I’ve had a couple of people ask recently how I keep my house so clean, simple and uncluttered. First of all, I don’t. Not all the time.
I have a couple of piles in my kitchen right now, just like the next person, that I need to go through. And they’ve been there for over a week. But, AJ and I both will say, that for the most part we have a place for everything. So, our house could look like a disaster, which it does often throughout the day, because Drew will throw out every toy from his toy box in the living room and then empty our spice drawer and pots and pans onto the kitchen floor. Often I have books scattered over the kitchen floor and a fire engine is sitting right next to me as I type this and a hedgehodge is on the seat with me (not a live one, thank goodness!).
When I was in college my friend Naomi used to torture me and come in my room and mess up something just to see how long I could stand it. I would fix it while she was still in the room (can we say “OCD”?). I was neurotic about a clean and organized space until AJ and I got married and we bought our first house to flip three days after tying the knot. And then everything went to pot (well, at least in my eyes). I had piles of laundry I hadn’t taken care of! We had STUFF everywhere in our guest bedroom! Our condo was 800 square feet and we needed oodles more space. Our guest bedroom couldn’t house people because it had extra supplies for the flip (insulation, saws, etc). It made me batty but we couldn’t do anything about it.
Then we moved in February 2010 to our current house. It had double the amount of square footage the condo had! 1600 whopping square feet! We never wanted to use the current master bedroom as living space because it was so gross so we just stored a few things in there until we started living in it full time when Meredith was in the hospital and we had family with us each weekend.
If Drew wasn’t around I could whiz around and clean (I don’t just mean straighten up) the house in an hour and a half or two hours. I clean the bathroom every week, Monday mornings while Drew is at the sitter so he doesn’t breathe in the wonderful smell of bleach, and I try to make cleaning fun for Drew throughout the week (I always like cleaning, I think it’s fun and it’s cheaper than therapy) and let him push the vacuum or Swiffer. He loves it. In fact, sometimes he tries to ride on our vacuum or balance on top of it. But then I tell him that he’s not a little circus act doing bareback riding standing up on a horse so he needs to get off.
Most mornings I’ll do dishes after Drew finishes his breakfast so I don’t have any left over from the night before. Often AJ and I are dead tired in the evenings so at least a couple will get left in the sink overnight. The dishwasher is run every day or every other day. Drew loves to get the dishwashing liquid and fill it up. When I empty the dishwasher I assemble the Tupperware. I know that seems like I’m wasting space this way but it doesn’t matter to me… it is so much easier to find the size, with the lid I want, in the morning while making AJ’s lunch. Our buffet holds extra dish towels that don’t fit into the drawer, napkins (cloth and paper), extra plates and the coffee maker.
OFFICE / PAPERS
AJ is amazing at keeping our papers filed and organized. The desk upstairs in the guest bedroom looks a little disorganized now (ie: not as good as it looks in the photo below) but I know he’s got a system going so I try to stay out of it. Because we have a number of rental properties he really has to stay organized and he has folders for everything and keeps a different checkbook for each property. We keep a large file cabinet in the guest bedroom closet where it’s out of sight yet is still useable.
MASTER BEDROOM / BATHROOM STORAGE
We lucked out with our master bedroom and were able to create two closets out of dead space that was previously drywalled in. In one closet I keep all my running clothes and PJs and the other we use as a linen closet because there wasn’t one with the house. Speaking of linen closet… we needed a space for all of our products that we aren’t using every single morning and have them in a skinny cabinet behind our master bedroom door. It’s perfectly situated in between our current bathroom and the disaster area that we are going to turn into our master bathroom when someone hands us a wad of spare change.
Eeek I can’t believe I’m showing you this awful picture. A) because it’s blurry and B) because it’s gross. AJ’s clothes are on the top rack, mine are the bottom. They aren’t organized but I did just pull out all my summer clothes and have them in the bin under my regular waredrobe. We have put about zero man hours into this closet so I hope to have some nicer photos to show when we have the time to put into it.