- Get Better Control of your Life by Keeping your Space Neat and Clean 24/7 – Do you know why people enjoy staying in hotel rooms? Not only are some hotels really designed very nicely, they also tend to be very neat and orderly all the time. And they’re usually very clean and fragrant smelling sometimes as well. Imagine what it’s like to come home to something that looks and feels like a hotel room that really impressed you on one of your holidays. Not only would you look forward to coming home from work every day, you might not even want to leave it. So how do some homes manage to look like they’re ready to be photographed for a magazine every single day while others seem always be a total disaster all the time? Homeowners who keep things in order follow a clutter management plan that allows it to never accumulate anywhere. Ever. What these (some would call) anal-retentive homemakers do is make sure to keep everything that they touch exactly where it needs to be and to never “leave it to be dealt with later”. Leaving things to be kept later is a surefire formula for a messy house. When they take off their clothes, they make sure to throw it in the laundry basket or hang it in their closet. After they’re done looking through a piece of paper or magazine, they either throw it away or put it in a drawer. It never sits on top of their desk as that will guarantee to grow into a large pile of papers. They keep books neatly stacked on a shelf (or inside a storage ottoman or container of some kind) somewhere once they’re done enjoying it. Or they return it to the library or give it to someone else who wants to read it. They never let unwashed dishes pile up, leave their beds unmade, or allow articles of clothing to be carelessly strewn anywhere. As a result, they rarely feel overwhelmed or stressed by their lives.
2. Allows People to be More Productive and Creative – Have you ever lost fifteen minutes (or more) of your life looking for something? It’s a massive waste of time isn’t it. On the one hand, you just need a clutter-management plan to manage your work stuff and your personal stuff so that nothing develops into piles or lose clutter. On the other you may just need a better storage system. In my work area for example, I once owned a beautiful glass and steel table designed by Sir Normal Foster, which was called ‘Nomos’. It was a space age piece of sculpture that I was excited to buy that wasn’t inexpensive. I owned it for nearly 20 years so very sad to see go as it was a beautiful piece of sculpture that just happened to be an office table. The only problem was, it a little too big for my new home office (I had moved from a condo which had a larger bedroom to a 100-year old house that had a smaller bedroom for my design studio) and it was also quite useless in terms of storage. It didn’t have any built-in drawers or file cabinets. And it had splayed legs which made it difficult to put a rolling steel cabinet with drawers underneath. So I had piles of papers sitting on top of it everyday and also underneath, which kind of stressed me out every time I took a look at it. And it made me less productive than I could have as I was always looking for something underneath the stacks of paper or desperately trying to hide those same piles of paper whenever I had company come over for dinner. I’ve replaced it since with a smaller and infinitely less expensive desk from Wayfair that is not as visually impressive (but nice enough on its own) has built in storage for my 2 office printers. Plus it has ample room for a steel filing cabinet where I can keep my papers out of sight all day every day. The result: I have a very clean and organized office desk that contain my 2 computers and nothing else. And I have to tell you that it is the most glorious feeling to have things under control 100% of the time all the time and to be able to simply focus on work.
3. Makes People to Want to Hang Out more in Your Home – When you have a space that is neat and clean all the time, not only do you want to stay home more often (and possibly longer as well), you probably aren’t ashamed to invite people over to watch a game, enjoy a movie, or to simply share a meal with you. That allows you to spend more time with friends and family members. Not only do people like to hang out at someone else’s home that has been thoughtfully decorated and kept clean (because theirs might not as be as nicely put together and/or as organized as yours), they like to get together with friends and family whenever they have the time. And you know what the bonus is? Everyone gets to spend less money. Restaurants are expensive, busy, noisy and usually in a rush to get their tables back so that they can give it to someone else. If you entertain at home, you can laugh as loud as you want, stay for as long as you wish, and eat whatever your heart desires. And as a host of a get-together with loved ones, you don’t have to carry all the burden yourself: you can ask people to bring a dish each (most people don’t mind doing pot luck) and they are usually more than happy to help you clean up afterwards. People are busy so they’re just glad to be invited over by someone so that they can save from cooking and washing up one night a week or more. And if they can catch up with you – or meet new people that could help make their lives more interesting – then why wouldn’t then want to come over to a place that’s different from theirs (who doesn’t want a change of scenery every now and then?) and maintained to a high level of order and cleanliness that will inspire them to do the same with theirs.
4. Makes your Space a Place from which a Business can Grow – Ever dream of creating a startup from the privacy and comfort of your own home? Why rent a desk at some co-working space or even rent an office when you can build your business empire from your living room or kitchen table? Multi-billion companies like Apple, Microsoft and Amazon were all started out of garages which is nothing but an empty space with no heating (or cooling) or even a proper bathroom to speak of. Save your precious capital and set up a desk and coffee maker at home. Company founders like Sara Blakely of Spanx used their apartment as a lab to create body-shaping hosiery and created a billion dollar enterprise from home. My wife and I each work on our respective businesses from home. She used to work in the kitchen but has now carved an office space out of one corner of our bedroom where she has a proper office chair (which is Haworth’s ‘Very’ chair) rather than sitting on our hard bench in our dining room where she used to work, which would not have been good for her back over the long term. I’ve turned one of the bedrooms on the main floor into my design studio where I also have my own comfortable office chairs (Herman Miller’s classic ‘Aeron’ which I’ve had for 2 decades). The biggest keys to being productive while working from home? Having a quiet space with zero distractions to work from and investing a good task chair which allows you to be productive and efficient so that you can focus on work. My wife and I also avoid gaining unnecessary weight by walking twice a day, usually after lunch and after dinner.
5. Saves You Money by Enticing You to Stay at Home Rather Than Doing Things Elsewhere – After my wife and I got married we lived in my uncle’s basement for about 6 months before moving into a 675 sqft rental apartment of our own. Eventually, we purchased our first home after a few years, which was a 825 sqft condo. And then we sold that and bought a 3 bedroom apartment that was 1,260 sqft. And then we sold that and finally bought ourselves a 5-bed, 3-bathroom single detached home that was 2,200 sqft. One thing nearly all these spaces had in common is that we always made sure to furnished them really nicely. As a result, we’ve always liked to stay at home rather than go out, except for that single basement apartment that belonged to my uncle where we’d be out during the weekends from breakfast until dinner. That’s how much we wanted to avoid staying there. It had small windows, low ceilings, harsh ceiling mounted lights (which felt very industrial), a tiny kitchen, and stale air as there weren’t enough windows. And we often felt cold all the time as it was partially submerged underground. The vibe of the whole space did not make you want to hang out at home, which is why we were at restaurants and coffeeshops all the time that had cozy furniture, nice lighting and fresh and nice-smelling air. I could have made things better for my wife and I by making a few design changes, like repositioning the location of the washer and dryer which ate up a third of the kitchen except we were only there temporarily as the place wasn’t ours to begin with. We probably would have spent less money had we just cooked meals or made coffee at home but it was not really a great space to spend a lot of time in. In addition, we had both just moved to a new city (and strapped for cash), we were just starting out with our first jobs, and trying to save money to start our own business. It took a few month before we found a rental with higher ceilings, more natural light, a nicer floor plan, and better heating/cooling. Once we were able to design our very own apartment in a way that served our needs, we went out less and started entertaining people at home which saved us a ton of money.