S.T.R.E.A.M.L.I.N.E. – A is for All Surfaces Clear
A – All surfaces clear
Whilst working in the City many moons ago, a clear desk policy was a must. This wasn’t only to file away sensitive information, it also ensured that you would be faced with a clear desk the next day, ready to start work.
We probably don’t have any sensitive information at home that needs filing away daily to prevent prying eyes from getting hold of it, but even so, we should apply this policy. Why? Because horizontal surfaces attract clutter – if we don’t keep on top of it, it will increase, spread and spill over!
Flat surfaces – we have so many
Every flat surface in our home should perform the function it was meant for. Kitchen worktop – food preparations; dining room table – eating; coffee and side tables – remote controls, lamps and consumptions (but empty cups and mugs belong in the kitchen); Our bed, probably the second largest flat surface in the home – sleeping & relaxing; and the biggest flat surface of all: THE FLOOR…
Flat surfaces – what happens to them
Every time you walk into your home with your hands full, the first available surface looks like the perfect place to drop your stuff, to be dealt with later…in comes the next person doing exactly that and before you know that surface is no longer useful and has become a dumping ground.
Flat surfaces – why keep them clear
Why is it so important you might ask – because flat surfaces are where things happen. Quality time is spent eating together, doing art or games. If the dining room table is full of stuff, we won’t be able to do this. If papers are piled upon papers on a desk, will you remember to pay that bill, or has it sunk to the bottom of the pile? And the bed, can you get into it at the end of a long tiring day without having to clear papers, clothes and towels?
Flat surfaces – how to keep them clear
Remember the principle “surfaces are NOT for storage but for activities”.
Paperwork and laundry are the two areas that seem to be never-ending streams of output. So let’s concentrate on these:
When you pick up your post, rather than dumping it on the nearest surface, open it – guaranteed a lot can go straight into recycling. Separate the letters you need to action and put these in its allocation place. Magazines you want to read, leave them on your coffee table or wherever you sit down to read, it takes only a couple of minutes, but will save you loads of time in the long run.
Washing, drying and folding one load of laundry and putting it away, taking 20 minutes every day must be preferential to spending hours over the weekend, time you would like to spend with your loved ones.
Flat surfaces – what next
How can we change our mind set that we don’t dump but deal with things that we bring into our homes? Firstly, doing little and often, saves a lot of time in the long run. Time which is precious to all of us. Secondly, coming into a clear home and not being greeted by piles of stuff, will give an instant feeling of safety and comfort. You want to enjoy your home, not dread it.
The most important habit to adopt is to put everything back in its place when you are finished with it. When you leave the room, so do all the items you have brought into it but don’t have a place in that room.
It might take some time to break old habits, but if you stick to it, your home will be tidier, more organised and a pleasure to live in.