What's homeless in your home?

Sometimes my husband has the nerve to say that our house is Cluttered. The C word! Can you believe it??

It usually comes at a time when the kids toys haven't been put away in several days, the mail is still sitting waiting to be sorted and dealt with, the throw pillows from the couch are on the floor and the spare blankets from the closet are wadded up in the corners of the couch.

Well....actually that's what my house looks like right now, so maybe he's right.

However, I prefer the term "lived in" when talking about how my home looks occasionally- and here's why.

For the most part, everything in my home has a home. Getting the living room straightened up will only take about 5 min (and it's on the agenda for after I finish this cup of coffee and this blog post). I don't really consider it Clutter when the things "out of place" are things that were being used. All that really needs to happen is for someone to put them back where they belong.

Clutter comes from things that are homeless.

You know what I'm talking about:

It's the pile of mail that continues to sit out because you don't have a system to deal with incoming paperwork, the stack of magazines that lives permanently on your coffee table, or the library books without a space on the bookshelf.

It's the out of season clothes/decorations/sporting equipment that has no place to go during off season, or the older version of the newest "thing."

It's the stuff that you've stashed in the corner to get it out of the way, the items that you continually vacuum around, dust around, walk around, or just ignore all together.

When it comes time to pick up a room, and certain things don't get picked up and put away because there is not place for them to go- then they become clutter. And nobody likes the C word.

Find everybody a Home
Beverley Street Scene
Flickr Creative Commons
So- if you think your home is tipping the scales slightly from "lived in" to "cluttered," it's an easy fix really. Take a look around and start to identify the homeless items in your home. Either gather them up physically, inventory them mentally, or make a list of them somewhere. And now as you do your normal tidy routine, try to find homes for these things one at a time.

But make sure you actually find them a real home...not a corner of a room, counter, table, or hallway. If you can't find a home for it- something needs to give. Either toss out the homeless item, or evict the tennant of some other piece of previously occupied realestate.

You're the landlord and you're in charge of who lives where- but you can't have a housing crisis in your own home. When the realestate is all taken, there is no waiting list.

Don't stress out over re-organizing your entire home today- just find a home for one thing. Then try to do the same tomorrow, and the day after. Pretty soon cleanup will be a snap because everything has a place to go- and all you have to do is put it there.


  1. So...umm...what if everything has a home but you have a husband that can't seem to put things back in their home?

  2. Now that I'm a little bit older, it's occured to me that a lot of the reason that my room was SUCH a mess as a child was because I had no place to put anything. I had way more stuff than would comfortably fit in the room and I didn't know what to do about it. Now that I'm older and have an entire APARTMENT to fit it all into, things are starting to look up.

  3. Thanks for posting that photo! I feel better about my lived in living room and kitchen - which can be neatened up rather quickly if need be!



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