There are few things more relaxing than coming home to a clean house. At the end of a long day, you can flop down on your couch, and unwind knowing your house looks great and everything is in its place.
The struggle to keep your house clutter-free can be a difficult hurdle to overcome if you’ve become accustomed to a certain amount of mess. However, it’s not impossible to fix!
The first thing you may wish to try is sorting your bits of clutter into three piles - things to keep, things to throw away and things to donate. Take it a room at a time, but there is no need to take on your entire house in one day. You’d be surprised about how much you own and how quickly that can burn you out. Do a little and do it often, and you’ll be surprised at what happens.
With this said, it can be a waste of time to declutter if you don’t do it the right way. That may seem obvious, but if you’re not careful, you could fall into bad habits again. De-cluttering isn’t so much about moving one pile from one place to another. It’s more about deciding which pile your things go into - donate, keep or throw away. If you’re just planning to move things around, that’s fine, but it’s not de-cluttering, and if de-cluttering is your goal, then this technique is a waste of time.
We get junk brought into our home every day in the form of mail. This isn’t to say all mail is junk but there are a good amount of coupons, promotional postcards, and flyers you simply don’t need. Look it over, and if you don’t need it or want it, throw it away or if you’re able to recycle it.
The same principle applies to receipts. There’s something to be said about the importance of keeping receipts, but only if you are organized about it. If you are able to, keep a digital archive of your receipts rather than the paper copies. This way, not only can you keep your expenses and bills organized for tax and accounting purposes, but you can confidently save yourself from having to file away that much more paper in some tucked-away cabinet, container or box.
Speaking of containers, they’ll be your best friend when it comes to organizing everything. By organizing items into coordinated containers (toiletries, books, shoes, etc.). Even if these containers aren’t perfectly organized on the inside, it’s better than leaving piles of clutter everywhere. Those piles of clutter could house pests of all sorts, which could make your feelings about your home even worse.
Having an organized place for your “junk” is also important. Don’t misunderstand - a junk drawer is good. Multiple junk drawers or containers are not at all helpful. There’s no need to organize every last tiny thing in your house; a junk drawer can be helpful for those little odds and ends you may not normally have a place for.
Speaking of drawers, you may also want to invest in organizers within your drawers. You can make small compartments in your drawers using pieces of old cereal boxes. You can cut them to fit your drawers and customize compartments to keep your drawers tidy and to prevent overstuffing.
To further eliminate clutter in your rooms, you may want to look at hanging containers for the back of your doors. You can use these containers to keep cleaning tools nearby, hang hats and clothing - there are a number of possibilities for this underrated space. This is perfect for organizing odds and ends in your closet, bathroom, kitchen, and bedroom.
Once you’ve chosen a solid organization technique or two, work yourself into the habit of putting things away. It’s tempting to leave a plate on the counter or keep the coffee grinder on the counter rather than putting it back in the cabinet. You might slip up here and there, but be firm and remind yourself to put things away when you’re done with them. The more you can clean as you go, the closer you will be to clutter-free!
Lastly, one of the best steps you can take to a clutter-free home is not to let it build up in the first place. There are several simple preventative measures you can take, including avoiding free promotional gifts, picking up free roadside furniture you don’t need or anything that you don’t need in your life or you aren’t totally in love with.
To keep clutter out of your house, it’s a good idea to repeat the three-pile procedure from time to time, maybe even a few times a year or once a month if you are able. Prevention is the key, and your home will be all the cleaner for it.
Living clutter-free, while it takes hard work to get there, is a reward in itself. The house can look clean and tidy without getting minimalist (unless, of course, that’s what you’re looking for). As you get into the habit of de-cluttering regularly, you will start to notice that your thinking changes, too. You may find yourself thinking more carefully about the things you buy and considering whether or not you’ll end up throwing it away in a few weeks. This will end up saving you money in addition to keeping your home free of junk and clutter.
If you find you’re in the midst of clutter, don’t worry. You’re not alone, and nobody is perfect. If you see pictures of beautiful spaces in magazines or Pinterest and believe you can’t achieve anything quite so lovely, think again. You might have had some off days and cleaning got away from you, but at no point is it too late to - forgive the pun - dust yourself off and try again.
How do you take the clutter out of your life? What are some space-saving ideas you use? What organization tricks have you picked up over the years?