Cindy’s Weekly Wisdom ~ The “Floordrobe”



My youngest, Audra, made me laugh recently by saying that a friend had gotten a new wardrobe from IKEA but preferred to continue using “the floordrobe.”

Personally, I hate the floor. How does so much stuff wind up there? I have four animals, and they each seem to shed their bodies’ weight in fur every week. I don’t have any carpet to trap the fur, and that’s a good thing, but it also means that I have the tumbling tumbleweeds of hair every time we open the windows and a breeze gets going. Yuck. I hate a hairy floor.

I also hate to walk barefoot and have stuff stick to the bottom of my feet. I suppose if I had carpet, the hair and dirty things would sink into the fibers, but that’s not such a pretty picture either. I have only wood and tile flooring and a single 8×10 rug. I’ve told Dan that when the vacuum cleaner dies, I’m going to get rid of the rug rather than buy another vacuum. The rug is the only thing I use it for.

But more than hair and dirt, which are supposed to get on the floor, how do so many other things end up there as well? Looking around, I see two boxes of uniforms that I got down from the attic and have yet to return, a plastic Easter egg (the cat was playing with it), a dog booty (thrown off by the dog and left there for several days), a wash cloth (why?), a bow from a package (what gift? when?), and an insulated bag that’s supposed to be in the back of my van.

All that on the floor in the living room and kitchen, and I don’t even use my floor as a floordrobe! What if those items (which I notice primarily belong to animals….hmm, there could be a lesson here) were joined by clothes, books, magazines, old newspapers, stacks of mail, CDs, shoes, toys, and a pile of laundry to be folded? How about bags of never-opened bags from the store, craft projects, extra pillows, a life-size paper mache giraffe? Some people’s house look like this. Mine has. Yours might.

I once worked with a man named Scott. Scott’s desk was a foot high in papers from right to left, front to back. Worse, he used his floor as an extension: his floor was literally covered with stacks of papers. No one could enter without playing tip toe. I did that for a while, but then I got so irritated with his mess that I just stomped straight over anything on the floor. I figured if he didn’t care enough to keep it off the floor, I didn’t care enough to avoid stepping on it. Probably not what he would have preferred, but it worked for the two of us. But think about it: He had papers so “valuable” that he had to keep them out and available, but it was okay that I walked on them. What does that say about their true value?

The floor is only for a few things: a bit of dust, a drift of pet hair, your feet, the furniture, some lamps. You should be able to walk freely through your home without worrying that you might step or crash into something. It shouldn’t be used as a storage room, trash can, dresser or closet. It’s not your storage unit, and it’s not a library. Get it decluttered if you can’t even see it.

Do you have a floordrobe, or have you overcome one?

Today’s Mini Mission

Aside from all the picking up and wasted storage space, indulging your children with too many toys teaches them the habit of excess and can also stifle their imagination. Have your children choose three toys each to donate to charity this week.

Eco Tip For The Day

Clothes remain new looking for longer when laundered with care. Wash lights with lights, colours with colours and dark with dark. Now that my household is down to just two I wash our lights with our sheets to save on wash loads. The spare bed sheets are red so when needed I wash them with red or even black clothes.

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow

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  1. My god I thought it was only me that had indoor tumbleweed. Thank god for wood floors although creating a hair cloud with every step when the dog-BLESS HER- is moulting, seems every other day,is not pleasent, at least it can be brushed up relatively quick. My daughter has the small box room as a walk in wardrobe. Unfortunately she rarely hangs clothes up, not enough room because she buys far too many clothes. I feel as though I should only enter with a plastic bag so as to bin items but apparently that isnt allowed. Hopefully she will eventually stop buying so much, however cheap it is, and I can stop pulling THAT FACE everytime I go into the room. We can but hope

    • Marie, something you might try with your daughter that my mom did with my brother. If it wasn’t on a hanger or on a shelf it went to the Goodwill. The only thing that could be on his closet floor was shoes. He learned real quick.

