the power of putting stuff away
I am often asked if my house is always tidy since I'm an expert in decluttering + organizing. The answer is, for the most part, "yes"!
The reason I say "for the most part" is because everyone's house gets untidy from time-to-time, even the home of professional organizers. What is helpful in my family is that if our home does get a bit unruly, it doesn't take long for us to reset it to baseline because we have routines like the weekly reset and habits like a #focused15 that we've nurtured which helps us keep our home clutter free a majority of the time.
Trust me, I haven't always been tidy ... just ask my mom! I share this because many people think in order to have a tidy home that you have to be a tidy person. Well, it's just not true. You can, through practice and focus, create new habits. For me, the biggest change I've made is putting things back when I'm done with them.
By taking the Strengthsfinders test, I learned that I'm an Activator, which means I'm really good at starting things. What I haven't always been so great at is finishing tasks, and that includes putting things back when I'm done with them. This habit (yes, it's a habit!) of not putting things back was the reason almost 100% of the time why my home (or my office, or my car) fell into the clutter trap.
I unearthed the reason why I had trouble putting things back surprisingly when I committed myself to a year of daily meditation. I found that what really got in my way of putting stuff away was that my mind was cluttered and always on overdrive.
Instead of finishing the simple task of putting my dish in the dishwasher, I would just set it near the dishwasher. When I was tasked in my meditation practice to focus on being IN the moment rather than thinking ahead to the next five or six steps, after some trial and error I realized it was way easier for me to take the extra seconds to put what I just used away prior to beginning a new activity.
As a person who moves and thinks fast, it does take intention and gentle reminders/mantras throughout the day to pull myself back to present to fully finish what I'm doing. It's been an incredible personal growth journey for me and it is one of the biggest reasons that our house has resulted in being tidy almost all the time. Also important, I've noticed as a parent, it's easier to ask my kids to put their stuff away when mine is also put away because I'm leading by example.
If you're struggling with clutter in your house, take a week to evaluate how good you are at putting things back in their designated places. And see, if like me, you might need to put a little more effort into slowing down enough so that you can finish what you start.
Photo credits: Jes Lahay Photography
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