Home Improvement: Step #1 (in 5 easy steps…)

Now… moving on from invitations, allergies, and food in general, we turn around from our computer, and look at the disaster that lay before us. Or, if you’re really on the ball (or just a really cool person), you look at the tidy, welcoming home that lay before you. If, like me, you tend to find yourself closer to the disaster, this post is for you. And me.

I am by no means an expert on interior design, home organization, DIY projects, and the like. But, there are a few things that I have found incredibly helpful in making our home a nicer place to be.

Fact: You want your home to be comfortable.

Counter-Fact: You don’t want it to be so comfortable (or “casual”) that it looks and/or smells reminiscent of a locker room.

Fact: You want each room to be inviting, welcoming, cozy.

Counter-Fact: You don’t want to, or can’t, spend much time or money making it so.

These are facts that many of us encounter, and probably ponder on a somewhat regular basis. If you’re planning to have guests in the near future, you’re probably pondering this right now. What do you? Where do you start?

The junk mail is spilling over from that table near the door. An interesting combination of laptops, remote controls, Cheerios, socks, and Amazon boxes are scattered all over the living room, and very little seating is readily available. The dining room has turned into an office, the foyer looks like a forgotten mud room, and the kitchen and laundry room are morphing into one, unified mess.

Sound familiar? May be you don’t have Cheerios, but, let’s face it: for many of us, if it’s not Cheerios, it’s popcorn, or cookie crumbs, or some such remnant.

So, again: what do you do? Where do you start?

Step #1: Declutter

And, no, that’s not a word. But, it is a very frequently used non-word in our family, and is always our first step. It’s a great task for kids to help with, too! What does it mean?

  • “De” – a prefix meaning “Remove” or “Reduce”.
  • “Clutter” – Noun: “A confused or disordered state or collection”.  Verb: “To fill or spread over in a disorderly manner”.

So, De+Clutter would mean to “Remove or Reduce”+ “a confused or disordered state or collection”. Make sense?

Decluttering (We’ll use the Living Room as our example):

  1. Look for trash, and deal with it. (Tissues; paper towels; packaging from recent orders; old mail – including those great coupons that won’t/can no longer be used; etc.)
  2. Collect remote controls, DVDs, CDs, and put them away PROPERLY. Yes. In the drawer that’s almost empty… perpetually. You can do it, and it will feel amazing when you’re done.
  3. Collect any dishes and deal with them (place them in the dishwasher or wash them by hand).
  4. Find all those miscellaneous things – journals, flashlights, misplaced coasters, magazines, sunglasses, random earbuds/device chargers, purses, wallets, SOCKS! You know… all that stuff. Just start chipping away at it. Laundry goes in the hamper, coasters go on the side tables (nicely), etc.
  5. Now, dig deeper. Look under the furniture! Repeat the first 4 steps, this time underneath the couch: Trash, Remotes/DVDs/CDs, Dishes, Misc.

And, there you have it! Step #1 in 5 easy steps.


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