The home audit

In this session you will have a good look at your home room by room and assess your clutter, storage solutions and routine.

Working around your house in an orderly fashion visit each room individually (including hallways, stairs and landing areas) and locate your dumping grounds or hot spots. Do you always keep things on top of your microwave that don’t belong there? Is your hall table always covered in a pile of post? Is there a pile of pizza/takeaway menus beside the front door? Do you have a pile of shoes at the foot of the bed? Do you have eleven half started bottles of shampoo/conditioner/body wash on the side of the bath.

Once you’ve found all of your clutter and listed it and it’s location you need to decide whether those items actually have a “home”.

Is the pile of towels on the bottom of the guest bed simply because you’ve not yet put them in the ottoman/airing cupboard, or is there no such home for them? Is there a box of light bulbs on top of the microwave because you replaced one last week and you’re yet to put the remainder from the packet away or do you not have an allocated drawer/cupboard/box for light bulbs, torches, batteries, fuses and such like?

Working around your home you’ll end up with a list. I prefer to divide the paper into four columns, the first is the room, the second names the clutter, the third states why and the fourth states the solution.

EG:

  • spare bedroom > big pile of clean towels > dumped in there in hurried panic tidy up when niece came to visit > return to airing cupboard
  • kitchen > half box of light bulbs on top of microwave > they have no allocated home > solution to be found (perhaps in the cupboard under the sink)
  • bedroom > eleven pairs of shoes in a pile at the foot of the bed > the bottom of the wardrobe is currently full of shoes > can I loose a few pairs to make room for these?
  • bathroom > nine started bottles of shampoo/conditioner/wash on the side of the bath > keep starting new > can I decant into a shampoo cocktail then buy NO MORE until these are used?
  • hallway > big pile of pizza/Indian restaurant/kebab menus on hall table that I never use > they keep coming through the door > bin them and as they arrive continue to bin them
  • hallway > big pile of pizza/Indian restaurant/kebab menus on hall table that I do use > first dumping ground as they arrive through the door > purge any you don’t use then find a home for them – how about hole punching them and keeping in a tiny ring binder next to the recipe books?
  • living room > basket of laundry to be ironed > procrastination > get it ironed and put it away or put it away and iron as you wear it.

Continue like this until you have a full list. Once this is done you’ll discover not only the areas in your home that are cluttered but you’ll start thinking about why those items are out, where you’d like them to go and then the hidden areas (cupboards, shelves, units etc) that you need to clear out or purchase in order to allocate those items a home.

If your vacuum is always out on display in the hallway because there’s no room in your under-stairs cupboard, you need to find out what’s in the under-stairs cupboard. I helped a friend recently to clear out theirs and they found tins of sour paint, the wheels off of an old bike, an old TV stand, crates full of old paperwork and about 200 Sainsbury’s carrier bags. Once we’d sorted this out and about 80% of it went to the dump. there was room for not only their vacuum, but also their clothes horse, and mop and bucket that they used to constantly have out on display in their kitchen.

Now – get to it. I’m not saying you have to find all of these things homes instantly, this week, but by knowing what needs a home it’ll inspire you to throw away some of the clutter you are storing in cupboards to make room for what you do need.

That’s your home audit sorted, later this week we’ll be drafting timetables and establishing routines for the general maintenance of your home so you’ll need a diary, access to Outlook, iCal, a telephone/blackberry/PDA calendar or something like Google calendar.

Now get to it and remember – NO WIRE HANGERS.

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One thought on “The home audit

  1. Antony Brand says:

    Housewife dearest

    I have probably cleared about 96 and a half % of 10 years of accumualated clutter and now I really need some advice on storage. No matter how much I do, the place still looks like a bombsite. I know I could do better. Any general advice regarding storage solutions, especially for homeworkers. Especially since my downstairs room needs to double up as both a living room and a workshop.

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