Tuesday, February 20, 2018

How to tidy your house 5 items at a time

Mom2MomEd Blog: The 5 item rule for a tidier house
As moms, Mckenzie and I know all too well how easy it is to feel overwhelmed all too frequently. And, when you feel that way, what typically happens to your house? 

It starts to look--and feel--like a wreck, right?

That's been the case at my house a lot over the last year and a half as we've dealt with my uncle being ill and passing away, as well as dealing with my own health issues (some resolved, some ongoing). When you are sad, depressed, tired, or feeling sick, it's easy to ignore your home.

Dishes pile up and go unwashed.
Floors remain unmopped and unvacuumed.
Windows stay  smudged and grimy.
Counters are cluttered.
And, on and on...

The worse the state of the house gets, the harder it feels to even begin tackling it all, right?


I've tried a number of home management and cleaning plans and systems over the years, and I have to say that many of them are completely overwhelming! They have zones and systems and steps and methods that just add up to a lot of rules and mental clutter for me. 

I need something more straight forward, especially when I'm feeling overwhelmed to the point that I just can't focus and keep track of a system or method or rules. 

One day, when facing my daunting full sink of dishes, I came up with a single rule that has revolutionized my cleaning and tidying style. My house may not be perfectly clean and tidy and organized all the time with this method, but my MIND feels less cluttered and that mental boost goes a long way!

All you need to do is select ONE room or area of your house to focus on and then every single time you go into that room or near that area, you put away, clean, or organized five items. 

That's it! That's the entire process! 


For us, that one area is almost always our kitchen. Every single time my son or I walk into the kitchen we take care of five items--and often, that leads to us getting even more done as often the hardest part of cleaning, organizing, and tidying when you feel overwhelmed is simply getting started, right?

At our house, in the kitchen this might look like:

  • loading five dishes into the dishwasher
  • cleaning the stove, counter, front of the microwave, fridge handles, and top of the fish tank (it lives in the kitchen)
  • sorting and organizing five plastic ware containers (matching tops and lids, for example)
  • tidying all of the items on one shelf of the fridge (more than five items to organize there!)
  • finding five unused gadgets to purge into our donations bin

By consistently doing this every time we go into our kitchen, the kitchen rarely returns to an overwhelming mess. 

Is our kitchen perfect all the time with this method? Hardly, but it is mentally a huge improvement and this method is MANAGEABLE for us.

Give it a try and tell us how it works for you! You don't have to tackle your kitchen or even the same room every time you apply the five items rule. The key is that you simply get started by selecting a small area to clean, organize, and tidy and then tackle it five items or tasks at a time every single time you go near it. 

How do you manage overwhelm and keep your home tidy?
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