If chronic clutter is about your home, don’t despair! Whatever the scale of the disaster, the human mind is able to defeat chaos – at least within a single apartment.
Some people look down on domestic showdowns, considering them to be an occupation that does not require intellectual and creative efforts. They are greatly mistaken. To put things in order in the apartment, first of all, you will have to use your brains. Building a really logical and convenient system in a small space is a real puzzle.
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The easiest way to see the running mess is in the photos. Let’s take a smartphone in our hands and take a photo of each room in four angles so that every fragment of the wall can be included. We begin to look at photographs and write down everything that is chronically out of place.
We should have a detailed list of everything we don’t like in the house. We mentally divide each room into zones and understand what problems there are in each of them. The mess in the kitchen is too general a thesis, let us indicate what specifically worries us. For example, a mountain of bills, receipts and all sorts of incomprehensible pieces of paper on the table, mixed with your favorite newspaper and cookies.
Now let’s try to understand why a mess is formed in this particular place. Most likely, the bills get stuck here because the apartment does not have a special “information” center where it would be possible to store receipts and keep business records.
The result of this analysis will be a list with items of two categories.
- First, we bring in things that objectively lack a convenient storage space. We will return to them a little later.
- In the second, we write down which surfaces are filled / filled up / cluttered. But at the same time, things have a permanent place on them. From here we will start cleaning.
House of Jade Interiors
We decide how much time we can devote to dismantling the apartment painlessly for business and mood, draw up a schedule and try to stick to it.
Even 2–3 hours a week is already good, you can do a lot. The main thing here is not to get bogged down in “showdowns” all weekend. Any overwork on the home front and our plan could be thwarted.
Advice: Stay on time! To do this, start a timer on your smartphone or stove.
First of all, we are fighting with large debris that are in plain sight. We analyze the zones of eternal disorder: surfaces in the kitchen, in the bathroom, in the hallway. A piled-up table, chest of drawers or an armchair where clothes accumulate – these are found in almost every home. It is the mess in sight that grieves most of all, because it is always an eyesore.
Fondazione per l’architettura / Torino
We leave for cleaning with three bags: “give away”, “throw away”, “fix”.
The things that make up the blockage are sorted out and sorted by types or categories, simultaneously throwing out at least what can be sent to the trash can without hesitation. In a separate category, we single out good things that we no longer need in order to figure out how to get rid of them at our leisure: just throw them away, donate or, say, sell.
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Usually cleaning is like a ball: one problem pulls another. They carried the sweater lying on the armchair into the closet, and there – another mountain. We begin to disassemble it, completely forgetting about the chair.
Let’s make it a rule not to spray and clean in several areas at the same time, as much as we would like it.
Important: Whatever part of the apartment we undertake to disassemble, everything we need should be at hand. Garbage bags, bags, boxes or folders for sorting paper, and also a rag, broom with a scoop or a vacuum cleaner, so that, taking advantage of a rare occasion, immediately clean up the vacated area. Otherwise, go to the bathroom for a rag, but on the way decide to check your mail, and there Facebook, friends – in general, everything is gone.
Uliana Grishina | Photography
Why are blockages formed? There are objective reasons for this chronic mess. Laziness as a reason is not included in this list, although it could be in the top three.
- The first reason: some types of things have no place.
- Second: there are more things than storage places.
- Third: storage space is inconvenient – located in the wrong place, poorly opened, etc.
Revealing and overcoming these causes is our main task after the visible blockages have been removed.
Odnushechka | Odnushechka
For example, it is known: if you want to move the door and pull out a cabinet drawer, it is highly likely that a person will not close the door back – this requires more than two steps.
What is the conclusion from this?
- It is necessary to design storage systems so that only one action is required (put the bag, pull out the drawer simultaneously with the opening of the furniture facade). This is how kitchen units with internal drawers are often made.
- It is necessary to arrange storage boxes on the aisle: so that things cannot be left uncleaned, and structures disassembled. In the example with drying in the photo above, you simply won’t be able to go through the door to the next room.
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If the allotted space is clearly not enough, for example, for all the pots and pans that are in the house, and there is nowhere to expand the boundaries, you will have to part with some of the utensils.
In the photo: an example with basement drawers around the perimeter of the kitchen – this way you can increase the capacity of the kitchen set
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Think about what kind of storage devices and how much you need, and only then go to the store. You should not buy containers and baskets just like that, for the occasion – there is a chance that they will add to the list of unnecessary purchases.
And even if the economic crisis flares up again, it will be much easier to restore the order of affairs.
The storage location should be where the item is most often used.
So that a mountain of magazines and books does not accumulate by the bed, we will put a couple of shelves next to it or free up a drawer in the nightstand for this, because we will not regularly carry books to another room where there is a rack. It is also best to keep clean towels in the bathroom rather than in the closet on the other side of the apartment. There are many such absurdities in every farm. Think about how to overcome them.
After we have created the system, we need to develop the habit of maintaining it daily: 10–15 minutes every day should be enough to put everything in its place. They say that in order for any action to become a habit, you need to hold out for 21 days – then everything will go like clockwork.
Mary jo bowling
Mary jo bowling
Unfortunately, it is impossible to put things in order once in a lifetime. Seasons change, activities and lifestyles change, children grow up, and the system has to change. For this, there are general cleanings once a season. Don’t let this confuse you.
Important: In order not to forget about our success, we will take photographs “before” and “after” the reorganization. If you managed to establish a farm once, a successful experience will inspire future achievements.
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This is archived material, first published in 2015, adapted in 2020