Oh! I said that word. I said "need to be decluttered".
Well, I guess that's more than a word, but there's only one word in there I know you hate: declutter.
Why is that?
I actually had someone get so angry at me once for saying that to really clean your house, you need to declutter it first, that she wrote to me about it. And stopped reading my article the moment she saw that word.
Now I've told you before that it's OK to have some clutter in your home. We all do. It's just part of living, especially if you have small children around. And it's our home, our stuff, and we can have it around if we want to.
But I do think that there are three places in your home that need to be decluttered on a regular basis.
One: The Living Room
For most people, the first room you walk into as you enter your home is the living room. Or maybe I should say the first room that guests will see is your living room.
The majority of us want to make a good impression on others when they visit our home and we want our guests to feel comfortable as well.
Surely you can see why the living room would need to be decluttered.
And when I say "decluttered", I mean to your own comfort level.
I'm a casual person. It wouldn't bother me a bit if my next door neighbor and friend came to visit and helped herself to a cold drink from my fridge.
And because of that, it wouldn't bother me if you came over to my house right now and saw my living room with the amount of stuff that I have in there. I think you know that I have a slight obsession with notebooks and pens (weird, I know), so you would see a number of them on the coffee table and the side table near the couch. And you might also see my phone and laptop.
Sometimes my husband brings the mail in and reads it in the living room. He often leaves it right there, on the ottoman or side table. I'm talking things like catalogs and magazines.
So, yes, you might see those as well.
I think that's OK. We live here and we use our home.
Now if there were a stack of magazines or newspapers 3 feet high on the chair or couch or anywhere, that would be a different matter.
So take a look at the first room your guests see when they come in. (I know we don't have many guests these days due to COVID, but we can prepare in advance, right?)
Is there a place to sit? Does anything need to be moved first? If you offered your guest a drink, is there a place to put it? Does it look warm and inviting, or at least clean and comfortable?
If not, maybe you can find some ways to correct that. More on that later.
Two: The Kitchen
They don't call the kitchen the heart of the home for nothing.
It seems to be where everybody ends up, and if you're really lucky, there's something good to eat and drink there too.
So with that homey expectation in mind, your kitchen occupies number two on my list.
You need to keep it clean and it will need to be decluttered; often.
Dirty dishes should be in the dishwasher, not the sink. And if you don't have a dishwasher, at least rinse them and stack them neatly in the sink until you get a chance to get to them.
Dawn has this new product that you just spray on your dishes and rinse. I haven't tried it yet, but I trust Dawn's products so I am anxious to give it a try. If you have tried it already, leave a comment and let us know about it!
Counters should be clear of extra stuff. I'm still trying to get to that perfectly clear counter stage where nothing is stored on the countertops, but I doubt I ever will. Just make sure they're neat.
Hopefully the groceries have been put away, as well as any food that was used during the day. And having a clean place to sit as well as clean floors always helps. Keep an eye on the pet area too and make sure it looks nice.
You don't have to hide their bowls, by the way. My mom always used to do that. Finally I told her as long as they were clean, it was no big deal. Otherwise people might wonder if we ever fed our dog!
Three: The Bathroom
No surprise there, right? You knew that was coming.
I know I talk a lot about keeping your bathrooms and kitchen clean and clutter-free, but they are most closely related to your family's health, and potentially the dirtiest rooms in your home. Unless you have a teen-aged boy. That might be the deal breaker.
Anyway, the bathroom you have to worry about most (assuming you have more than one) is the one that most people use. For most, it's a half-bath; just a sink and toilet. In our house, we have one full bath and two three-quarters baths. That's a bathroom with a sink, toilet, and shower. One of those is also our "master bath".
So it goes without saying that the bathroom needs to be clean. And it needs to be decluttered. It's not hard to keep it that way, so it never really gets out of hand.
You can spray down and wipe the sink and toilet (in that order) in no time. Throw a little cleaner in the toilet bowl and swish it, and you're basically done. Empty the garbage, switch to a clean hand towel, and your bathroom should be in pretty good shape.
My husband is one of those (it's always the men) who likes to read in the bathroom. I finally gave in and added a large magazine rack next to the cupboard in front of the toilet. One side holds his magazines, and the other holds cleaners.
You might want to consider a similar solution if your "library" is in the main bathroom that guests will use.
Also, don't forget the countertops! My bathrooms don't have much at all, so anything more than the essentials won't fit. But if you're lucky enough to have actual counter space in your bathroom, keep it looking neat. Add a tray or basket for little things and keep items to a minimum.
A Few Tips on Decluttering
- Baskets, trays, and containers of any kind can help clear the look of clutter.
- Just a casual declutter anytime you walk through a space can make a big difference. Notice, pick up, and go.
- Sometimes a quick sweep off the counter and into a drawer can be a good quick fix.
- As long as your clutter isn't overwhelming, sometimes a few well-placed decorative items can distract the eye away. A vase of flowers, the newest bestseller on top of a pile of magazines, or an interesting collection of items on a nearby table.
- Finally, remember: your real friends come to see you, not your house. If someone visits your home and judges you based on the way it's kept, it's time to do another kind of decluttering. Who needs someone like that in their life? (My apologies if it's your mother-in-law.)
What do you think are the most important rooms to declutter? Leave a comment and let us know!