Company-Ready in the Real World


Three weekends ago, my house was company-ready. Surfaces that usually collect clutter were clear. I not only dusted, but also updated the photos in the living room, finally framing senior portraits for the girl who will graduate in a month.

Now, my goal is to keep things that way.

It’s amazing how quickly clutter finds its way back — and to all the same places.

Part of the trick is having systems in place — but you knew I was going to say that. What I won’t say is that it’s simple, or that systems are the whole solution. Having time, space and energy to keep up with things is just as important, and we don’t always have complete control over those things.

One of the reasons I like organizing by STYLE is that it builds a bridge between the things we can’t control and the things we can. Some days, it’s a rickety bridge, but by connecting life’s little challenges to what we can control, we’re more likely to achieve success. Here are some ways organizing by STYLE can help with the intangibles.

Pressed for time? Do what you can. Give it Five! takes literally five minutes, and while a five-minute expenditure of time might not leave things perfect, it leaves them better and/or keeps clutter from accumulating. With systems in place, you can get a lot done in five minutes.

Pressed for space? Make sure to follow the location guidelines when it comes to choosing the right homes for your stuff. That way, prime space is freed up for the things that you need to access often. In addition, make sure that the containers you’re using are a good fit for the space you have available. Too big, and you might be wasting space. Too small, and you’re inviting clutter. For more container troubleshooting, check out these resources.

Pressed for energy? Give it Five! works here, too, but so does sorting sitting down. Bring that pile of mail into the family room and sort it while you watch television (just don’t forget to put things where they belong when you’re finished). Rather than tearing around to get the house in order, put things where they go as you walk by them, or, make a deal with yourself that you’ll sit down and relax after you put away a certain (reasonable) number of items. Often, getting started is the hardest part.

At the moment, my house isn’t company ready, but it’s not totally embarrassing either. My radar is activated, though, and I know which hot spots need to be “given five” so they don’t devolve into disaster, as well as which temporary relocations were only short-term solutions.

It’s a process.

Copyright 2016 Lisa Hess


About Author

Lisa Lawmaster Hess has contributed articles to local, national and online publications, and blogs at The Porch Swing Chronicles, The Susquehanna Writers and here at She is the author of two non-fiction books (Acting Assertively and Diverse Divorce) and two novels, Casting the First Stone and Chasing a Second Chance. A retired elementary school counselor, Lisa is a lecturer in psychology at York College and enjoys singing with the contemporary choir at her church.


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