Of all the people I know, my cousin, Gayle is the epitome of clutter-free. She is one of the most busiest people I know, but lives completely clutter-free in her 1200 sq. ft. townhome she shares with her two teenage children and four cats. Besides being a single mother, she is also a full-time nurse, who for the past 3 years, has joined a medical mission team to Nepal to aide small remote villages with health-related conditions. I’ve visited her on several occasions unannounced and her home is always welcoming and spotless. Her secret: attitude, discipline, and time management.
Your outdoor space is as important as your indoor space. Gayle creates a welcoming outdoor space with tree stumps that were being cut near her townhome. Laura Dux Photography
Change your attitude
If you want to live clutter-free, make it a priority. Don’t expect your home to clean itself. For Gayle, cleaning is an everyday priority.
“I hate clutter,” says Gayle. “It makes me claustrophobic. It may sound strange, but I like my house to have an echo.” The hollow sound she describes is because there’s no clutter in her home. “I feel satisfied when there is no clutter. My philosophy is that when I leave the house, everything is clean.”
Take inventory of what you have and separate what you need from things you don’t. “I don’t have a lot of things,” says Gayle. “I give things away to people I know who are having garage sales.”
For common problem areas such as the laundry room, Gayle puts everything in baskets. “I use baskets on my open shelves. They make everything look neater.”
Laundry supplies are organized nicely in storage baskets. Laura Dux Photography
Gayle believes there is a place for everything. “When I see something I like, I visualize exactly where it will go in my home. If I can’t visualize it, I don’t bring it home.”
Outside her home, Gayle adds candles and lanterns that are inviting and warm. Laura Dux Photography
She doesn’t limit her visualization technique just to purchases from stores. Recently at a memorial service on the beach, Gayle saw a unique piece of driftwood wash onto the sand. “It was right after the service and I knew exactly where I would put it.” The driftwood now sits in the center of her coffee table beautifully displayed to honor a memory of her friend’s sister.
While we talk, Gayle points out the unusual driftwood she found on the beach. Natural elements such as wood and seashells are a simple, yet inexpensive way to accessorize your space. Laura Dux Photography
Shown on the top shelf are three lanterns that Gayle found at HomeWorld Beretania. She knew exactly where she would display them before her purchase. Laura Dux Photography
Practice good time management
Living clutter-free is an everyday challenge. Gayle spends three hours once a week for deep cleaning and an hour every day to straighten and do quick pick-ups. “I constantly have to sweep and mop because of the cats.”
Mau mau, one of Gayle’s four house cats. Laura Dux Photography
“Don’t get me wrong. It’s hard work to keep a clean house.” But it’s hard work that she chooses over watching TV or being on the computer. “I don’t watch TV,” she says “because watching TV is a waste of time. I also don’t have a Facebook.”
With her family’s busy schedule, Gayle uses her cell phone’s calendar to schedule appointments and reminders. “It’s nothing fancy, ” she says, “but it’s important so I can remember what needs to be done.”
When the bark from the stump fell off, Gayle used it as a magazine rack. A simple idea that says organizing doesn’t have to cost a penny. Laura Dux Photography
Are you tired of your messy house? After this interview with Gayle, I was inspired to drastically cut down my tv/computer time and be more productive in my cleaner and quieter home. Has this blog post inspired you to make changes in your life? What simple steps can you make today to live clutter-free? Send us your comments and/or suggestions to have a clutter-free life.
About Terri Dux
Besides being a writer, passionate blogger, and photographer for HomeWorld Furniture, Terri is also co-owner of a local t-shirt craft company. When not watching her favorite TV channel, HGTV, Terri likes to sew, vermicompost, and thrift at neighborhood garage sales.