Recently, Patty at Homemakers Daily posted something that really hit home with me—Hot Spots: Solving the Problem Once and For All. In short, her post discusses how to combat your problem clutter areas once and for all. This post couldn’t have come at a better time for me, as I’ve been decluttering and reorganizing everything I can get my hands on.
I am a neat person; I deal with papers and clutter as they happen. But I also have a husband who doesn’t follow that pattern. For the most part, he is fairly neat. But there are some problem areas that really have to do with his belongings. I have tried to contain them as best I can. For example, he likes to pile clothes during the week in one corner of the bedroom. I am okay with this, so long as I don’t have to look at it. The problem is that the one chair on the bedroom is right next to this pile, so I constantly have to move said items from floor to bed to chair and back. It’s a never-ending process. So my solution to this issue was to buy a storage bag where he can pile the items—it keeps the clothes contained, but gives him the ability to chuck stuff in there at will. When it gets too unruly, he cleans it out (only sometimes with a little prodding from me). But it allows me to use the chair without having to fuss with his stuff. (More on the bag and similar organizing solutions forthcoming.)
Another example is the buckets I have placed (one for him, one for me) on our wine rack leading from the front entry way into the kitchen for daily items such as keys, wallet, cell phone, sunglasses, etc. This sometimes works—he doesn’t always place his items there, and that’s when we have to search the house for one thing or another before we go out. But this place also tends to collect mail and papers and receipts. And this is where my hot spot issue comes in—paper clutter.
I deal with all of my papers and receipts as I get them. I hate paper clutter, and this is the easiest way for me to handle it. If on the rare occasion that I cannot deal with it at that moment, I leave a small pile in my bin in the office and deal with it when I can, usually only a day or two later. My husband, not so much.
There is a bin in the kitchen for random mail, flyers, circulars, and catalogs. The items we place in here are really things that we don’t know what else to do with or things that we will look at when we have a moment. When it gets full, we clean it out. And that works fairly well. Lately though, my husband tends to leave his mail and personal papers here, which he will deal with when we clean it out. At that time, he takes his items to the office and leaves it in his second bin there. And when that overflows, he will go through what’s there. The trouble is, by the time that happens, there’s so much stuff that it takes him a good day to get through it all, and many times, only half of it is dealt with, making the “clean” bin still half full. Then more items are added and it gets to overflowing again in no time. You see the never-ending cycle here.
- Papers and receipts near the keys bucket
- Mail and papers in the kitchen bin
- Mail, papers, receipts, God-knows-what-else in the office bin that never is fully dealt with
- This doesn’t even include the few papers he has on his dresser
I can’t take the paper clutter anymore—because it’s not just one area; this particular clutter is spread throughout the house.
Thankfully, I recently came across a little reminder that supports my stance. One of my husband’s New Year’s resolutions was to tame his paper clutter. Not only that, he wanted me to “nag” him about keeping it contained—his words, not mine. I even got it in writing, which is what I recently came across. (Actually, when searching for the post, I realized that he made this resolution for me at the start of 2012! So I’m behind on my work.)
In the near future, I will be reorganizing our office space. At that time, I’m going to remove a bin or two in the hopes that it will eliminate paper clutter collectors. I keep warning my husband so that he is aware of what is in store for him. Whether or not he is indeed prepared, I couldn’t say. But he is well aware that my “nagging” is only just begun and that a new system will be in place for him. I don’t mind a bin to collect items and deal with them when one has time. But moving paper from one pile to another isn’t really “dealing” with it in my view. Plus, if he deals with his piles more often, he wouldn’t have to spend an entire day dealing with them to begin with. I keep telling him this. He keeps yessing me. He knows it’s a problem, admits as much, which is why he wanted me to nag him to begin with. So a year and a half later, I’m making good on my promise. And part of that will be to ensure that he keeps his end of the bargain on keeping the paper clutter to a minimum.
I’m so looking forward to this little clutter buster project that I would like to start to today. Unfortunately, I cannot. But at least it gives me time to work it out in my mind. Much like the planning sweet spot, the organizing sweet spot is planning for how to organizing.