Friday, August 20, 2010

Two tidying tips I taught myself

Even with my progress toward minimalism, I still have to do just a little bit of tidying, every once in a while...

I've l earned some great tricks from organising/time saving sites.  But here are a couple of my very own.

Tidying 20 items of clutter to 5 spots! Your room may vary.
Baby Central

When I have stuff scattered all over the floor, the temptation is to run around and pick up each piece as it catches my eye and return it to its proper home.

It's much quicker to push everything on the floor into the centre of the room (or into a box or bag) and only then take all the stuff back home.

I call it Baby Central because...well, make one and you'll see!  Youngsters will be drawn to this irresistible pile studded with their favourite toys. Even if you do nothing else with the pile, your room already looks better. And you can walk again or even vacuum it. Some days, Baby Central is all I can manage.
  1. Visit each messy segment of the room only once to push stuff into Baby Central. This saves you from  running 25 laps around the room, once for each item. 
  2. From Baby Central, it's simple to see 6 items that all belong in one shelf or toy tray or another room and take them in one trip.  Scattered all over the floor, you might only see 2 or 3 at once and take many trips.
  3. Even really small kids can help - they might not know where anything goes but they can sure run around the room for you and put everything in the middle.
  • I remember our last minute packing efforts under the amused eyes of our moving men.  I was still trying to organise the last few things to make unpacking easier.  The guy said, "You're running all over the house - just throw everything in a box!"  And that professional was right.  Not only had I run out of time to be organised, I wasn't even doing my organising efficiently.

Don't forget how grandma used to do it
We have mixed surfaces - carpet, tile, and wood floors. And my vacuum has a setting for hard floors.

But a broom is much easier to use, especially under the table where the kids eat.  So I sweep my hard floor mess into a pile near the carpet, then vacuum it all up at once just before doing the carpet.
  • After sweeping, you can also get some water/cleaner onto sticky spots on the floor (under the table where the kids eat) that can work while you vacuum
  • It's also lots quieter and more enjoyable - I listen to music during housework and I don't enjoy VRRROOOOMMMMMM quite so much
  • It's actually safer! The noise of most vacuums is above the recommended decibel level for extended exposure. So unless you like wearing safety earmuffs (great look), you might as well keep the vacuum on for only as long as you must. 
  • There is some small savings in power too, and every bit adds up, right? 
Bonus vacuuming tip - do you feel lucky?
If you catch yourself thinking "That's big but I bet the vacuum can still get it" then STOP!  Slap yourself with your dustrag and pick that big thing up right away.   A clogged hose is no timesaver.

What sort of vacuum do you have and do you like it?  Anybody have a backpack vacuum?  That's what all the pros seem to use....
  • I like our Dyson but the Dyson co was surprisingly cagey when I enquired if they were ever going to release a backpack model.

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