Cluttered Home=Cluttered Life

You see it in news feeds on Facebook.  You see it on Twitter.  Someone takes a picture of it and posts it on Instagram.  You see a picture of it in a magazine.  You see it on a 5-minute segment of your favorite daytime talk show.  CLUTTER! They tell you it can be done in these few simple steps, show you the before and after pictures.  Then you fall down the rabbit hole of thinking you can do it too because they made it seem so simple and the end result was perfect.  Is this real? Can it be this simple? Will I achieve this same result?

The answer to those questions is yes and no.  You must be realistic about your situation, lifestyle, and habits.  When working with clients who want me to make the magic of decluttering their house look like that perfect picture they saw, I must let them know that decluttering is an ongoing process.  It involves behavioral modification, an emotional rollercoaster ride, daily tasks, and one of the toughest of all, TIME.

Behavioral Modification: You have to figure out the WHY.  Why am I constantly living in a state of clutter?  You have to deal with the HOW.  How can I continue to live like this? How can I make this go away?  Next is the WHERE.  Where do I even start?  The biggest step in this process is the WHO.  Who can I turn to for help?  This process can and will be mentally challenging for some.   It will help to keep a diary or notes on how you are feeling about the clutter in your home.  As you take the journey of decluttering, the notes help you understand the underlying cause or at least guides you towards the path to figuring it out.  Some can do this on their own but if you are able to afford/have access to a mental health professional, they can help guide you through this process.  It is not an overnight fix and will require you to work on the WHY and HOW, which can then lead to the WHERE.

Emotional Rollercoaster: Your house has been cleaned, you are happy, and feel good about yourself. Two weeks later, you feel sad, depressed, and unhappy with the way your life is going.  You have no energy and cannot figure out why.  You are constantly exhausted and stressed.  You stay sick but cannot pinpoint the reason why.  You isolate yourself from others because you don’t want to have others see you living like this.  You are now back to where you started-CLUTTERED.  You feel overwhelmed when facing your clutter.  Your anxiety builds up as you pull into your driveway or unlock your door to walk into your home.  These emotions are real and can lead to high-stress levels.  You cannot turn these emotions off at the snap of a finger, however, working on behavioral modification is key to helping with the emotional rollercoaster living in a state of constant clutter can cause.

Daily Tasks:  Set a timer, schedule at least 2-3 days out of the week you will dedicate at least 10 to 15 minutes to concentrating on one area.  This helps you to stay focused and keeps you on task.  It is better to accomplish mini tasks/goals versus being disappointed by creating a larger mess in multiple areas of your home.  Everyone in the household MUST participate in this process.  If more than one person contributes to the issue, then they need to participate in the process as well.

Time: Yes, someone can come into your home and make all of the clutter disappear, but it can return just as quickly as it disappeared, especially if you haven’t taken the time to figure out WHY is it happening.  I recommend to all of my clients who utilize my organization services- time, patience, daily to weekly tasks, setting up a system that works for them and their household. There is never a perfect time to get the process started, you simply have to schedule it into your Calendar of Life.  It is a necessary process that you have to be involved with and committed to deal with.  The timeframe will vary from person to person but do understand that time can include months to years, not just hours and weeks.  You have to pace yourself and give the systems that are set up to help you time to work and be modified.

Decluttering is a process that cannot be rushed.  It takes time for the clutter to build up and so it will take time to get it sorted.  You have to allow yourself to open your mind by setting mini-goals and start utilizing systems that will help you stay focused and get the job done.

Exterior House Care

Things you can have done to the exterior of your home without having the service providers enter your home. (COVID-19 adjustments).

This is not a complete list of some of your exterior home needs but more of a list to help you figure out what you can get done during this COVID-19 pandemic. As always, do your research on the service provider you are thinking about using before you schedule your service. Reviews are a good way to help you figure out if that particular service provider is right for your project.

1-If you have a deck, rear or front, this is the time to get it inspected and re-stain or seal if needed. Catch small repairs early to avoid expensive costs later. The same goes for your wood privacy fence.

2-Remulch your flower beds or garden beds.

3-Get your roof inspected to catch small issues before they turn into huge, more expensive issues.

4-If your house is painted, inspect to see if it is time for a refresh. If you have vinyl siding or brick, take a walk around your home to see if there is a need for pressure washing.  Also, check your driveway and sidewalks to see if they need to be pressure washed.

