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Wandering Tidy


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(Originally posted 1/13/2018: Updated 2/1/2018. Because this stuff is magical and we needed to say more!)

There is a way to have a clean and tidy house that doesn’t require spending every weekend cleaning. It doesn’t require training your family or hiring help either. It’s a wandering tidy.

“What is this black magic,” you ask with wonder in your voice. You picture a person wandering around the house and the idea starts to take shape.

A wandering tidy is simply this, each day for 15-20 you set a timer and put things away. Wandering around your house with a purpose. Set up a station with all your tools so that you can start your timer once you have your tools in hand. You can choose to just pick up one tool like a duster and dust for 20 minutes or pick up a bucket of tools to address a specific space. 15 minutes is all you need to clean a bathroom top to bottom like a pro. 20 minutes the next day could see your bedroom sheets changed, floor cleaned, blinds and fan dusted.

Doing it each day means that the mess never gets big.

Nothing is ever in need but rather always in tip-top shape.

Most of us do this naturally in a kitchen. Putting away clean dishes as we go through in the morning. Stopping off in the afternoon to add some dirty. Not really doing the whole task in one go but cleaning as we go. That way the kitchen is never a huge task that you don’t want to tackle and ready for you to step in and cook something.

A wandering tidy lets us live in a home that is always welcome.

Never quite a mess but cleaned and put in order little by little.

It’s perfect for people who are busy because it’s easy to find 15 minutes. Perfect for people who hate to use their weekends cleaning but are fed up with the state of their houses.

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Now there is a difference between a tidy and a clean.

Let me explain, a tidy is where you put stuff away and a clean involves wiping, dusting or vacuuming. Easy right? You need to think of these as two separate ideas. It will make you faster in your overall wandering. 

Honestly, I don’t always set a timer either. I use my coffee brewing instead. Which is not a full ten minutes but that’s perfectly okay. Since I know my energy levels are in the morning I prefer to do this every morning. My Spark elves are not all energized by the morning and they tell me they’ve got similar routines at various times of the day. 

Ruth, my social media nerd, prefers to pick up and tidy on the way to bed at night. She set a timer when the kids were little but now that they’re teens the habit is so ingrained she doesn’t need one. Just 10-15 minutes. Putting away the stuff left out over the course of the day. Tucking everything into place. 

Watch my video below to see how this works.

It’s important to note that while I’m a professional organizer, I’m not perfect. I’m very human. My house reflects my personality which is fun and whimsical, not perfect. This is a common misconception in the whole of being a professional organizer. Frankly, I would be horrified if my house looked like a Martha Stewart spread. I’m not Martha. I don’t desire to be Martha. I’m Suzanna. Ruth would also be horrified if her house looked like Martha Stewart’s because she’s Ruth, not Martha. 

Yes, I’m being a bit silly but there is a truth here that I don’t want to you miss. We’re all beautiful and unique and human. Just like you. Your house can be tidy and clean filled with unique beauty and personality. 

The key to the wandering tidy is to be intentionally not perfect.

Don’t hyper-focus on any one area. It’s tempting to see the mess in the cleaning closet and pull it all out, but don’t. This is a quick all-over tidy up. Add the closet organizing to your calendar or do it when you’re done with the wandering tidy, or you will get completely sidetracked and derailed and won’t get through what your goal is – an all over pick up.

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Ultimately a wandering tidy breaks down into three essential steps.

A good supply of tools.

Every cleaning job is easier if you have the proper tools at hand. I like to use my little half apron filled with a duster and wipes. A trash bag when I know I’m gathering up trash. 

Doing it every day.

Like a rock rolling down a hill gathers moss, cleaning every day builds on itself. If you miss a day, just start back up the next but the essential key here is every day.

And lastly, on a timer. 15-20 minutes.

This is a super important key. The minute you start upping the time saying, 30 minutes isn’t that much more and I can do it, you will start messing with the psychological magic that is 15-20 minutes.

When a task requires a full 30 minutes it has to be scheduled. It’s enough time that if we aren’t doing something it feels like time wasted. 15 minutes is nothing, however. Not even time to really do anything, right? Just a little bit. So by only doing 15-20 minutes each day it almost feels like you’re never cleaning. Not so if you’re spending 30 minutes. You’ll start logging in the hours in your head and feel like you’re cleaning constantly and get irritated at the kids for messing up the house. Are you seeing how this is magical?

Better yet, are you ready to go wandering?

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Suzanna Kaye is a professional organizer and owner of Spark! Organizing, LLC.

Drinking more water and moving really are magical. What tip was new to you? Tell me in the comments.


suzanna kaye, florida organizer

She has special experience with organization for office, financial, ADD/ADHD, elderly, disabled, overwhelmed and special needs. With the belief that cluttered people are some of the most creative and interesting people she knows, she loves working with her clients in a supportive and loving environment.

For more information about Suzanna visit our about us page, email info@SparkOrganizing.com or call 321-234-5499


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