Cleaning and organizing are like therapy for me. If I'm stressed or stuck on how to solve a problem, I start tidying up. I find it calming and strangely satisfying. Yes, I have a cleaning products company, but I'm not overly fond of facing a vast cleanup situation. It's too big and boring, so I never do it.
How do I get away with it? Well, I have a part-time Housekeeper that helps me stay on top of food shopping and the big stuff, but I also employ a little system that I've used forever (before I could afford Home Help).
I call it the Four R’s: Refill, Rotate, Replace and Recycle
Efficiency is everything. If you put these rules into practice, you'll save time and money and minimize waste. Your house will run as efficiently and smoothly as a ship. Howdy Sailor!
But hang on a minute! This system will only work if you've done the one crucial thing every efficient Housekeeper does: Establish a "Home" for everything. And I mean everything. Glasses and scissors, TV remotes and batteries, a place for everything and everything in its place!
Everything in your house should have an established "home" that makes it easy for everyone to find. And it always goes back to that place after use. This is the most crucial step to establishing an organized, well-run household.
Once everything has a practical place to live, you're ready to maintain the Rs (and will never again have to do that stressful search for your wallet or keys)!
You don’t wear the same clothes every day; you rotate! Likewise, you should switch up the things you use in the house on the regular. For example, if you wash and fold a set of sheets and put them back on top of the other sheets rather than at the bottom, chances are that you will use those same sheets again the very next time you change the bed. Same with towels, dishes, glasses, and cutlery. If you take a second to put freshly washed things at the bottom of the pile, everything will get used equally. That little domestic trick will prolong the life of everything you use and naturally prompt you to keep your drawers and cupboards in order!
Is the pepper grinder almost empty? Is the hand soap running low? What about toilet paper? These things need to be replenished in order to keep the house running smoothly. I’m not suggesting you stockpile supplies like we did in 2020, but a weekly inventory of what you need (preferably before you shop). I used a chalkboard wall in my tiny Sydney kitchen to write down what I needed right when I thought of it, but a small notepad will do the same! Even better, set up a subscription delivery schedule for all the replenishable stuff, and adjust where needed. You’ll usually get a discount and also save yourself another trip to the shops.
A big part of running an efficient house is knowing when something is past its use-by date. Make a reminder to check the fridge once a week for slimy lettuce and expired perishables. Make another one to remind yourself to empty over-full vacuum bags, toss droopy flowers, and tired-looking kitchen sponges. Dispose of these appropriately, and the whole house will look (and smell) fresh. Throwing out old stuff is the easiest part. Nobody gets attached to an old kitchen sponge. Also, sponges are gross. Use a brush instead!
I know this is common sense, and I also know that it is one of those things, like writing thank-you letters or flossing, that is far less of an effort once you make it a habit. The point here is that we want to minimize the amount of rubbish we put in the bin. You already recycle, but decanting will give reusable glass and plastic bottles a second life. Remember that most of your beauty products have recyclable packaging, too! Just remember to rinse them out first. For the rest, anything that still has some usefulness can be donated to charity, upcycled, or flogged on eBay!