Campsite Theory of Household Organization

Are you familiar with the old camping adage “leave the campsite in better condition then you found it?”

This bit of wisdom always appealed to me because it was ultimately idealistic and pragmatic at the same time. In one sentiment it told us not to do damage and to do a little extra.  It isn’t saying we have to leave a campsite in ultra perfect condition, but a little better than how we found it.  If that means picking up some extra litter, then that is what we do.  The idea is if everyone who uses the campsite does this, pretty soon it is a pristine perfect campsite.

My friend Dr. Pete over at 30GO30 raised this point, the idea of doing little things to accomplish a bigger goal.  I realized the campsite adage could be used to help get my apartment organized and tidy.

The concept is remarkably simple. I use various rooms of my apartment through out the day.  Sometimes I’m overwhelmed by the chaos of a room and think “it is going to take all day to get this back to a state of clean” so I don’t take any action.  Now, applying the campsite principle, at the very least I make sure I don’t leave a room in worse condition and try to make it just a bit better than when I entered the room.

I really should report on this after applying this method over a month or so but in just one day I’ve seen great results. As I move through the kitchen, I wash a few dishes or put washed dishes away. I wipe down the counter or organize my spices. Such simple minor actions, but my kitchen feels much better. The bathroom also is seeing some improvement and I’m not really applying any significant effort to this.  Yes, there are certain things that are projects in and of themselves. I have an entire corner of paperwork that needs to be filed. Though I bet once I get that area organized and get caught up on the filing, it won’t be that big of a deal to do a bit of filing as I pass through that area of the apartment.

Certain tasks can’t be chipped away at slowly.  Nothing beats a thorough elbow grease bit of cleaning.  What the campsite theory does is help with the maintenance of organization and cleaning.

How do you make your home better today than it was yesterday?  What else can be accomplished with this simple pragmatic methodology?