Does clutter–free living really exist? Well in my world it did — for three weeks. The kids were off to sleepover camp, the dog was at doggie day care and the house was spotless. I never ate a meal at home; in fact I was rarely home. So clutter-free living does exist if you don’t actually live in your space much.


But back in the real world, I try to be practical and aim for a low-maintenance home. It’s easy once you get the hang of it. You have to be disciplined, not too sentimental and follow a few rules:


  • Whatever comes in the door has to be dealt with within the first hour.

  • Have a home and a place for every item, plus growing room.

  • Whoever you live with has to get with the program.

  • Keepsakes must be kept to a minimum and stored.

  • Every week, pick an area of the home that has to be decluttered, i.e. a magazine collection, closet or junk drawer.

  • Sort your clothes as you undress for the night, with your laundry basket close at hand. Re-hang items in the closet, not on a chair, and have a bag for repairs or dry cleaning ready to go.

  • Only keep papers you absolutely need.

  • Dishes have to be cleaned immediately after cooking and or eating.

  • Beds must be made every morning.

  • Before you leave for the day, walk around and tidy up all loose ends.

This might seem like a lot of work for a low-maintenance home, but it’s not. And the outcome is wonderful:


  • You’ll be ready for company anytime.

  • You know where everything is.

  • Everyone pulls his or her weight around the home, living in harmony.

  • You have a special box filled with your mementos in a safe place.

  • Cleaning and organizing doesn’t overwhelm you because you never have big projects to do.

  • Getting dressed in the morning is easy.

  • Making meals is a pleasure, as the counters are always clear for preparing food.

  • You’ll get to jump into a freshly made bed at the end of long day.

For your listening pleasure, tune into CFRB 1010 on Sunday, Aug. 20 from noon until 1 p.m., when I’ll be taking part in the Christina Cherneskey Show.

Brenda Borenstein is your professional organizing guru. Look for her column every second Thursday. For more tips and ideas, visit www.organizedzone.comor call 416-665-2165. Brenda has organized hundreds of homes and says, “There is nothing I haven’t seen and nothing that can’t be overcome.”