Clean up and de-Clutter

Living Beautifully in Home

Even though I’m in the trenches of the living room, I’m trying to sort out the other more “maintenance” items in my life and home.  Another goal I have for this year is to “Live Beautifully.”

Image from Falling Water by Frank Lloyd Wright

In his book “The Natural House,” Frank Lloyd Wright writes,

That is what should happen to you with a good house that is a home.  When you are conscious that the house is right and is honestly becoming to you, and feel you are living in it beautifully, you need no longer be concerned about it.

I have pondered this sentiment many times over the past few years while owning a house.  What makes a house a home?  What makes a home alive?  How do humans connect to the places we live?  And how does our connection to place provide a foundation for living beautifully?

And the conclusion I’ve come to so far is that there needs to be a balance.  (Ha, I know, “profound.”)

I mean balance between having the house support the activities of life: eating, sleeping, relaxing, etc., and maintaining the house by cleaning, keeping, and caring for the space. Miss Mustard Seed reminded me of the balance with her post from Wednesday 10 November 2010: What you see. What you don’t.

Today, for me, balance translates into getting back on a regular cleaning routine allowing for daily maintenance rather than an overwhelming pile up of life and its manifestations.

This is my work chart.

It is a sad and neglected chart that hangs on the side of my fridge.  Every month I update the dates, and then I promptly forget to do anything with it.  For now it is charting my lack of care and maintenance…it is charting my disregard for living beautifully.  “I hates it.”

When I first conjured up the chart it worked well.   The house chores were broken down into how often they needed to be done, and then were spread out over the chart according to needs.  Then I would consult the day of the month and the chart told me what I needed to do.

At the end of a designated period of time I would reevaluate how the chart was fulfilling the needs my home maintenance.  Did some jobs need to be done more frequently?  Could some jobs go a few extra days?

I even counted in days to tend to other things that had cropped up on my “To Do” list that wasn’t part of daily maintenance but were things like, “Change smoke detector batteries.”

Despite how well it worked in the beginning, I haven’t been tending to my chart for several months.  That isn’t to say that I haven’t been doing house work, I have, but only as it becomes a problem, or only as it strikes my fancy.

Then last night I was checking some blogs and I came across Apartment Therapy’s “20/20 Home Cure.” The Home Cure is inspired by Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan’s book, Apartment Therapy: The Eight-Step Home Cure. Basically it is a crash course in tending to your home.  I didn’t do the cure, but I did like the idea of renewing my relationship with my house and working to better maintain it so it can better support me.


All of this post is really just to say that I’ve noticed some problems that have crept up and after I get rid of them this week I’m going to renew my effort at following the work chart.

This week I’m tackling: the Dishes,

the mail that piles up on the dining room table,

the laundry (yes there is a basket somewhere under there),

the recycling,

and the random clutter pile on the counter.

This is my attempt at getting back to living beautifully. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.



  • I am so glad to see that someone else has areas like the recycling, the ramdon clutter and the dinning room table like I do. Best of luck on all that I am off to work on the pantry! If I don’t return in the next couple of hours, send a search team.

  • After all the trauma over work charts as children I am surprised that you have embraced them. :) Maybe I should follow your example. The new year is all about accountability.