      • Marie, I’m pretty sure I could build a new cat with the fur underneath the dining table. When the urge strikes, I suck it up with the hose attachment on the vacuum. 🙂

    • Hi Marie, don’t ask my advice on this one. The only way I found to avoid this situation was to wait for her to move out. One can be the most tidy, decluttered person on earth but unfortunately you can’t force it on others. In fact I think my attempt to limit her clothing supply as a young teenager sent her in the other direction. Can’t be sure of that but it sure didn’t teach her to be conservative. And heaven forbid she should take care of those clothes by putting them away after her. Another thing I tried to teach my children from the day they were mobile.

      • Colleen – my younger daughter is one of those arty souls that seems to have a bypass around the ‘organise’ part of her brain – the other daughter is the polar opposite. When I send C to tidy her room, half an hour later I will find her standing in the middle of the room with a sock in one hand and a hair brush in the other looking confused. Ironically, she says she’d love to be organised. Under her bed used to be a refugee camp for clothes and stuff – but thanks to a mouse-hunt earlier this year we got under there cleared out.

        I think I should probably have another sort thru of her wardrobe and drawers – I’m thinking if we packed away the majority of the summer stuff we could probably hang more of her clothes with room to move hangers back and forth easily.

        When I deliver her folded laundry to her room, it often doesn’t make it to her drawers and if it does it is stuffed in the top and the drawer jammed shut. And when she’s looking for something, everything goes flying. By now, more folded laundry arrives and the cycle starts over. Then I ask for her room to be tidied and there is a collection of clean and dirty clothes and so she dumps it all in her hamper. Just for the record, some dirty clothes make it into the hamper each day, but I think she keeps the ‘can wear again’ clothes on the floor, especially school skirt and jersey and jeans.

        I guess I can only but try this idea. Can you see any obvious flaws or have any better ideas? The quantity of clothes has definately decreased over the last year but she does have a number of summer frocks in the wardrobe that can be packed away.

        • My older sister sounds like your “arty” daughter. Her room was always a disaster area and would stress my mom so much. One day, a friend of my mom told her “just close her door and if anybody goes to open it, tell them to do so at their own risk”. So that is what my mom did for the majority of my sister’s teen years. It saved a lot of stress, tears, and arguments. Also, my sister was responsible for having her own clean clothes and, if she didn’t, that was her problem. To this day, my sister hates to put away clean laundry. Her and her fiance have a laundry basket system in their laundry room – a laundry basket designated for clean items: shirts in one, bottoms in one, socks and underwear in one. Seems to work for them.

          I, on the other hand, was OCD about putting things away.

          My daughter, who is 14 and very artistic, went from being a super slob to being super neat (and pretty minimalist). She still hates to put away clean laundry, though an epiphany regarding how things can be overlooked while digging through a laundry basket may have altered her view on such things. 😀

        • No drawers Except for things that can Be jumbled, like socks. That would Be my Tip anyway. Out of sight organizing Works for some but Not for everyone. I used to Be super messy though I did Not like it. It took me a looong time to come clean and it still is a struggle but I understand much better now that I need Systems that are easy AND rigid As well As designated Space to toss. Low stacks, hanging and baskets

          • (Posted too soon again … Should Be called dumbphone)
            Baskets, clear bins and drawers work for some items. Boxes work for longterm Storage only, Second or Third rows of things are a Bad idea for me and I try to avoid them As much As possible

        • I have been an extremely messy teenager myself and I am still struggling. It doesn’t come easy to everyone. That said, I have always strived for “a place for everything and everything in it’s place” and it was exactly that that wasn’t possible for some reason what made my floor, desk etc. messy – to this day, my floor is messier than my drawers. If I put things away, I put them away in an orderly fashion, it’s just, often I don’t put them away at all. I needed to learn to pare down on stuff in general and use open storage as well as well divided hidden storage. It’s really bothering me to have a teapot sitting hidden in a kitchen cupboard I can’t reach easily. Having it on an open shelf (as I do at the moment) has been a vast improvement. While it always had been on the counter earlier, it’s on its shelf now. Same with clothes: I manage fine if I can put my laundrystacks directly on the shelves of my wardrobe. I never manage keeping it in order though, when the stacks in the wardrobe are so high that they might tumble or if I have to stack different kinds of items on the same stack. I need one stack for shirts, one for skirts and one for trousers. It doesn’t really work any other way. I think, just as Moni called herself “cateringly challenged”, I am “organizationally challenged”. It took time for me to find ways to keep things in order at all and it still doesn’t come easy. That is one main reason why I started decluttering. “Organizing for dummies” is what I do. 😀

          • Sanna, Sounds like we are soulmates. Or messmates 😉

          • Sanna – I love it “organizationally challenged” – yes that sums up my youngest. I like the insights on how you need easy access to make a system work.

