Want to know the difference between those with cluttered, messy homes and those with mostly clutter-free homes?
Good habits can put a clutter-free home on autopilot for you.And bad habits can ensure that things stay cluttered. Forming new habits isn’t easy. But it’s worth it! Replace bad habits with good ones to create the decluttered home you really want!
1. You’re so overwhelmed with it all that you’ve given up trying to declutter.
***SOLUTION: Don’t give up yet! It’s not hopeless. Keep reading.
2. You don’t put things away throughout the day. You (and your family):
Don’t feel bad. These are very common sources of clutter. And good habits can help you do away with this type of daily surface clutter.
***SOLUTION: Make putting things away an automatic habit you practice as you go about your day.
When you leave a room, take dirty dishes with you and load them in the dishwasher immediately. If there are no dirty dishes, take other out-of-place items and put them away (clothes, papers, etc.).
After you fold laundry, put it away. It really doesn’t take long. Enlist some help from family members to make this even quicker.
When you take off clothing, hang it/fold it or put it in the hamper. Teach your children to do the same. It will take time for this to become a sticky habit but it’s entirely possible.
Lots of families do this simple task every day. Yours can too. Put hampers or baskets in every room where dirty clothes get left on the floor. Put important papers that need attention in an inbox/basket, then toss/recycle/shred everything else. This only takes a few minutes.
3. You don’t put things away upon returning home. Keys, bags, jackets, phone, mail, etc. are all deposited in the most convenient spot.
***SOLUTION: Practice a Threshold Routine
You’ve probably heard of morning routines, evening routines, and daily routines. Those are all good things. But you also need a “return home routine”. That rolls off the tongue slowly, so I like the term “threshold routine.”
When you cross over your threshold, with stuff in your hands, put it where it belongs:
It may sound like a time-consuming process but, really, it’s not! Try it and see. If you time yourself, you’ll see just how quick it is to do these things. This goes a l-o-n-g way toward helping you maintain a decluttered home.
4. You don’t have a “place for everything” that’s working for you.
Your previous organizing efforts are a bit troublesome to use, therefore no one is using the system you set up, including you.You haven’t decluttered closets, drawers, and shelves of things you don’t need or use. This makes it difficult to put things away (see #2 and #3 above), which keeps your home messy. This creates a vicious cycle, but it can be broken!You don’t have an inbox/basket for papers needing attention.
“A place for everything, and everything in its place” is one of the most important organizing principles for maintaining a clutter-free home. Making the “place” easy and convenient to use helps ensure things get put where they belong, rather than left out on the most convenient flat surface.
***SOLUTION: Set up easy to use one-hand-storage-solutions, like open baskets, trays, and hooks. Frequently remind your family members to use them until this becomes a habit.
5. You don’t follow a daily routine.
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” ~Benjamin Franklin
We all need a basic routine to follow each day. Will you accomplish everything you plan to each day? Not likely. But that’s no excuse to give up completely and let the days get away from you day after day, week after week after week.
***SOLUTION: Create a simple daily routine on paper and start using it. Put it someplace highly visible, like the refrigerator door, and hold yourself accountable.
To create a simple daily routine, get a sheet of paper. Across the top of the page, write Mo., Tu., Wed., Th., Fr., Sat., Sun. Down the left hand side of the page write each important task you need to accomplish each day. Those tasks should include things like:
If you are just getting started with a daily routine, keep it very, very simple. If you add too many tasks to it, you may quickly become discouraged and give up. Start with micro-habits, habits so small that you have no excuse not to do them. The four tasks listed above are the bare minimum chores required to successfully run a household. You need to be able to load dirty dishes to keep your kitchen reasonably clean throughout the day. You and your family need clean clothes. You need dinner. And most days have at least one really urgent to-do task that needs to be completed.
Complete these four things each day and you will feel like a success!
Once you consistently do these basic tasks for a few weeks or a month, try adding one more task to your daily routine.
You can do this!
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