Tips for keeping your home under control

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 23, 2014

Do you hate to clean? Does the site of a cluttered room  overwhelm you?

You might find help in Sue Wilson’s book, “Home Matters.”

Wilson, who has moved more than 40 times, is now settled in North Carolina and has been sharing her cleaning tips with people in classes at her church, Grace Covenant in Cornelius.

“I had taught a lot of classes and thought it might be fun to write a book,” Wilson said in a recent interview.

She calls herself “a former perfectionist in recovery.” She likes things organized and neat, but she’s stopped obsessing.

“I am an encourager. I had a lot of people do that for me, and a little goes a long way. I take a former perfectionist approach to cleaning.”

She’s quick to add that her way is not necessarily the right way. Everyone can have their own approach. “Whatever works.”

Included in the book are encouraging scriptures and reflections on a God-centered life. Wilson said she has been in Bible studies and taught a class that emphasized no one is perfect.

The pastor asked her to teach a class on basic home tasks because many young members were struggling with keeping up their homes.

“I found people had a lot of stress in their homes, and once they pinpoint that, it call begins to come together.” Wilson created a list for readers to determine which rooms had the highest stress levels. “My approach is getting divine help in doing something.”

Decluttering is one of her top tips. Messy office? Get some stackable bins to store the things you can’t or won’t get rid of.

General clutter removal requires sorting, things you want to keep, things to give away and things that can be tossed or recycled. Using that approach, Wilson says, works in every room, every area.

She hopes the book will keep people from getting discouraged.

“I like to try to do things the easiest way. If it saves time and money, I love to share that.”

Wilson says there’s no point in going over past mistakes. “Just keep moving forward.” Do what works for you, she says, and don’t judge people if they do things differently. “Just let it go.”

Hiring someone else to do things for you is OK, but that person will organize his or her way. If you can do it yourself, it makes sense to you and you’re more likely to stick with it.

“Your place could be a shambles, but if you have things organized, you can clean it up in a few minutes.”

The main problem is people use things and don’t put them back where they came from. Wilson notices that children and husbands tend to do this. It’s important to get everyone working toward the same goal.

She suggests having plenty of baskets or bins that are labeled, making it easier to put things away. Make the best use of your closet pace by adding shelves or dual bars for hanging clothes. She likes the hangers that hold other hangers in a waterfall arrangement.

“No one has time,” Wilson says, “but consider how much time you spend looking for things.”

No one is perfect and nobody has it all. “Expectations don’t matter. I used to be a people pleaser, but I gave that up.”

It boils down to figuring out what makes your home less stressful.

Keep a plastic bag for donations by your front door. When it’s full, put it in your passenger seat as a vivid reminder to actually make the donation.

“And what’s amazing is when you do even one little thing, you feel so much better. For many people, it’s hard to get started. But it’s pleasant. You’ll get more satisfaction.”

And remember that you are the only one who can make a change.

Wilson will talk cleaning and sign her books on Saturday, Nov. 29, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at Literary Bookpost. Her website is www.suemwilson.com.

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