        • I definitely wouldn’t be delivering clean clothes if I knew they were going to hit the floor pronto. Can you leave them in your laundry room? Or perhaps it’s time for her to do her own laundry. I get really angry when someone un-does my work, as your daughter is doing.

          Clearly, she has too many clothes for the space. You don’t say how old she is, but a couple of years ago, when Audra was maybe 7, I removed half of her clothes. I put them in trash bags and put them in the bottom of my closet. SHE DID NOT EVEN NOTICE! Eventually, they went straight to the thrift store, and I learned a big lesson. Also, take heart, Audra was the one who was the most disorganized and now has the most immaculate room in the house.

          • Cindy – LOL – she’s turning 15!!!!!! I know, I know! I investigated further and turns out it isn’t entirely her fault. Long story short, she doesn’t have an excessive amount of clothes, it has been pruned down quite a lot over the last two years. The problem is that her drawers are 4 high and quite small, each is probably 40cm wide, 40cm length and 25cm deep which isn’t a lot of space. When she took over this set of drawers – Adrian made decals to coordinate with her duvet cover so they do look very cool and promised to make her a matching bedside set of drawers for socks, bras and underwear, likewise decorated. Alas he has been working long hours for some time now and hasn’t gotten around to it so everything has been crammed in. I’d forgotten this master plan until after I went in there last night to investigate. I think I’m going to go ahead with removing Summer frocks and go with hanging as much as possible up.

  2. a piece, a pile, a corner …
    It always starts so harmless and little but then one thing seems to attract another and yet another …
    The floordrobe is a recurring event. I hate it, I fight it but I lose the battle frequently.
    It’s not so much clothes ending up there (that’s what the chairdrobe is for, isn’t it?) but it’s bags that should be unpacked, shoes not properly put away or stuff that needs a new home because of decluttering and rearranging. (writing this makes me realize what I actually already know: One key skill I need to work on is finishing things I start and I mean right away not sometime.)

    • I am so guilty of this too, Ideealistin – not finishing what I start!

    • Chairdrobe, haha…that’s my teenage son! otherwise his room is pretty neat, but the clean clothes never get put away in the closet or dresser, just thrown onto his chair until he wears them again.

      • In college, my boyfriend kept his dirty clothes in a pile in his wardrobe and his clean clothes in a pile on his bed or the floor. He only a week or two’s worth of clothing, so neither pile was huge, but the system seemed backward to me. He also used to claim that he wanted two dishwashers: one for the currently clean dishes, and one for the currently dirty dishes. Then he’d wouldn’t even need shelves to put his dishes on! In his defense, if you don’t have much stuff, you can have terrible systems and it still won’t be very messy.

    • I like the way you ended that comment Ideealistin. For a moment there I thought you were trying to blame the stuff and the floor for your own shortcomings.

  3. Just a stray thought, Cindy, unrelated to the gist of your post – I prefer to use the vacuum even on hard floors because when I sweep or swiffer, it seems to stir up the dust and pet hair, then I find it again two hours later! The vacuum picks it all up and contains it.

    Love the post. And floordrobe is a great word. A bit of humour never goes wrong when it comes to the wretched job of cleaning/decluttering 🙂

    • You’re not alone in this thought Jo. Colleen emailed me privately as soon as she read the post and told me to get after it with a vacuum. I guess I’ll have to comply to those who clean better than me! : )

  4. Hi Cindy! I had a floordrobe!!! As I decluttered some things and lots and lots of clothing, the storage seemed to grow (even though I am downsizing it! 😀 ) In my experience, things end up in the floor because there is no place to put them away. I don’t mean that the person has no storage, but that she really never thought where to store that particular item for use. My wardrobe used to be so crammed that I would leave clean clothing on a spare bed that I had because there was no place to put away things I really used (that had been washed), because of all the things I hardly used that were crammed in there! If you leave one little thing on the floor it will soon be followed by another and another up to a point you are stepping in stuff.