5-Get your gutters inspected and cleaned of their fall and winter debris.

6-If you have and use your fireplace on a regular basis, this is a good time to get your chimney inspected. For this one, the service provider may need to come inside to inspect the inside of the chimney from the fireplace.

7-Inspect your garage door and its components to ensure they are in proper working order.

8-Does your driveway need to be repaved? This would pertain more so to those in rural areas who tend to have extensive driveways/roads to enter their property.

9-Powerwash your home, driveway, decks, etc.

10-Get some much-needed landscaping done. 

11-Great time to get your windows cleaned (after the pollen leaves of course)!

The Forgotten Zones

The forgotten zones are the areas and places that we tend not to think about during our daily routines of living in our homes.  We walk by them and don’t even think twice about the goodies that lurk there or we say “I will get to that later” but we never do.  When you have an odor in your home and you have no clue as to where it is coming from, it may possibly be coming from one of these zones! Below is a list of some of the common places that are considered the forgotten zone that we never really clean or think about cleaning until we either have to move an item out of the way to replace it, paint or remodel.

Bathroom exhaust fan, bathroom air vents, behind/underneath appliances, behind/underneath furniture, top of the refrigerator, crumb tray on the toaster oven, keyboards/laptops, light bulbs (dust), top of the ceiling fan, shower curtain/liner, remote controls, kitchen trash can, garbage disposal, kitchen backsplash, lint catcher in the dryer, the washer and dryer, house plants (real/artificial), light switches/covers, doorknobs/handles, air ducts, window screens, vacuum filters/canisters, warming drawer underneath the oven, pet beds, litter boxes, throw pillows, mattress cover, duvet cover.

Challenge yourself by taking the time to write all of the forgotten zones in your home and be sure to add them to your cleaning schedule!

Junk Mail Overload

Most days when you get the mail out of your mailbox, it is full of sales advertisements, coupons, catalogs, and credit card offers.  Good ole “JUNK MAIL!”  For most, this is a big issue, and part of the main reason they have so much paper clutter in their home. 

Listed below are a few resources for you to look into in order to help ease the burden of receiving so much “JUNK MAIL” in your physical mailbox and e-mail inbox. I do advise that you do your research to make sure the company/item you are using to opt-out of a variety of things is legitimate and that their site is secure if you are sending your request online.

https://www.optoutprescreen.com/

DMAchoice.org:  https://dmachoice.thedma.org/static/about_dma.php

https://www.ims-dm.com/cgi/optoutemps.php

Spectrum:  https://www.spectrum.com/policies/your-privacy-rights-opt-out.html

https://www.donotcall.gov/

https://catalogchoice.org/

https://www.ecocycle.org/junkmail

DISCLAIMER:  In no way is Hook Cleaning & Organization Services receiving endorsements of any kind from any of the above-mentioned resources.

Who Goes First

This is the age-old question that can vary from person to person, place to place, and expert to expert.  Do you vacuum first then dust or do you dust first and then vacuum.

 At the end of the day it is easier to dust from top to bottom and then vacuum; if you are doing them both during a routine cleaning session. Sometimes you may dust on one day and then vacuum another day.  In the perfect world and perfect scenario, it is recommended that you dust first and then vacuum.  However, my suggestion is to do what works best for you, your home, and your schedule.

The most common issue with vacuuming first is the reappearance of dust/dirt on the items you recently dusted.  The best way to avoid this issue from happening should you vacuum before you dust is to perform PROPER MAINTENANCE on your vacuum cleaner.  YES, maintenance.  This is one of the major appliances that gets neglected the most as far as maintenance is concerned. Most vacuums are used until they no longer work which typically happens from uncleaned filters and canister which leads to loss of suction and more stress on the motor.  It is important and I always recommend to clients to clean the filters and canister of their vacuum to get the longest life out of it and to avoid the reappearance of dust/dirt onto your furniture and floors.  This can be done by following the manufacturer’s instructions on how to properly maintain your vacuum or central vacuum system.

Overall, effective vacuuming can only work if maintenance is done on a regular basis.  So regardless if you dust first then vacuum or vacuum first then dust, the end result will be the same with a poorly maintained vacuum.  As stated above, do what works best for your home and schedule.  

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