By Heidi Meyer
We hear a lot about maintenance or the lack thereof which for example leads to power outages because maintenance to the power stations had not been done, poor maintenance on Telkom lines lead to breaks in internet connection. The poor conditions of roads due to lack of maintenance despite allocation of funds. So does everything degenerate into disrepair if it is not maintained.
This then happens in our homes if we don’t maintain order on a daily basis. CHAOS (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome) starts to pelt down.
Most South Africans are blessed with domestic workers that have mostly taken over the role of the housewife. Can we however expect them to organise and manage our private spaces? They are after all employed to clean, do our laundry, mind our children and do the shopping. Isn’t it too much to ask of a domestic to keep your spaces neat and tidy, whilst everyone in the family just leaves clutter, dirty dishes, laundry and toys lying about? How will your children become responsible young adults if there is always someone around to clean up after them?
I get the same comment from many home owners; ”Excuse the condition of the house, my domestic was off yesterday, I work full time and don’t have time to keep my house tidy”. I sometimes wonder how people in other parts of the world seem to be coping just fine without a domestics, let alone one or two that end up chatting more than actually cleaning.
I do not expect anyone to do all the work! I have a domestic too, but her job description is solely cleaning and deep cleaning the home and doing the laundry.
So, what can be done that your home is organised, clean, neat and tidy? Quite simply, make it easy to put things back where they belong?
Everything you own should have a home
You and everyone in the household should know where things belong and be responsible to put it back once used.
Label containers or shelves. It will make you think twice to just put things somewhere to get it out of the way. It will encourage those in the household to put things where they belong!
Have well planned cupboards, good storage boxes, organisers and baskets
Well designed cupboard spaces give you a good range of opportunity to store your possessions; whether it is clothing, jewellery and accessories, cutlery and crockery, files or stationery. I still believe the optimal cupboard storage would be drawers below the chest and shelves above. Store out of season clothing, or less often used crockery and what more, on higher or more difficult to reach areas of the cupboards.
Use clear plastic drawer dividers or organisers to conquer clutter by categorising, what belongs where in the drawer, each in its own compartment. This makes quick work of small items like socks and undergarments.
Roll or fold T-shirts and tank tops and store them one behind the other in drawers. You can see everything at a glance without rummaging to find anything. Straighten up every time you remove an item!
Teach your domestic how to fold the clothes and how you want it packed in your cupboards. You cannot expect them just to know how to do these things.
Develop a routine and stick to it
Have a morning routine. Get up, put in a load of washing, make the bed, shower, get dressed, have breakfast,etc.,etc.
Evening routine would end something like; tidying up 10 -15 minutes before going to bed, get everyone involved and introduce NEHS (No Empty Hand Syndrome). Each family member and friend has to take something that doesn’t belong to where it lives and put it in its home.
Put things away when you are done with it
If everyone were to put things away and assist the smaller kids in the family to do the same the house would remain tidy and the domestics would only be left with cleaning!
Edit your possessions
Edit your clothes and other possessions on a regular basis. Overfilled cupboards are extremely difficult to maintain. Always have open spaces on your shelves and in drawers to pack away items neatly for easy access. When you go out to buy an item, make sure that you know where it is going to live or what you will get rid of, to give it space to live. Overfilled cupboards are a drawing card for cloth and fish moths.
Have a basket or bin to put in all unwanted items. Donate or give away any items that you have outgrown or you no longer love or need. Take it to your nearest hospice or charity when you are on the road.
Don’t sweat the small stuff
Every once in a while things will become disorganised as life happens. Nip it in the bud immediately to prevent it from becoming chaos!
Clean the kitchen at the end of the day
There is nothing more satisfying than walking into an orderly kitchen in the morning. Train yourself to put dishes into the washer and clean surfaces before going to bed. This will also assist the domestic to get her work done more easily when she arrives in the morning.
When your home is maintained daily you’ll never have to feel ashamed about it appearance. Everyone will love your tranquil space and enjoy spending time with you and your family.