When I walk through my door, I have a beautiful bench that my husband recently crafted from the back of our children’s old crib. Although I really wanted a bench in the entry and knew that it would get a lot of use, there was also a bit of hesitation. I hesitated because I knew that it could EASILY become a catch-all. After all, what better to do when returning home than to plop down all the things and then go grab a snack, start in on an activity, turn on the TV, etc.
Who would do such a thing? My kids or husband? No, I knew this would be my natural tendency.
I am a go-go-go, what’s happening next, spontaneous type of person sometimes. Ok, maybe most of the time.
But I’ve changed. My freedom loving, carefree-spirit, has learned that it can be even more free with some boundaries and routines and focus. These do not limit, but give me more energy and freedom and focus for things that I’d rather have them for. Because the truth is, I like an orderly living space. I like letting go of clutter. But I had to set the boundaries and establish some routines to keep things in check so that when inspiration hits, everything else doesn’t fall apart. I’ve seen the benefits of them enough to stick with them.
One such routine, that has recently shown itself even more beneficial is the simple act of putting things away when returning home.
I’m the last one to arrive home now, late in the afternoons. I could easily jump into cooking and cleaning, but I’ve already made a habit of taking 10 minutes or so for hugs and hellos, then putting things away in their place. Shoes off first (I work in a place I definitely don’t want to be bringing into my home). Coat hung up. My keys in the tray on my dresser, scarf rolled and put in its basket, and so on. There’s two main reasons I do this:
1. I don’t have to tidy those things later.
There’s plenty of other things to do after the kids are in bed without adding putting my shoes and coat and purse away. One might think, what’s the big deal to do it later? I do it first so that its done and forgotten and I can move on to other things. By the time I get around to it later, my pile of stuff has accumulated more. By keeping that bench clear, its easier to notice when things do get put on it, where as a pile just adds up.
2. I know where it all is the next morning.
I’m still new to this up and out the door first thing in the morning. I am a morning person naturally, but I can still be a little scatter brained. Having put everything away the night before, means its all in its expected place the next morning, so I can sail out the door coffee in hand without running around looking for keys.
Years ago when our kids were much smaller, we had gotten into a pretty good routine with them. We have them take shoes off and put their coats away. We’ve done it for so long, that they sometimes do it without reminding and are certainly not surprised and rarely whine now when I ask them to do so.
Some of you may already do this, some may wonder what’s the big deal. And truly, it is a small thing, that has been helpful for my family and I feel it goes a long way in helping keep things tidy and uncluttered. I’ve noticed a lot lately that its not some big grand organizing method or complex system that makes our home life easier. Its the little everyday habits and routines that can make a big difference.