The Art of Homemaking: Touch it Once

Remember awhile back when I said that I’d been keeping a secret and that I had started The Art of Homemaking book again…but hadn’t been posting about it.  Well, all that was true but then the holidays and the illness that never ends began and I fell off the wagon.
But I’m back…and I’ve been working through it again.
And since I’ve talked about chapters 1-4 quite a few times I’m skipping to where I currently am—chapter 5, which is entitled “A Place For Everything”.
The chapter header says:
“An ideal homemaker realizes that order must be the first law of her home.  With her home free from clutter and confusion, maximum progress and accomplishment may be enjoyed by family members.  This helps bring about a tranquil atmosphere which is a blessing to all.”
A home free from clutter and confusion…a tranquil atmosphere which is a blessing to all.  Yes please.  Sign me up.
Chapter 5 is the longest chapter in the book and I’m not sure I will be able to incorporate everything I’ve read into my daily life but I do want to try as much of it as I can.  So I’m starting by just taking a piece here, and an idea there and trying it out for a week and then evaluating how it goes.
This week I’ve been working on this bit of advice from Mrs. Hoole:
“Housecleaning can be done much more smoothly and faster if things are where they belong and you don’t have to shift and restack as you work.  It takes longer to set something down, to be picked up later and put away, than it does to put it away in the first place.”
That thought translates in my head to the saying “touch it once”.
If there is a book on the kitchen table and your trying to set the table for dinner just don’t move it to the counter top—walk it over to the book shelf and put it away.  Touch it once.  Don’t move it only to have to pick it up and move it again later.
Sounds simple…and it is…but it takes practice.  This week I’ve found out just how lazy I can be!  It’s easier just to move something for a minute than to put it away and I find myself saying “just touch it once” quite a few times everyday.  However, by simply picking it up and putting it away I’m finding I spend less time cleaning and have less chaos out and about.  It works…and I plan on keeping it up.  Even if I’m telling myself “JUST TOUCH IT ONCE” a thousand times a day.
Have a good weekend everyone!

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  1. says

    I definitely need to institute a “touch it once” policy at our house, but I’d probably need to have a home for everything first. As it is, my craft stuff is spread across 4 different rooms. Good Luck!

  2. says

    So true! I am pretty organized and hate clutter. I do however, have one counter that always has stuff layed out on it–for as hard as I try. Bathroom redo stack, important school stuff stack, upcoming SAT stack, etc. I need it at my fingertips! I am trying to explain to my youngest “wouldn’t it be easier to just hang your bathrobe when you take it off in the morning…put your clothes in the basket (add to that right side out) when you take them off, then having to go back later and do it and have me ask you and gripe?” I really do love your motto “touch it once”! Less clutter and organization are a wonderous thing! Good luck!

  3. says

    Great tip! I am also guilty of putting “stuff” in another place only to have to put it away later! I want to know what she says about laundry! That’s my homemaking nemesis

  4. says

    I use this in blogging a lot… Touch once with my emails… Touch once with the blogs I read (ie leave a comment, pin it or whatever. Just do it right away) saves me soooo much time!

  5. says have got me saying it. My husband started going through a huge stack of papers. I told him about your post. I awoke to find his “throw away” stack on the couch! First thought “touch it once”. Love it-thanks for sharing!

  6. says

    This is a great reminder. Our rule, which means the same thing, is Don’t Just Move the Mess! I tell my kids all the time, moving the mess just means cleaning more when you find it again. It’s still a mess. Cleaning means more time to play later.

  7. says

    We call it OHIO — Only Handle it Once. When I catch my husband shifting clutter, I yell out an enthusiastic “OHIO!” to which he enthusiastically rolls his eyes and moves the item to it’s actual home.

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