Making Tidy

I am terrible at organising my home. Keeping the place tidy is not a chore I excel at, or would be considered even competent at. It occurs to me though that as with many other things, prevention may be more effective than the cure. If the place doesn't get into a mess, then I don't need to expend much effort cleaning up the mess. Obviously this is a situation where winning the fight is in large part a matter of discipline, but discipline itself is aided by the reduction of friction. The easier I make it to keep the place in order, the easier it will be to build the habits required to do so; if I engineer purpose where currently there is barely sufficiency I can ensure that discipline has to do the least possible load bearing.

A lot of this, I think, is going to be about intelligent storage. Much of our furniture was inherited when friends or family didn't want or need it any more (the only pieces of truly new furniture are our bed and coffee table) which I am totally happy with, but it means that a lot of it is being used out of financial convenience or is simply not quite fit for the purpose we require. There are things in boxes that never quite found a permanent home, and some items are just plain ugly, but have been functional and needed.

I've been considering the rooms we have, and the purposes we are tailoring them for. We're perhaps a little unconventional, both children of the computer age. When we are not entertaining friends we spend almost all of our time in the 'study'. That is what ought to be the lounge, but is dominated by two computer desks. My mother would wish to hide a computer away like a tool that should only occupy the home when it is in use - but the reality is that in our home it's as much a part of the living experience as the television (way more so than the television) or the oven. The study also should be a place for household business, such as it is - the documents and processes involved in maintenance and finances. It should also be a haven for all our other hobbies, which need space often but not constantly. There is little real storage available in this room yet it is perhaps the room with the greatest need. I have a need for some aesthetic tranquility, and my partner has a need to store a wealth of hobby items, specialist books and technological miscellany.

Our living room is perhaps the room with the least need for 'stuff'. It used to believe it was the master bedroom but serves as a comfortable venue for entertaining, and a place to watch movies and TV shows (even if this is mostly via computer, the Mac mini or Apple TV that reside underneath the television). Much of the clutter in this room would be more appropriately stored in the study. This room should be calmer, less cluttered, and used to display objects and artwork that we want to be seen. I think this room is the easiest to solve, but other homes need to be prepared for the things that don't belong.

It's this approach of purpose-driven design that I am hoping will lend to improved utility, making life easier but also allowing each room to do some of the work in keeping itself maintained. If everything is right there, where it needs to be, then it'll not get moved around, left somewhere for convenience or to be picked up later. If everything has a place to belong it won't occupy a half empty shelf for a year while there is no suitable home or much impetus to find one. Organised chaos is simply not proving to be a winning strategy.

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