Forehead-smacking simple

Monday, August 08, 2011

Ever come across a reaaaally simple solution to an annoying issue and you're amazed you never thought of it yourself? This just happened to me and I have to share.

Sarah posted a link on her blog recently to this post on smallnotebook.org about how to achieve an uncluttered look in your home without it appearing stark and bare. This is something I have been bothered by in the past. Striking a balance between being clean and tidy and being completely sterile and boring. I like our house to be comfortable and welcoming and cozy but I hate clutter and messes.

The secret? Make sure your horizontal surfaces are always clear.

So maybe everybody reading this is like THANKS, CAPTAIN OBVIOUS, clearly if you pick up your crap your house will look better, but it makes so much sense. You can fill your home with interesting knick-knacks, books, flowers, art, whatever tickles your fancy, and as long as your tabletops and counters and furniture aren't scattered with clutter, you'll have a tidy, orderly-looking room without it being too pristine or unlived-in.

Basically, if you're lazy, just take stuff off your flat surfaces and chuck it in a drawer or a basket and you're golden.


1. Our kitchen table, before:

Our kitchen table, after:

2. Our living room couch, before:

Our living room couch, after:

3. Reading chair, before:

Reading chair, after:

It doesn't get much easier than this - if you have two minutes you can make your home look presentable. I picked up all the magazines and put them in the wine rack-turned-magazine rack. Books went on the bookshelves. Flyers went into the compost. Junk was appropriately tossed out or put away. I also did the same thing to the bathroom vanity and the next stop is my desk. Bonus - keeping these surfaces clear means you can much more easily wipe them off and keep them dust-free.

This is a great trick for when company unexpectedly shows up or you feel obligated to tidy but don't have the motivation for a full-on cleaning. "Focus on the flat!" should be everybody's new motto. Go get some pretty baskets and make a habit of putting your stuff in them and your home will automatically look 100% better!

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  1. It's genius, I tell you! I learned this while trying to make our house look presentable while showing it to potential renters. :)

  2. It IS genius! So obvious though. I couldn't believe I have never realized this before. Every time I tidy up in a hurry I get freaked out by the mess and try to tackle the whole room. It's nice that there's a super quick cheat to help get things in order fast!

  3. this reminds me of a blog i haven't read in a very long time...zen habits. zenhabits.net