Tuesday, July 6, 2010

When cleaning contributes to clutter

One of the best reasons to get your home organized is that it makes it easier to clean. Without piles of stuff on the floor and on your surfaces, it's simply easier to do routine maintenance and keep a clean home.

Some people hire help to clean their living space. Whether you have a one bedroom apartment or a five bedroom house, if you have a regular (or not so regular) cleaning person or cleaning team in your home, they may get the floors, windows and surfaces clean, but they often contribute to disorganization and clutter. How can this be? Well, unless they live with you and are intimately acquainted with all your drawers, cupboards and storage spaces, they aren't going to know where things live. They are going to see a pile of objects on your dining room table and instead of finding the specific home for each item (assuming you actually have a designated home for each item), they'll sweep them all up and stick them in the nearest cabinet for you to sort out later. Your dining room table will gleam, but you'll be frustrated when you are trying to find the scissors and they are not in the pencil box by the phone but somewhere your cleaning person stashed them.

Old Hi-8 Tapes 
I see this all the time in clients' homes. They will often have specific spaces for their things, but if they haven't communicated those spaces to the person putting the things away, they inevitably end up someplace else. This doesn't apply just to cleaning people. It's all well and good if you know where to find things and put them away, but what if your spouse needs the label maker and you aren't around? Plus, you don't want to be a position of having to tell people where things are all the time, or worse yet, getting things for them. Speaking of label makers, the solution to both the cleaning person problem and making it easier for everyone in the family to coexist with an organizational system is labels.

If you label where things go, it makes it much simpler for everyone to find things and put them away. Your cleaning person will thank you, and your time can be spent on other things beside locating items for your family members.

Creative Commons Old Hi-8 Tapes by bredgur, on Flickr.
Lelah Baker-Rabe is a Los Angeles-based professional organizer. To discuss your organizing needs, call her at 818.269.6671 or email lelah@lelahwithanh.com 

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