Everyday habits can drastically reduce clutter if you stick to it. By doing some simple tasks that take only a few minutes each day you will be able to get rid of the piles of laundry, stacks of dishes and towers of mail.
Let go of the idea that everything needs to be perfect. A home that is manageable is not only achievable, but much more realistic.
- Write out a to do list for each day, preferably the night before, with everything you need to do. Prioritize everything so even if you don’t get through the list, you at least do the most important tasks. Check the list throughout the day. Cross off things you did and watch how productive you are. Seeing it in black and white will encourage you to keep going. Avoid trying to multitask. Do things one at a time and it will go more smoothly.
- Put things away after you use them. It seems like a no brainer, but it’s so easy to leave things “until later” and then later never comes. Everything you own should have its own place. If there is no room for it, the best plan would be to get rid of it, or to get rid of something else to make space.
- Be sure to make your bed every day. Even if you think you’ll wash sheets later, making your bed demonstrates that from the moment you get out of bed you are being productive.
- Do you always lose your cell phone, keys or wallet? If so, set up a designated drop off area right near the door. If you get in the habit of dropping your keys in a dish when you come home, you always know where your keys are. There are few things as frustrating as needing to leave the house and not being able to find your keys.
- Wash dishes after meals. Either put them in the dishwasher or wash them. Leaving dishes in the sink can cause smells, attract insects as well as look unsightly. If you let dishes pile up, it can take a long time to clean them all. On the other hand, taking care of this job right away will keep your kitchen looking good and usually only takes a few minutes. As part of this process, wipe off counters, tables and any other surfaces you used for food prep and eating.
- Eliminate the shoe pile. Does everyone in the family kick off their shoes as they come in the door? Put them away either in an entryway closet or bedroom. The shoe pile will be gone in no time.
- Keep clothing off the floor. Deal with it when you get undressed. Hang it up, throw it in the laundry basket, whatever you need to do, when you change clothes. Keep an eye on your kids so they do the same.
- Open your mail every day and if possible, do it next to the recycle bin. Recycle junk mail immediately to stop paper stacks before they start. Even better, get off mailing lists entirely. Sign up for the National Do Not Mail List. Junk mail can get really bad around the winter holidays so stop it now before the big catalog push.
If you regularly have problems with these tasks, you don’t have to do everything at once. Start with one of these suggestions and add one each week. After a month or so you will see a big reduction in clutter and you will feel happier and more productive each day. If it’s too much for you or you need help getting started, contact me.