  5. Both of my sons have a floordrobe. They have plenty of places to put things, they just can’t see the point. I have tried the standing on their stuff thing, I have tried the stuffing all their stuff in a bin bag thing – it makes no difference. I don’t iron their stuff because I can’t see the point but they are not bothered about that either! Looking behind me in this office, I can see evidence of my husband’s floordrobe – there’s a sat nav, some kind of walkie-talkie thing, a bottle of water and some sun tan lotion lying on the floor.
    Honestly, I’m fighting a losing battle here 🙁

    • Perhaps the best you can do is set an example of keeping the floor clean in the public parts of the house. Once I had a boyfriend who was supposed to do the dishes and didn’t…for a ridiculously long time. I carried them all downstairs one day, and filled the front seat of his truck with them, without saying a word.

      I have to admit though that it didn’t work out: Also without saying a word, he calmly removed them from his truck, and drove off, leaving them stacked in the driveway!!

  6. Ha! Well, I used to be one of those people with a floor covered in clothing, and piles of god-knows-what… but I have been reforming my ways. My suggestion is to get a cat with a urinary problem who will pee on anything left out on the floor – it’s pretty much an instant cure!

    Seriously though, the thing that cured the “floordrobe” clothing problem for me was to empty one drawer completely and use it for “transitional” stuff – things that aren’t clean enough to go back into the closet, but not dirty enough to need to be washed yet. It made a HUGE difference for me!

    • I had a cat who peed on anything flat. It didn’t make me tidier, but it sure increased my hostility toward the cat!

      • Ha! Well, knowing that he’s sick and probably not long for this world makes it easier for me not to resent him for it. But he only had to pee in my tennis shoes one time for me to get the message that perhaps they should be put away in the closet where they belong!

  7. I’ve mastered life without floordrobe thanks to a picky ex. However my current bf piles clean, gently worn and dirty clothes on the floor! It drives me nuts, and despite protestations I usually fold and put away the clean stuff. Grr

    • I had a cat who peed on anything flat. It didn’t make me tidier, but it sure increased my hostility toward the cat!

  8. Our first rule was “Nothing on the dining room table that doesn’t belong there”. Our second rule was “Nothing on the floor that doesn’t belong there” I don’t think we have any other hard and fast rules but those two are really worthwhile. I hate tripping on stuff.

    • No floral bedding was one I clearly remember my husband and I agreeing too. No going to bed angry, always with a kiss and cuddle. Make the bed before you go to work was one I know my husband violates when I am not around.

  9. One of my daughters likes a floordrobe and it sends me bananas. Once I threw everything out the window.

    • I’d like to add that it wasn’t well received.

      • I”M receiving it well. See my comment above about loading dirty dishes into my boyfriend’s truck.

    • Natalie (@NatalieInCA)

      Hahaha… Once I put everything that was on the floor on her bed so I could vacuum. She did not talk to me for 3 hours afterward but that night, her bedroom was clean and she was asleep in her bed – at one point I thought she might just leave everything there and sleep on the floor…. lol

      • Makes perfect sense to me. I think she’s lucky you were willing to vacuum her floor.

      • I tried that one. He got into bed and kicked it all onto the floor where it lay for weeks. I don’t vacuum in their rooms either (unless they assist in clearing and dusting). They don’t care if I don’t clean their rooms, though. They just want to live in their filth!

      • This one has me chuckling because when I was a child it was always me dumping my mother’s stuff on her bed so I could find the floor! Not that I was any paragon of neatness, mind you, but if she was gonna get on me for not doing my chores (one of which was vacuuming) then I figured it was only fair that she should have to pick up her own stuff. It sorta went over like a fart in church, but at least I tried! 😉

  10. I have never had a problem with a floorrobe. My cousin lived with us for a bit over a year and she used to do that until my Mom told her to stop it. When Mom says “jump” you ask “how high?” I have been to a number of homes where I think the floor is where they keep everything. Drives me nuts. I have learned though to just grin and go on. At least I don’t have to live there.

