I know I am dating myself when I say that I grew up with the idiom, “A stitch in time saves nine.” Those who have never darned a sock or sewed up a rip may not realize that this saying points out that if you take care of a problem when it is small, it will save a lot more work later. This saying also applies to things which happen in your home. Having an organizational home maintenance plan to follow helps you in a variety of ways.
When you stay on top of tasks in your home that keep your home clutter free and organized you give yourself the gift of extra time, extra money, and less stress.
Here are 3 reasons to follow a home maintenance plan:
Many maintenance chores around the house can routinely be done in 10 minutes or less.
Some examples of maintenance chores that you can do in 10 minutes or less each day:
- Putting the dishes in the dishwasher and clearing the counters after supper
- putting away the clean laundry one load at a time
- sorting the day’s mail
- clearing your and desk at the end of the day
However, if you do not tend to these maintenance chores, dishes, laundry, mail, and desk clutter can pile up and become overwhelming. Now, what would take 10 minutes can take hours. Food is crusted on plates, the pots and pans need soaking even before trying to clean them, and the counter is sticky. The mixture of items that came in the mail are stacked high and maybe in more than one place. Clean and dirty clothes can become mixed together. They take up space in your living room and bedroom as well as in the laundry. The desk is a nightmare.
If you don’t take the short amount of time to follow a home maintenance plan and do the tasks in a timely manner, then you have to find the lengthier time at some point to deal with the mess that has resulted.
The time element is obvious but what about money?
- Keeping your clothes cleaned, mended, and put away allows you to put together outfits easily and know exactly what you own.
- Sorting your paper daily and filing important papers in desktop files and permanent files shows you what papers need action.
- Putting your food away in the pantry in an organized fashion lets you know what foods you have on hand and what foods are about to expire.
- Keeping your calendar maintained and checked at least weekly lets you know when you have appointments, need to return that library book, or when you should change the filter in your furnace.
If you ignore these home maintenance tasks, they will eventually cost you money.
Clothes that are not spot cleaned and washed or mended must be tossed. If you don’t know what is in your closet you are much more likely to impulse buy new clothes that you do not need.
When you do not maintain mail and paper, you end up with overdue bills, late fees and charges, bank fees, library fines, tax penalties, and perhaps a fine for driving without a current sticker on your car. You also lose gift cards, checks, and work-related opportunities.
When food is stuffed into cupboards or left out on counters you lose track of what you have. You repurchase items you don’t easily see. Food that you have is not used and expires. With the high cost of food, not organizing and maintaining your food cabinets and cupboards is expensive.
Missing doctor appointments or business meetings will certainly cost money. Neglecting to change the filter on your furnace or getting your car in for its maintenance check will really hurt if you end up having to replace the car or furnace.
Maintenance keeps your home a calm, safe refuge from all the craziness of the world.
- Keeping your living room uncluttered and organized allows you to relax, read, watch TV, and entertain in that space.
- Having your kitchen counters and table clear allows you to easily prepare meals and perhaps enjoy a meal in your kitchen.
- Making your bed made and putting all clothes and clutter away in your bedroom encourages a good, restful sleep.
- Keeping up with the laundry lets you get dressed easily each day.
Stress occurs when you do not maintain these areas. If the first thing you see when you enter your home is clutter you immediately feel your stress level rising.
Leaving clutter lying around reminds you of all the chores you need to do.
Letting items from one area spill over into another blurs the purpose of each zone.
Bills lying on the counter or table remind you of the task of sitting down and taking time to attend to them.
Seeing laundry stacked in your bedroom reminds you that you need to catch up with the laundry. This robs you of your chance to relax. Reduce stress, make it easier to get dressed each morning and put clean clothes away.
Having your kitchen counter overflowing with paper, leftover food, and groceries makes it stressful to prepare a meal.
Simply said, “Less mess equals less stress.”
Who doesn’t want to save themselves time, money, and stress? Develop a home maintenance plan that will make that happen!
If you recognize that you are struggling with maintaining your clutter and want some help or accountability in working your organizational home maintenance plan or projects join Diane Quintana and me in our Clear Space for You virtual support group.
Jonda S. Beattie, Professional Organizer owner of Time Space Organization, and co-owner of Release, Repurpose, Reorganize. She is based in the Metro-Atlanta area. As presenter, author of four books as well as a retired special education teacher she uses her listening skills, problem solving skills, knowledge of different learning techniques, ADHD specialty, and paper management skills to help clients.
This is so true!
Here’s one for me: if I don’t have a schedule for maintenance, I will be so busy dealing with “emergency needs” that I will never get to it. It took me awhile living in my home to sort of figure out what needed to be done at various times of year. I keep a running schedule now, and add things in as I think of them. Some occur some years but not others. For instance, this year we are having a lot of rain, so my outdoor cushions will be moldy and need more attention. Last year, during the drought, they stayed fresh all summer.
In the long turn, maintenance not only save you money, it just makes your space more pleasant to be in!
I couldn’t agree with you more. The stress from thinking about something that needs to be done, that you keep putting off, is a waste of energy and time.
I really liked what you said, “ Leaving clutter lying around reminds you of all the chores you need to do.” Chores then just multiply before your eyes in no time at all.
I’m all about 10 minute tasks. I was just talking to a friend last night who said she doesn’t like all the commercials on television. I said I love them because I jump up and do a task and it helps get things done.
It’s so much easier to jump in for 10 minutes and clean up the kitchen, go through the mail and put away the laundry then letting it pile up!
I love doing 15 minutes organizing tasks. I can fit them in throughout the day. Great reminder! I’m going to share this one with my followers. =)
I just read a post that Janet Schiesl wrote about slowing down. And as I read yours, I realized how this related. So often, we think we are TOO BUSY to devote those 10 minutes to closing the loop, handling today’s mail, putting away the clean folded laundry, or mending the tear in the shirt. All of the NOT doing has future consequences. So the ability to slow down to take care of the simple home maintenance tasks does save time, stress, and money in the long run. Take a deep breath and lean into the short actions that will keep the flow of things at home more manageable.
I just returned from being away for a few days. Before I left, I spent about 10-15 minutes clearing the decks so that when I returned, everything was clean and in its place. It felt good to come home to that.
I agree with everything you said. This reminds me of how having a maintenance plan in place makes things seem less like an onerous shore and more like a natural action. It’s like how little kids fuss and use all sorts of energy to avoid brushing their teeth (wetting the toothbrush, blobbing toothpaste on the counter) but adults don’t give brushing their teeth a second thought. It’s just part of the normal body-maintenance routine, and it keeps them from fretting about healthy mouths and fresh breath. Similarly, as you spell out, having a plan that you can tackle in bite-sized pieces means straightening the living room or clearing the kitchen counter won’t feel any more like labor than brushing your teeth!