The Ultimate Answer to a Major Housekeeping Problem

Are you struggling with your day to day housekeeping? All too often the biggest enemy to keeping a clean home is surrounding you as we speak. Are you feeling overwhelmed by the amount of stuff in your home? It is crippling to your productivity and can be hard to know where to start when it comes to purging the unnecessary items that seem to be taking over. You need this ultimate housekeeping tip that will activate your declutter engines and propel you towards victory over your stuff!

Imagine this scenario:

One day, out of the blue, you bump into your second cousin on your mother’s sister’s side. You have never met but you form an instant connection. She is looking for a place to stay and You think, “She’s family! She can come live with us for a while!” Loving the idea you both agree for her to take on some key responsibilities around the house in exchange for you providing her a place to stay.

And what a wonderful help she is… at least at first. After a while, you begin noticing that the help is now intermittent at best. Then you notice she’s starting to cause more messes than she is cleaning up. She spends her time lying on the couch watching TV or sitting at the table play Sudoku. Everywhere you go in your house you find evidence of her presence: in every closet and on every surface. You are late to work because your keys are lost in the mess. You buy another pair of scissors because you can’t find the last pair. The kids want to invite their friends over but company is strictly prohibited until you can figure out what to do.

What do you do?

Would you ever allow this scenario to take place in your house? Well, of course not!!! But, we do… everyday… Think about it. You meet a few “must have” items in the home décor section at Target. You have a connection. They promise to make your house a better place if you just give them a home. And…. before you know it, you’re drowning in stuff!

I realized that, while attempting to cut through the clutter that had taken over my house, I had been asking the wrong question when trying to conquer the clutter monster. I asked “Is this an item that I can justify keeping?” when I should have been asking “Why should I let it stay?” There’s a big difference.

You would never let your second cousin on your mother’s sister’s side disrupt your household like that. In the same way, you should not let your “stuff” take over your cupboards, closets, and cabinets without providing a currently useful service. Your stuff needs to “earn its keep” so to speak. If it’s not, then it needs to go. 

Your possessions are meant to bless you but, if you aren’t careful, they can quickly become a curse. I reached the point where the clutter had begun ruling me by consuming my time and making my home chaotic! Hours upon hours of cleaning were eating up my life and with no seeming progress. I was late for everything because I never could find my keys. My closets were an embarrassment. I know I purchased things two or three times over because I couldn’t find what I had previously. If people would offer to drop by the house I would make arrangements to meet them elsewhere, spend the next few hours feverishly decluttering, or apologize and blame the kids for the mess. Sound familiar to anyone?

So how do we start digging ourselves out from under the clutter? I’m so glad you asked.

housekeeping tip 3

1. Ask The Right Question

I was trying to think of a good way to determine what stayed and went and was working on all these elaborate systems, questions, and flow charts (yes, I did even come up with a flow chart that I was going to share with you all)… And then it hit me…

I wouldn’t let some person come in here and live in my home without any useful contribution to our household (kids are the exception to this rule, of course!). Why should I look at my “stuff” any differently? Why should I try to convince myself to keep something when the item in question should be convincing me of its usefulness?

definition of freeloader

2. Is your “stuff” earning its keep?

And the light bulb went on! I started asking if my “stuff” was earning its place in my home and after that, the yard sale/donation/trash piles began growing by leaps and bounds!!! I began to think of frequency of use as “paying rent” and asked my if it would pay sufficient rent to earn its place in my closet/drawer/home.

Obviously, items that I use daily, would certainly pay me the appropriate “rent.” But items like baby things my kids had outgrown that we wouldn’t use until the next baby… Nope! I can easily and intentionally replace those items when the next baby comes along. I found items that I had been holding onto since college. These things hadn’t been paying “rent” in over a decade! It was high time to give them the boot!!!

Even things like sheets, towels, and clothing items… Do you have clothes you are embarrassed to wear? Are there towels and sheets you don’t won’t let guests use? Think about it… I had a closet overflowing with towels but only about a quarter of them were “guest worthy.” Most were discolored, tattered, and embarrassing. WHY WAS I KEEPING THEM??? 

3. Change the Mindset

Making a complete mental shift is difficult but once you do it, things are so simple and so clear! As soon as I did, eviction notices started flying and I sent the clutter queen packing! My decisiveness now gave me the drive to attack the rest of my house and get it completely clutter free!

And now…… I’M FREEEEEE!

This declutter tip gave me a sense of pride in my home, strengthened my marriage (my husband can’t believe who I have become… His dream wife!), and allowed me to live in the simplicity of this new mindset.

So go ahead… Try this ultimate declutter tip! Go evict a freeloader in your house today and tell us in the comments how it made you feel!

  1. Hey Melody,

    Nice post! I really liked the question #2 you posed: “Is your “stuff” earning its keep?”. I hadn’t really though of looking at stuff with this question in mind.
    I have a small organizing business in Germany and often think about the right questions to ask,
    Thanks for the inspiration!
    Andrew recently posted…Die 6 Top Gründe für einen OrdnungscoachMy Profile

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