    • I like your Mom, Deb J!!! 😀 Can she teach me how to do that??? 😉 My house once had a floor filled with “things”… Fortunately for me, I had kids, because they don’t go well with things on the floor, they just eat them…argh!!! So no more stuff on the floor. Don’t you feel like picking up the stuff when you go to an awfully messy house? I feel like going home and get my things in order and declutter some more…lol

      • Andreia, my mom started early with us. She could get this look in her eye that you knew meant you were on the edge. She also counted and if she got to 3 you knew you were in for it. It didn’t take long for us to learn.

        Yes, I do feel like picking up at places that are a mess. I tend to go home and just take a deep breath and enjoy the decluttered space.

  11. Hi – I have been following for a while now but haven’t ever commented.

    Looking around the whole house (excluding kids’ bedrooms) there is absolutely NOTHING on the floor. I just find it more peaceful that way.

    • Hi Purpledj, I am glad you have broken your silence and dropped by to introduce yourself today. I am so glad that you are achieving your declutter goals. Well done you. I must admit the hardest floors to keep clear are always the ones in the kids rooms. Only successful way I found to solve this problem is to have them grow up and move out. It was a long wait but it finally happened. But truly I just wish them every happiness and hope some of my organisational skills rubbed off at some point.

      Drop in again as often as you like to join the conversation and thank you again for todays comment.

      • Thanks Colleen!

        Yes, training children is an ongoing challenge. I am encourged that my child with the messiest room is the one who thanks me the most often for running an orderly household. He is shocked at the state of some of his friends homes.

        My biggest success (apart from DH and I walking our own decluttering journey) has been with my mum. One Christmas I gave her the gift of a focussed week of my time at her home helping her to declutter. DH and other family members helped with the heavy lifting of furniture. She honestly says that it changed her life!

  12. My daughter has a under-the-bedrobe, but I’m wising up to it now, as her way of tidying her room was to throw everything under her bed. For ages I was puzzling where all her underwear went, as there was always an undy crisis (when I know she has at least 10 pairs)!! Progress is being made as I actually witnessed her putting her dirty clothes in the laundry the other day:-) I personally have a chairdrobe (love that term!) which fortunately is in a little room which joins the bedroom and ensuite so no one else sees it.

    Colleen, I am cursing myself for buying white bed linen for our guest bedroom. I have to wash it separately and then tumble dry it, as if I put it on the line it just gets filthy, grrrr. Might have to dye it.

  13. I can still remember my mother preaching “put away what you’re using now before you get out the next thing” and I’ve always been happiest when following that. I tend to have my work clothes for the next day on the floor beside the bed but anything else……I have to get back out of bed and deal with it before I can go to sleep. Adrian doesn’t have that problem.

  14. My children think the living room floor is far game as a floordrobe. They leave shoes, jackets and socks there as soon as they get home. Drives me crazy. One of them never uses the hamper. By the end of the week the hamper is empty and the floor is full in his bedroom. The hamper is right there at a short distance but nothing finds it’s way into it until clothes need washing.

  15. I set my husband up with a shelf in the cupboard labeled “floordrobe” for the items that he could wear a second time. Most of the time items of clothing find the shelf, but they never seem to get worn again (or rarely) so he then starts a pile on the floor for what he might wear again, drive me mad. And nothing seems to make its way to the dirty clothes basket still have to ask him if he has clothes that need washing. Always joking here that I am a single mum with 3 children, not two.

    • My man never uses the floordrobe. Am I thrilled? Not so much because he is a draper. He likes to drape His clothes over furniture to Air out. He Even Hangs stuff in doorways that you then Run into … Grr!

