I’d say the thing that has surprised me the most about minimalism is that a minimalist home doesn’t equal a tidy home.
I’d also say this was probably the most disappointing realisation!
I’ve talked before about how I can easily maintain my home in times of stress, as it becomes an area of control and peace.
However, when I’m feeling more relaxed the mess creeps up on me.
And lately our home has been quite untidy! We have been carrying on with our seemingly endless renovations and DIY tasks. This has involved ripping out flooring and overhauling the garden. We’ve had to move furniture, pile objects onto tables and invest in new tools and equipment as we develop our green fingers.
Ironically, I find mess really stressful. So I constantly find myself in a vicious circle of being stressed and tidy, then relaxed and messy, which then causes stress…. and so on.
And when the mess started to build up again over the last few weeks, my initial thoughts were:
‘I’ve let the clutter build up again.’
‘Where has all this stuff come from?’
‘We need another big clear out!’
But I found that when I searched through the house, there wasn’t really anything else to get rid of. It’s not that we have too much stuff, it’s just that we’re not keeping it tidy.
After all, even if you only have 5 things – if you leave all of those things scattered on the floor or the dining table, your house will still be messy.
So unfortunately for me, minimalist doesn’t equal mess free. You will still need to tidy up. So here are my tips for keeping your minimalist home clean and tidy!
I still declutter every week. Sometimes I only find 1 thing, other times I can fill a small box.
Even with the best intentions we still manage to bring new possessions into the house frequently. Whether it’s simply junk mail, stationary from the office or a tool that someone has lent us for our latest project. Doing a quick run through of your house can keep you from holding onto the new items of clutter than you collect.
I have also found that things I initially held onto and are making their way out of the door – slowly but steadily.
Keeping clutter to a minimum is a sure fire way to help keep things tidy and manageable.
Everything in its place
This is the most important tidying rule in my opinion. Everything you own should have a home within your home!
If your items don’t have a place to go when your done using them then it’s no wonder your house gets messy! I love a clear surface and having anything on the sides feels messy to me. I have to reach compromises with J who likes having some things out, but anything we’ve agreed doesn’t have to stay out gets put away into drawers, cupboards or onto shelves.
But without a designated home, those drawers, cupboards and shelves will soon become unmanageable. To give items a home, you just need to use some common sense. So any stationery goes in our spare room/study, kitchen utensils and cookbooks stay in the kitchen, shoes and coats live in the cupboard under the stairs and so.
To me a tidy house has clear floors, tables, windowsills and countertops. Everything needs a home to make this happen!
Spend time every day
To keep it tidy you’ll need to spend some time picking up after yourself everyday.
Sadly, we need to use things to get by. I wish it wasn’t the case but it’s unavoidable. From the mug and spoon you use for your morning brew, to your toothbrush, the book your reading or the TV remote. Everyday we take things out of their homes and use them.
Now, when I’m being messy, I just put them down after using them. And that’s where it all goes wrong!!! You must return things to their rightful home, ideally when you finish using them, but you could also do it at the end of each day. Which brings us onto…
Bedtime pick up
Even if you’re the type of person that puts things away straight after using them, it’s still worth building in a fifteen minute slot each day before bed where you flit through each room setting things in order. This might include putting things away, taking out the rubbish, straightening cushions or giving the sink a wipe down. Just make the time to do what’s needed to reset your home and have it nice and tidy for when you wake up.