When approaching minimalist living, we tend to focus on the process of decluttering solely. It makes perfect sense as eliminating is usually the first step towards paring down and living with what’s truly essential.
However what happens when you have successfully decluttered all areas of your life?
You need ongoing management to ensure things stay simple and tidy. One of the best ways to achieve this is to create visual standards for your various environments.
In this post, we break down the post-decluttering minimalist living and show you how to set up and manage visual standards across all areas of your life.
What are visual standards and what are the benefits?
A visual standard is a certain set of principles that make up the beautiful representation of how a particular area should look.
For example, visual standards for your shower might be putting shavers in the top drawer, hanging towels on the rack and putting shampoo and conditioner in a basket.
So in a nutshell, it’s a method for you to ensure that you leave areas the way you found them.
This is important as maintaining visual standards gives you aesthetic space and mental space. You won’t waste time finding things as you know exactly where they should be and you can hold other people in your household accountable.
How do you create visual standards?
Creating visual standards is quite easy. Do a thorough clean of your house, car or office space and identify what each area should look like if cleaned properly.
From there, it’s probably a good idea to consult your family or roommates to ensure that your proposed visual standards are feasible for everyone.
Once you get everyone to sign off, you can hold each other accountable to these standards and how often they should be adhered to.
With that said, we’ve found that the best time to reset visual standards is directly after using the space.
To be completely honest this is an area that I still struggle with. Maša is much better at maintaining visual standards in our house.
I still don’t consistently make my bed directly after waking up or clean the dishes directly after cooking. But I know that if we keep talking about these standards and creating awareness, eventually it will become a habit.
Examples of visual standards
I’ve mentioned a few examples of visual standards already, but I wanted to take it a step further and provide various examples of how you can apply this approach to areas in your life. When creating your own standards, you can create little checklists for each environment.
- hang your clothes so that they are facing in the same direction
- put your belts and ties on your dedicated tie rack
- fold socks and underwear and put them in the drawer
- put watches back into their boxes
- make bed
- put scarves in the scarfs box
- put shoes away in their designated area – shoe boxes or rack
- clean and store all of your pots when finished cooking
- wipe wet dishes and clear from drying rack before going to sleep
- clean stovetops and splashbacks
- wipe down the sink with a dry cloth
- clear all items from the benchtops
- put all food back in the pantry and fridge
- store away leftovers
- take out rubbish if full
- turn on the dishwasher or clear it of all clean dishes
- put toothbrushes back in the toothbrush holder
- wipe down mirror
- wipe down sink
- put hairdryer, all other hair products and makeup away
- place towels on racks
- put charging cables away
- clear paperwork
- move keyboard towards the front of your monitor
- clear items from your desktop home screen
- clear rubbish if full
- put sunglasses back in their case
- remove any charging cables and cords
- wipe down dashboard with a microfibre cloth
- clear door bins of any rubbish
- remove cups and bottles from cupholders
- clear the boot and seats
This post is really about cleaning after yourself. But having a standard upon which everyone in your environment can agree upon is the best strategy for sustainable cleanliness.
So here’s some homework for you. Within the next week, go through all of your various environments, whether it’s at home, in the office or in your car and create visual standards for each area.
After that, get together with people in your life who also use those areas and find an agreeable level of standards.
Make sure you have all of the tools required to set yourself up for success. This could be microfibre cloths, storage jars, hangers, paper towels, whatever it is make sure you eliminate any excuse to maintain the level of standards you have set for yourself.
Oh, by the way, you’re not in this alone. We’ve just gone through this process so we’ll be right there with you 🙂