I saw this funny image years ago. It made me laugh then, and I think it continues to ring true:
For a variety of reasons, stuff ends up on the floor. Items are commonly…
=> Moved out of the way (pillows, boxes, purses, briefcases)
=> Worn, taken off, and dropped (clothing, outerwear, shoes)
=> Used and abandoned (toys, projects, mugs)
=> Dropped instead of put into the trash (wrappers, tags, cups)
=> Stacked, and then toppled over (paper, books, magazines)
Regardless of the reason, and as convenient as it may seem in the moment, the floor is not a good storage area because things on the floor are…
- Tripping hazards
- Painful to step on
- Often broken underfoot
- Easily lost
- Dangerous for small children and pets
In addition, a room can be beautifully decorated, but if the floor is covered with belongings, the space tends to look messy and unattractive.
If you’ve got a cluttered floor, here are a few “Dos” and “Don’ts” to keep in mind.
|Make sure the space is safe:|
- Clear a path between the bed and the door
- Pick up choking hazards
- Put a gate or barrier around small pieces if you have pets or children
- Throw away trash
|Get sidetracked by wanting to make everything perfect and ending up spending too much time in one small area.||Safety is the number one priority.|
|Decide if the space is yours to organize.|
If the space isn’t yours, (and once it is “safe”), offer to help. If the offer is declined, consider closing the door.
|Go into your spouse’s office or your teenager’s room and start pitching things.||You will end up irritating the owner and your work will be quickly undone.|
|Assess if the situation is ongoing or temporary. |
If the situation is temporary, either set a time limit for how long the items will remain out and/or decide what level of daily “clean up” will be acceptable until the project is completed. (e.g. Each evening the contents are put in a large box.)
If the situation is ongoing, continue the following steps to create order.
|Clean up the pieces of a school project or other “work in progress” that the owner plans to return to and complete in the near future.||You may move or throw away important pieces.|
|Sort through the items and group them by category (e.g. gaming supplies, DVDs, large toys, small toys, clothing, paperwork, etc.)||Toss dissimilar items into boxes or bins.||Mixing belongings flung into large containers results in items getting lost. It also creates a time-consuming future project to sort through it all.|
|Establish a box into which you put all objects that need to be carried back to other rooms in the house.|
Leave time at the end of your session to carry this box around and put things away.
|Get interrupted carrying items throughout your house each time you come across a misplaced item.||You will waste time going to and fro, and are more likely to get distracted by things you see in other spaces.|
|Group items that belong to others in the home and put them in boxes or piles for review.||Get rid of things that are not yours, unless you are the adult responsible for a child’s decision.||It is not ok to get rid of other people’s stuff without their permission.|
|Establish storage locations for the items you want to keep in the space.|
Ideally, only carpets and furniture should remain on the floor, so consider adding shelving, hooks, racks, cubbies, file boxes, and containers so that everything has a home.
|Pile items on the floor or stash them in the corner.||Anything stacked on the floor can be easily kicked over, knocked out of place, spilled on, lost and ruined.|
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Clearing the floor can be a quick way to make a space feel fresh and inviting. What is most likely to end up on your floor?