That definition assumes yesterday's things aren't out and about, never mind those from the day before and the day before that! So, I can further define "staying organized" for myself as "no more than one day's worth of stuff to be put away at the end of it." (Aby's definition also assumes that everything can be put away, i.e., that everything has a home, though that's a topic for a "get organized" series, not a "stay organized" series!)
I started a job on Monday. (First one in seventeen years!) It's part-time at the Home Depot and I am quite excited about it. My plan had been to whip the house into shape before I started the job, but it didn't quite happen. Wednesday was the first of two days off in a row. My house was a semi-disaster. In my mind, though it wasn't half-bad, because I'd done my dishes before going to bed the previous night. It is my hbz (home based zone) and it doesn't matter how messy the rest of the house is: as long as the counter is clear, I can handle just about anything.
Wednesday, I worked like a dog, all day (including the bit where I started painting my back entry way). I wanted to establish a baseline--to get it a place where I can "re-set" the house each day, whether I work that day or not. I don't want to spend my days off on massive "clean the whole house" efforts ever again! (Though we both know I will.)
Here are the before and afters. On my comfort scale, these rooms started out at either "slightly cluttered" or "very cluttered." After, I consider these rooms to be at "real life" on the continuum. It won't take too much effort to bring them up to "company ready" status for Monday's Thanksgiving celebration.
So, let's begin. The front entry.
Looking towards the stairs:
and back towards the door:
The back hallway, outside the bathroom:
The living room:
The drawer is from the back entry way. It needs to be painted.
Dvds on top of the TV are now put away. We leave out the ones from the library.
The dining room/home office/scraproom/hub:
I sort the paper into four categories based on The Paper Clutter course offered at Simplify 101: Action, time sensitive; action, time flexible; reference; and archive. I'm supposed to empty the archive slot every Thursday during my self-imposed "desk day." As you can see, it's piled up.
Paint supplies are being stored here for the back entry project.
The table actually looks worse because 1) again, painting and sanding supplies are being kept here to work on the back entry (just out that door) and 2) my husband needs to put the things he needs for work here. Normally it'd be in the entry. But I did get the towels down!
And there we have it.
I didn't photograph the bathrooms or the bedroom. In the latter, all I needed to do was make the bed. The bathrooms just needed their daily swish and swipe -- so nothing to "catch up" thank goodness.
One small thing, though. I had to decide when my day was done in order to make sure everything was put away. After I'd vacuumed the hallway and living room rugs, I'd left the vacuum out because I'd intended to vacuum the stairs. At about 9pm I realised there was no way I was going to vacuum--so I put it away. I hadn't expected that--not putting away the vacuum per se (though that in itself is surprising) but that I had to just say to myself "the day is done" and then start a final routine of tidying. I got to bed about 20 minutes later than I wanted: so I'll have to start earlier tonight.
PS: This series is based on what I learned in a course called "The Secrets of Staying Organized" by Aby Garvey at Simplify 101. It is being offered again in November. Today is the last day to get "Early-bird" pricing (20% off.) The link to the class sign up is here. I've decided I'm going to take it again, myself.