Today is Monday. Back-to-reality day.
So I thought I would share with you a few tips about tidying up. you remember… that thing that happens in real life.

For me – it is top of mind, because that is what I did this weekend. Not ideal on a weekend, but only day that worked for me.

Because in my house… with so many people around…. a lot of things end up where they don’t really belong…

And although I let things go a bit…there comes a time where the house needs a huge spring cleaning – not that it is spring here and neither am I about to have a baby…but it was time for the house to get a good ship-shape !

I am not talking every day house cleaning in this post. I am talking about a big old house sweep, tackling everything !

Secretly – I love tidying up…probably for the adrenalin rush I get from the end result.

But be it a burden or a secret pleasure, everybody has to do it at some point.

It comes with the title…


Yes – you married him…and now you have kids…and the story goes on.

Like any good story – your TIDY up project needs a beginning, a middle and an end.

Take 10 minutes before you start and visualise. May sound silly, but it gives me structure, a plan, direction, purpose and a concept of how much I want and can do. I put post-it notes on the big sliding doors. One for each area that needs clean-up ..which was in this case  – a post it for every room  in the house.

Just by doing this, I already knew I could not possibly get the whole house done in one day. So I had more realistic expectations for my time-frame.

Order you mind…and your house…by moving these post-its into a “busy with” and “done ” section on the window or walls to keep your progress visibly tracked.

Usually I take the post-it with me to the room I work on and then make little notes while I am in there.

In the middle, comes the actual process of tidying up.  A few things I do that might help you too:

– I use some clean-up “tools”.

One of them being these clear and very handy sorting trays. For rooms or cluttered desk areas like the one I showed above, it is frustrating to walk ten times from one room to another…so I put out the trays, sort into them and then go drop the trays in that room…where it waits for me till I get to that room.

You make more progress this way in a shorter time span, especially if you have a house with different levels. And it makes you focus on one room at a time rather than be all over the place all at the same time,

–   Impossible to do EVERY thing in EVERY room on one given day , so as things pop up that I notice to be done, but which is either less important or would require too much time given what else needs to be done that is more important, I make another set of post-its and go stick them on the window as I finish that room.  This generates a to-do list for later.  Same goes for shopping for eg…while I empty out the kids bathroom, I notice that the body wash will be done in a few days, so I put it on the list so long.

This way I feel like I got a lot more done. At least what is not “done”, got noted and will be scheduled for later.

Almost like an over-achiever-feeling…. I know – somebody has to praise us domestic engineers!

–   Then there are those things that simply dont have a place since it is not in use all the time. But you are not quite ready to part with it. A good example for this is in box nr 1 down here. Soccer shoes…. perfectly good as hand-me downs, very expensive….but can’t sit in someone’s shoe closet for a few years till child nr 3 can use it.  But not considered clutter or charity yet. A good tip to store these are attractive boxes that can blend in in an area where you have wasted space. Like these ones on top of the shoe cupboards as you enter the house.

Frustrating part is if you later try to find something and then you simply can’t remember in which box. And experience has taught me that I usually find it in the last box that I open to look for it.

So, this time I did take the time to label and tag things as I put them away.

Here – post-its are tabboos!!

These are in sight so the labels or tags needs to be attractive.

I buy labels as and when I see them (note my stationery fettish) ,so that on days like these, I can just pull them out and put them to good use.

These ones are lovely hardboard labels that I found last year on a Christmas market in South Africa.

Since I change the content of the box with every clean-up, I don’t write on the labels as they will outlast the content.

I leave the permanent tags on the box, but make a “changeable” tag on the back – a small card with Blu-tak that I can easily change when content change, without having to re-do labels. Quick and easy.

– On a day like this, I am pretty much a “missing-in-action” person for the day, so tip nr next is to tell the family ahead of time that you have set a certain date. My family tends to get very irritated when I ask them un-announced to contribute some time in my clean-up effort….but some jobs I can’t do without them.. like fitting their shoes and coats to see which ones should stay and which ones should go.  

Some decisions are just too hard on your own and wears you down.

– When it comes to fridge and freezer, I like to get the freezer section cleared out, clean up and while I then have all content on the table, I do a quick “stock-take” for what is inside.

A nicer, bigger Post-it did the trick here. On the back, some small post-its of the individual items…




If you have a helper, it is easy enough for her to pull of the post-its as she uses the food for dinner. And since these post-its are on the back of another sheet, it never looks untidy this way.  I can now decide on what to do for dinner without having to unpack the whole freezer section every night for dinner.

