It’s hard to keep a lid on things when you’re always busy working at your B&B business – but where do you draw the line between quirky and untidy? Little touches of personality certainly add to ambiance, yet add too much on every surface and in every cupboard and what you’re left with is just clutter.
Before you get started, make sure you are committed to the process. If you start second guessing yourself half way through, too much of that clutter will find its way back into your life.
As well as improving the overall feel of your B&B, here are a few things to think about when your motivation begins to waver:
1. The less clutter, the quicker the cleaning – especially on shelves and other surfaces
2. The more clutter, the higher the stress – how can you be organized when you can’t find anything?
3. The less clutter, the fewer distractions – get down to work efficiently and have more free time as a result
Set the rules
Try to think about what you need to keep. If you’re having trouble, imagine if there was a fire at the B&B – what would you save and what would you not be too upset to lose? There’s no need to be surrounded by ‘things’ that you don’t need or want – and certainly things that don’t work. These should be the first things to go – anything broken or incomplete, like a pot without a lid. If you haven’t used it in the past year, the chances are you won’t in the future!
Next, think about where things should go. Items in their proper place won’t be clutter – they’ll be useful. Take time to organize a proper place for something – especially bills and business related paperwork – and your B&B will instantly feel more structured without needing to get rid of everything.
Flat surfaces are the worst culprit for collecting clutter – and the most visible. Choose a surface to tackle and then follow these simple steps:
1. Clear everything off and put it on the floor – although TVs and computers can be left.
2. Clean the surface thoroughly and then admire how tidy it looks!
3. Make a decision about every item on the floor – move those you need to the proper location or get rid of it!
4. Want to keep the surface clear? Spend 10 minutes a day de-cluttering to stop the problem building up in future or prevent temptation with a bold piece that takes up space, such as a table cloth or a big vase of flowers.
Cupboards, closets and drawers
Just like the flat surfaces, take on one of these hidden spaces at a time and clear it systematically. The most difficult bits will be those special ‘junk’ drawers that everyone has, filled with photos and souvenirs. Set a timer for these tough tasks to help you stay focused and stop you spending more time looking at the pictures than actually de-cluttering. Remember, that collection of elastic bands and old string isn’t useful – it’s just clutter.
It’s just as easy to collect cyber clutter nowadays, and when you need your computer for business, it really needs some attention to run efficiently!
1. Remove any files or downloads from your desktop – just like physical items, they need to be stored in the right location.
2. Sort folders with more than 25 files into subfolders.
3. Same thing for your emails – create sub folders in your inbox to hold important communications and leave your inbox just for unanswered ones.
4. Head to ‘Control Panel’ and ‘Add or Remove Programs’. Luckily, the programs can be organized by Frequency of Use and you can easily see what you never use. Delete all non essential programs.
5. Get rid of all temporary files and downloads in your internet browser, then finally delete everything from the recycle bin to permanently de-clutter your computer.
The computer isn’t the only thing you need organized for a B&B business to run smoothly. Start with the flat surfaces and don’t stop until it looks as empty as possible – what do you really need to keep on your desk besides a computer, appointment book and pen? Be just as ruthless when it comes to old papers as you were with the junk drawer – do you really need those tax returns from 2002?
Go beyond possessions and think about your life – now your B&B is clutter-free, are there ways to reduce stress by thinning out old hobbies and improving routines? Consider what you want to achieve over the next year and try to be cynical about commitments. Will it help you reach your goals?
Routine is a helpful way to keep your new simple life running well. Lists and rules will help you stay on target and avoid old habits, especially bad buying behavior to make sure that clutter doesn’t appear again!
Images thanks to Flickr users eurleif and go_greener_oz