Saturday, January 12, 2013

Principles from The House That Cleans Itself

Author Mindy Clark Starns gives ten principles in her book The House That Cleans Itself:
  1. Change the area to fit the behavior. I used this principle in the den. I sew there and so bins of material are under the pool table, whereas they used to be in the guest bedroom my husband called "The Craft Room". I want to use up material for quilts and other projects and so what I need is right there. The ironing board and iron are on the wall in a corner of the den ready for sewing.
  2. Change the behavior to fit the areas, but only after you've changed the areas as much as possible. Where I used to put on makeup in a bathroom, now I put on makeup at the vanity in the master bedroom and enjoy sitting down to do so. Before that vanity just collected stuff to dust.
  3. Control your expected messy areas and sight zones. Flylady calls the messy areas hot spots. Baskets/stations that can be taken out are tucked away in the bathroom cabinet. I found that when I don't know where to put something, it ended up on the dining room table. When I have places for items and put them away, I am controlling those messy areas. The rooms in our home flow from the living room to the family room/dining room to the den. You see it all when you come visit.
  4. Think up and away. By getting rid of kitchen items I can put things away and there are places to put items. Hooks in the living room for coats compensate for no coat closet. I now hang up clothes or put them in the laundry basket.
  5. Think like a housecleaning service. Have less junk bunkers, bins, baskets and what is called organizing in many magazines and on Pinterest. Have less horizontal surfaces that are cluttered.
  6. Emphasize simplicity. Books can be checked out from the library or put on a Nook or Kindle. A house doesn't have to be a library. Having less clothes makes so much sense, especially after dieting.
  7. Engineer convenience. The stacking shelf in the den makes filing an ongoing project.
  8. Utilize the power of beauty. With less stuff, the beauty shines forth.
  9. Camouflage wherever possible. Suitcases are tucked in a corner in the master bedroom. Blankets cover a small book case in the master bedroom so it looks like a blanket stand.
  10. Do everything with an eye toward maintenance. When I have entertained in the past, all the clutter went to bedrooms, the workshop or the garage. That was extra steps for sure. No more, no more.
I think it is important to add these principles for an Alzheimer's ready home:
  1. Leave items where the loved one is used to finding them.
  2. Simplify for safety.
  3. Make changes in the early stages of Alzheimer's when the loved one can get used to a new routine.


  1. Great post, Carol. I love that organizing book. So glad you made it possible for me to have one. I have been cleaning all day! It's taking shape.

  2. It sounds like you're really getting your home organized and clean..... that's for liberating.
    Hugs and prayers,

  3. Last three points are so good. Onward!

  4. Does your hubby still remember? Is your re-organizing causing him any grief?

  5. Good questions, Ruby. So far I have kept his stuff in the same place and he likes the improvements I have made. He finds the stuff he uses all the time easily. Yesterday he forgot that his hammer and screw drivers were in his workshop, because he rarely goes there now. But he let Jake use these tools, because he doesn't fix much anymore.

  6. One of these days with enough coffee & ambition, I will organize. Or I will read your lovely blog instead.