I do this same exercise on the day I come home with a huge grocery shopping.

Put the paper with the nice front with fridge magnets on the fridge and turn over for the content. Voila – much easier than freeze labels as it is so flexible and easy to keep to date. An additional tip on this one, is to keep the post-it stack with a magnet on the fridge side so you can just add to the list if you bought new items.

Nothing spells trouble so much in my house than an open-ended clean-up exercise. Worst thing I can do is to stay busy well into the evening or even up to bedtime to keep on tidying up.

Knowing that I will have to stop at a pre-determined hour makes the family more tolerant to me being “me” for the day. See – I could carry on and on and on..untill I have pulled off every one of those green “room” post-its !

So, agreeing to end the day with a nice family BBQ made everybody happy. It felt like there was time for relax afterwards and you can go to bed feeling that you did not slave yourself to death till bedtime….

Decide on the “END” time and what you will do to relax as a reward after the day of hard labour.  Much more fulfilling – even if you only got half the job done!


Half the house is done. One more day like this will be needed in the near future..

But all is well that ends well… My husband got inspired and tackled those areas he also wanted to do for a long time…

(ps – do not tell that that might be one of the reasons I did it over a weekend…. others feel either guilty or inspired by watching you and join in !)… but let’s not add that to the list of tips today.

So…to re-cap my tips on tidy-up today:

Do you have any special tips that you use when you tidy up??

Tricks of the trade?? Would love for you to share them.

Have you commented on the blog post to be in line for a free giveaway of some stationery? There is still time. See here and leave a comment. Everybody loves to win, don’t you?  Come back on Wednesday to see who is the lucky one.

Untill then – happy tidying!





6 responses to TIPS for TIDY UP

  • Sam Soranson says:

    I am tired just thinking about this!
    My strategy is get both my girls – either with threats or promises of a reward – and two washing baskets, then go room by room – starting on the lowest level and working my way to the third floor. In each room pile all the rubbish to be thrown away in one and the reshelving, restuffing, rewhatever it is for putting away. Girls made a garbage run and then help me all over the house putting stuff away!!! I have no post it notes, no for another day or anything like that. Just do your best and get on with it! I do love your idea of the reward at the end! I also like the weekend idea but somehow my husband is never inspired to assist me!!!!!!! My girls really have no choice!!!! Thank you my crazy friend – I’ll be over soon with my girls to help mess your house up again!!!! XXXXX

    • Ilze says:

      Remember to bring your washing baskets then when you come Sam !
      Good to hear your kids respond to threats or bribes. Mine to neither – Somehow I don’t have that magic when it comes to clean up!

  • Jeanette says:

    You have inspired me! I am getting my helper to work Saturday so I can tackle all the jobs I have been putting off. My husband can spend some quality time with the kids while we sort through all the things that need to be moved to storage. I better go buy some post it notes 🙂

  • Lisa says:

    Thanks Ilze for the inspiration. I desperately needed to do some cleaning and started yesterday! Nowhere near done… but it does feel good!! ;-))

  • Marise van der Spuy says:

    Hi Ilze! Dit was nou sowaar ‘n inspirasie! Ons het laas week ‘n brand in die huis gehad. Ek het gele en slaap en Melt het ingekom van die lughawe af net 5 minute voordat 3 groot vlamme uit die aircon gekom het! Hy het my wakker gemaak, kinders gegryp, af met 7 stelle trappe en teen die tyd wat die wagte in die huis gekom het was daar in elke vertrek van die huis grys, dik, versmorende rookwolke. Ons is baie dankbaar dat ons veilig is en vir “divine” voorsiening – 30 minute vroeer of 30 minute later kon fataal gewees het! Alles is skoon gemaak, maar die huis is op sy kop – so dankie vir die inspirasie! Let the work begin!!

    • Ilze says:

      O my genugtig Marise !!!!! Blessings abound. Wow !! Bly dit het ‘n happy ending… maar ek kan nie eers dink aan die gemors nie… die roet en reuk !!!

  • Leave a Response

    Comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, contain profanity, personal attacks or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business, will not be published.

    Makes me happy that you got this far down on my blog ! See some older posts in the Archives or by clicking back.

    %d bloggers like this:
    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...