Last week we talked about the reasons behind our clutter. I hope that as you read the reasons, you were encouraged that you are not the only one who struggles.
I’m speaking from a place of experience. It wasn’t until I really thought about the reasons for my clutter, that I started putting an end to being overloaded with stuff.
This week I’m helping you define your clutter zones and sharing tips for maintaining those clutter free spaces.
Here is a list of places to keep clutter free. Start by picking one area to work on.
- junk drawer
- kitchen counter
- bathroom counter
- top of dresser
- top of desk
- the “clothes” chair
If you would like step-by-step help with initially organizing one of these spaces, you can see how I organized my linen closet without spending any money here.
Now, how do you maintain it?
1) Develop habits and routines.
You can print out my list of daily, weekly, and quarterly habits as a guide, but I would start with just one habit for now.
This doesn’t happen over night. It takes time to establish new habits. I encourage you to focus on one new habit and commit to it for at least a week or month.
For example, a few years ago I was so tired of waking up to dirty dishes, that I committed to washing the dishes after supper every night for an entire month. There were days I didn’t want to do it, but I reminded myself of my goal.
Just having that one habit to focus on made it much easier to accomplish. By the end of the month, washing the dishes after supper became second nature.
Think about developing a routine for dealing with these areas in your home.
- laundry (dirty clothes and clean clothes)
- kid’s toys
- paper work
- kid’s school work
- everyday belongings (shoes, bags, keys, ect.)
Each month, I challenge my email readers to focus on one habit. This month we are developing the habit of putting our purses, keys, shoes, work bags, and kid’s bags away when we get home instead of just dumping them on the floor or kitchen counter.
2) Take care of things right away.
One thing I learned from Melissa Michaels’ book Make Room for What You Love* was to make decisions about my belongings right away. I used to let items pile up on my bed or the kitchen counter only to have to deal with them at the end of the day.
Now I make it a habit to put things away as soon as I’m doing using them instead of leaving them out. This has cut back on much of the clutter that used to accumulate during the day.
3) Designate a home for everything.
Sometimes clutter builds up simply because we don’t have a designated spot to put things. If you have items that are constantly out and in the way, ask yourself if there is a place for it to go.
I used to throw my purse anywhere and everywhere when I got home, and I always had to search for it. Finally, I put a hook up in our closet just for my purse. Now it has a home, doesn’t become clutter, and I know where it is.
Real Life Examples:
Establish a habit of taking everything inside when you get home. Pick up all the trash and throw it away. Bring in work and school bags, clothes, shoes, toys, and anything else that doesn’t belong in the vehicle.
Make it a family responsibility. Your kids can carry in their bags and trash too!
Does everything on your bathroom counter have a designated home? If not, look around your home for small containers that can be used to corral toiletries, cosmetics, and anything else that often gets left out.
Establish a habit of returning those things back to the containers when you are finished using them.
The “Clothes” Chair
Maybe it is your dresser or even your floor. Wherever clothes tend to pile up, make a commitment to start making decions about those clothes right away. Either put them in the dirty clothes hamper or hang them back up in the closet.
Commit to doing this for a month, and it will become second nature!
This week’s assignment:
- Pick one place in your home that you would like to keep clutter free.
- Go through that space and make sure everything has a home.
- Develop a habit to keep it that way.