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Surface tidying downstairs – what exactly is ‘surface’ tidying?

I rushed around the ground floor this morning moving everything obvious to their homes or sometimes simply out of sight. Just picking up and moving around basically. Got a bit distracted looking through the various bits of paperwork in the dining room (must hand in the school/nursery forms later) and striping the pram as I remembered that the monster split milk on the covers yesterday.

I set my timer and after putting away the obvious mess, folding clothes off the dryer and wiping down the kitchen counters, dining room table and coffee table – the time came to 1 hour 4 minutes 25 seconds.

Not as impressive a time as rushing around upstairs but now I have a time to beat! And beat it I shall.

I reckon though that surface tidying means different things to different people. I seem to remember reading Nony’s post about layers of a clean home and my ‘surface tidying’ would fit well with the idea of it being a top layer where you get your home to appear clean, tidy, ‘gasp’ even organised on first sight.

Although others (hi Mum’s!) would look at the dishes next to the sink and the pile of folded laundry and consider it not surface tidy quite yet. But they are neat piles and so I’m happy.

If you’d like to try my version of surface tidying here’s a quick step-by-step:

1: Rubbish goes in the bin. I know this, you know this but there’s always something…..tags from a new shirt for example left on the bedroom floor

2. Pick up something and put it away, clothes in the utility room, books on the shelf, dishes in the kitchen, shoes in the box etc.

2.a. Either make a pile at the bottom/top of the stairs and take everything that lives on the other floor there at once or ramp up your steps and take it up/down each time you find a cup/sock/hairband…

2.b. If you don’t know where it lives – hide it. Surface tidying is where you put things in that odds and sods drawer, paperwork in a neat pile on the side ‘to deal with later’, dirty washing next to the machine and you close the door to the utility room as no one needs to see that right now.

3. Make a note to yourself to find places for those items in 2.b. to live.

4. Wipe down the surfaces that are obviously dirty.

Well done, have a coffee and congratulate yourself! It’s almost sunny outside so I’m going to potter round the garden for a bit and hoover after bringing in my own trail of soil and leaves.

P.S: 3.a. Forget about finding homes for the miscellaneous items and find them a few weeks later….

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