Why Your Messy House Might Be Killing Your Love Life

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man and woman having coffee
Love

Are you planning a romantic evening?

Whether you're with your spouse or want to be able to invite that special someone over (even if it's a virtual meet-up), your home will inspire a more romantic feeling if you first remove the clutter.

First things first: What is clutter?

Anything that doesn't have a place to belong is clutter. Things that are not set up as a display create clutter, as do piles of belongings in random places. These things are sometimes the result of a delayed decision.

Clutter tends to accumulate on flat surfaces. Think about tabletops, chairs, and kitchen counters. They almost act like magnets, urging you to put something down while you think about what to do with it.

A pile of mismatched shoes by the front door. An armload or two of clothes waiting to be folded and put away. Stacks of paper on the dining table. Empty shipping boxes abandoned in a corner.

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Clutter does not help create a romantic vibe.

A lot of clutter hanging around doesn't make a room feel peaceful and welcoming. In fact, it does the opposite.

It can make someone, including you, feel uncomfortable or edgy.

Clutter draws your attention and makes you focus on things that are left to do, instead of directing your attention to your spouse or partner.

If the object is to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere as the setting for a romantic evening, then remove the clutter.

Open your eyes and take an honest look around your home. Which areas look too full and cluttered? If you're being honest with yourself, are some things left out as visual reminders of things to do?

For example, books to return to a library, a "thank you" note to write, a bill to pay, and clothes to take to the cleaners. Can you schedule those tasks?

To conquer the clutter one area at a time, here are 5 steps to take.

1. Start with the entry to your home.

Make the entry to your home more welcoming by removing the clutter. Coats, shoes, bags, and umbrellas often get dumped by the entry because it’s convenient.

Start by putting the shoes away. If bags also get dropped by the front door, bring in a free-standing, multi-armed coat rack. Not only is this a great place for your coat or hat, but it’s also great for handbags.

Just don’t leave your handbag on a hook by the front door. That’s an invitation for someone else to take it as they walk out the door.

Hook your handbag there while you take off your coat and shoes. Then take it to a more permanent, out-of-sight landing spot.

If shoes get left by the door, put a rubber mat or tray nearby to corral the shoes. It’s also nice to have a chair or a bench by the door to make putting on or taking off shoes easier if there is room.

2. How about the family room?

Are your side tables piled high with things that don’t have homes? Work on one table at a time. Take everything off, dust the table (why not?), and then only put back the things that belong.

Look at the remaining items and decide where they go. Some may be trash or recycling, others may be dishes or glasses that belong in the kitchen.

Do you have laundry waiting to be folded and put away on furniture in the family room? Take a few minutes to clear the laundry off the furniture. Set your timer, work for 10 minutes at a time.

You’ll be amazed by how much laundry you can fold in just 10 minutes. Make this room feel more welcoming and restful by clearing the furniture.

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3. Tackle the dining table next.

This table is usually a magnet for paper files, bills, and mail or magazines. If this is the place you handle the mail, then have a way to clear the table when you are finished with the task at hand.

Target, Walmart, and The Container Store have a wide variety of containers to hold paperwork.

So, if you're looking to set up a romantic dinner, you can create a lovely table setting. But, you need to remove all that paperwork from the table, first.

You can hide the paperwork container in a closet or behind a chair in the family room if you don’t have a dedicated office.

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4. What’s in the kitchen?

We're all spending more time in the kitchen, which makes it even more important to be organized. Clear the clutter in the kitchen one counter at a time.

Decide if the things that are lingering on the counter need to be there. Do you use them all the time or can some of them go in a cupboard?

If paper lands on the kitchen counter, before going onto the dining table, find a basket to contain it so it doesn’t spread all over the counter.

The kitchen is a place you expect to get messy or a bit cluttered up while you're making a meal. Be sure to take the time after the meal to clean up.

Wash the dishes or put them in the dishwasher. Put away leftovers and wash the pots and pans. Take a minute and wipe down any counters that are messy.

When you pay attention to these details, the kitchen is always a warm and welcoming place instead of a reminder of things to do.

5. De-clutter the bedroom.

Take everything off the top of the chest of drawers, dust it, and then put back the things that belong. Empty the wastebasket, put any clothes away, and make the bed.

It’s hard to feel romantic or restful in a room full of things that are drawing your attention.

When you remove the clutter from your home, you give yourself space to pay attention to your spouse or partner. And, you give them a reason to pay attention to you, instead of the clutter lurking around the house.

When you clear the clutter, you invite more romance into your life.

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Diane N. Quintana is a Certified Professional Organizer® ,a Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®, Master Trainer and owner of DNQ Solutions, LLC and co-owner of Release●Repurpose●Reorganize, LLC based in Atlanta, Georgia. She specializes in residential and home-office organizing and in working with people affected by ADD, Hoarding, and chronic disorganization. Diane and Jonda Beattie are the award-winning authors of: Filled Up and Overflowing.