  16. My bedroom floor is…a mess. I’ve been doing some purging and reorganizing. I also helped my mom purge the linen closet (omg the mess!) and the cleaning supply closet (which was just…::shudder::) So I also have some items from the linen closet on my bedroom floor – since my room is right next to the closet. Though our cats seem to think those pillows are for their sleeping pleasure. On the plus side, we managed to get the linen closet and cleaning supply closet both purged to the point we could store everything in the bigger closet and still have an empty shelf and floor. Win! And now my bathroom towels will go in the smaller closet so they can stop smelling like mildew because the bathroom gets hot and damp – and has no ventilation. But my bedroom floor is still a mess. ::sigh::

    I understand the fur tumbleweeds. We have (fake) wood floors and six cats. And a dog who is mostly indoors. It is a never ending battle.

  17. The only downside of having pets is the loads of hair they shed each day…and the hair seem to be everywhere…on floor, clothes, carpets etc. But this is one thing i have to live with if i am going to keep my two dogs indoors.
    other than this, the floors in my house are rather clean and not cluttered with things. Except for my son, rest of us are in a habit of keeping things at their designated spots.

  18. Here’s the system I use for clothes that worn again: I have four double hooks on the inside of my closet, as does Dan. That’s 8 hooks for each of us. Can-be-worn-again clothes get hung on these hooks. If I’ve just at home, I generally wear the same thing twice in a row (after I give the arm pits the sniff test) except in the summer, when it’s really hot here. In the summer, everything does straight into the laundry. If it’s an outfit for work, which I don’t want to wear twice in a row, I hang it inside out on the hanger; same with church clothes. Shirts and dress I generally wear twice before washing. Jeans, pants, and skirts might be worn more than twice, depending on how much they stretch out in the knees & butt and if they get dirty. Bottoms to be reworn generally get stored on the hooks. I *never* leave my clothes on the floor, bed, or chair.

    • Cindy…my husband and I do something similar to your system. We each have one hook in our closet to hang our “around the house” clothes. His work clothes go on the post of our bed each night. When he works, they are gone by morning. When he’s off, they shift to the hook in the closet as he wears the “around the house” clothes. For me, I work from home, so my “outing” clothes get hung back on the hangers but I reverse their direction on the rod, so I know I can wear them again. When dirty, they go in the hamper. Works for us! BTW, finally got the hubby to fold his PJ’s after showing him it takes no more time to fold than to roll them!!! His version of folding…..drove me crazy! 🙂

  19. After reading all of the comments there is one thing I can tell you I learned when I was helping people declutter and organize. Everything needs a place to land and landing it has to be reinforced. One thing that quickly broke my brother, father and me of leaving things draped around or dumped on the floor was it disappearing. If it didn’t go where it belonged Mom would take it away. Sometimes we got it back and sometimes we didn’t. I wasn’t as bad as my dad and brother was but I did not like to have something taken away. Another thing that is good is to limit what a person can have. If they only have a few toys or a few clothes or whatever then they are more apt to put them where they belong. The idea of each person having to be responsible for having clean clothes for school/work is great. If they don’t have something they will either change or learn to take care of their own clothes. Hope you all find a solution that fits you/your family.

  20. Hahahaha I got a good giggle out of all of these. Bless you all for that. I had my own esperience of a ‘floordrobe’ as a youngster but I learnt the error of my ways because everything ended up trashed and stepped on etc etc. I changed quicksmart and started doing the laundry and ironing and got a new appreciation for my Mum. My sisters were still droppers. I grew up and was blessed with meeting a ‘dropper’ and leaver of shoes, sports bag whatever. I got so sick of constantly asking to pick up, he always did but he still dropped here and there! Finally I started gathering everything up and piling it in front of the tv or his golf clubs and later when he backslid, the computer! Didn’t take long to get the message across. Later when my son started doing it I would gather everything up and shove it into his lap as he sat in front of the tv or the computer. (it always got quick attention) after a little while I only had to look at him and then look at the stuff and then it got done. Didn’t take long to train him!!! Just lately the only problem is getting him to remember to hang the bathmat!! Otherwise we no longer have ‘floordrobes’ of any kind!!! If at anytime the laundry doesn’t go in the hamper and ends up on the floor, it boomerangs back to his bed!! Doesn’t take long to re-set his brain!! 🙂 🙂 🙂