. Not that I'm against it, it's just not what I am about.
I'm also not saying you have to get rid of your stuff in order to have a clean home. I am saying that if too much of your stuff is lying around, it's going to be harder to keep your home clean.
A Simply Clean Home is about helping you clean your home quickly and easily; a little bit each day, a little bit more once a week. You can't do that if there is excess clutter in your home.
Several times a week, whenever I think of it or see the need, I do a quick wipedown of my bathroom sinks. One of them is rather large, easily big enough for two sinks, although there is only one there.
Imagine if that entire surface was covered with clutter. Empty toilet paper rolls, used shampoo bottles, dirty hand towels, you name it. Do I ignore it, and not clean it? Try and clean around it?
No, I get rid of the trash and put anything useful away.
That's all I'm saying.
How to Handle the Excess
Let's go back to my two examples: my overstuffed coat closet, and my bedroom corners.
Theoretically, the coat closet isn't a problem when it comes to house cleaning. It needs organizing and clearing out, but that's a once in a while thing. Something I would classify as seasonal. It doesn't fit into my normal house cleaning system at all. Of course, once stuff starts falling out and hitting you on the head, it's time to clean.
But what about my bedroom corners?
The far corner on my side has a small table that holds jewelry and perfume. To be honest, it looks cluttered and is hard to dust. A tray for holding the perfumes and my yoga mat spray would solve that nicely. The jewelry is in baskets.
But underneath, I have a pile of books, a large stone (amethyst), and two baskets. One is really not holding anything worthwhile, and the other has my crochet in it. What I need is to get rid of the one basket and its contents, get a bookcase for my books, and find a home for my crochet. I probably won't pick it up again until fall.
Make sense? It would make things look less messy and make that corner easier to clean.
It's Your House
My job here at A Simply Clean Home is to try and give you ways to clean your house quickly and easily. In my mind, part of that is reducing clutter in your home.
But it's your home. It should be your idea of a clean, comfortable, and welcoming place.
So if a basket of crochet or quilting or coloring books sitting in the corner says "home" to you instead of "mess", then you should leave it there.
I think in the end, it's all about feeling and emotions.
I remember when I was a kid, one of my older cousins had just bought new furniture for her home. All white. And she had it all covered in clear vinyl to keep it clean. She was very proud of it, but even as a kid, I thought it was kind of dumb. It was uncomfortable, and hot, and really, why buy it if you can't use it?
A home is meant to be lived in. And yes, there will be clutter in your home. That's part of what makes it a home.
A Look Back
When I was raising my kids, we were lucky to live on a street with lots of families and children. Every kid on that street always had plenty of places to go for help if their parents weren't home and they needed it. I loved that.
A neighbor and friend of mine lived across the street. She had four kids, I had three. Two of mine were friends with two of hers.
Our houses were almost always messy. We were raising children and there was always plenty of others at both of our homes. But we joked that it was OK, because we knew that underneath all the Barbies and trucks, the floors were clean, and so was the rest of the house.
People felt comfortable in our home. Kids would serve themselves a glass of water or Kool-Aid, and that was OK. We even had a neighbor's dog who used to drop by to hang out once in a while.
That is a HOME, not a showcase. And that's what I want for you. A house that's clean and easy to keep up, but still warm and welcoming at the same time.
And if people see a little bit of clutter in your home, well, they might feel like they're in their own.
I think that's a compliment.