20 DAILY HABITS FOR A CLUTTER-FREE HOME
Decluttering is one thing, but keeping our homes clutter-free is a totally different matter! Busy daily life brings clutter in all shapes and forms, which threatens to invade our homes, hearts and minds. If you’re struggling to keep the clutter at bay, here are some simple strategies and 20 daily habits for a clutter-free home.
DECLUTTERING YOUR HOME AND STAYING CLUTTER-FREE
Decluttering is an important part of simplifying your home and life. It’s the first step that many us take as we try to simplify our daily lives and create more time, space and freedom for what matters.
Having a home that’s easier to manage, less demanding on our time and energy and which is a joy to come back to after a day’s work or school, is wonderful!
That’s not to say that a clutter-free home is always neat and tidy. If you have a busy family, especially with young children, you’ll know how easy it is for the home to get messy and untidy. However, a clutter-free home is so much easier to clear up afterwards!
Clearing your clutter certainly makes for a calmer, more peaceful home that’s easier to manage but you’ll also need some habits and routines to help you maintain a clutter-free home.
Without these habits and routines in place, your home will probably soon become cluttered again and your decluttering efforts will be wasted and you’ll end up frustrated.
In this article I’m sharing some easy daily routines and habits for a clutter-free home that you can try out for yourself. I hope they help declutter your home but most importantly, keep that clutter away!
Further reading: How to Declutter Your Home and Life – the ultimate guide to clearing clutter and keeping it away. This is a great place to start if you’re new to decluttering and need some help to begin.
20 DAILY HABITS FOR A CLUTTER-FREE HOME
Try these simple daily habits for a clutter-free home. With a little forward planning, they won’t require too much energy or time on your part as they become part of your regular, even daily routine.
1. Give everything a place to live
Whether it’s keys, school bags or incoming post, it’s always helpful to have a proper place for these items to be stored until you use them or get around to sorting them. Otherwise, they’ll just clutter up your space and you’ll be moving them around to clean or won’t be able to find them when you need them!
If you can’t find a place for something to live when not in use, then perhaps it’s time to ask yourself whether you really need to keep that item in the first place?
2. Assess your home and find the clutter hotspots
I have a busy family and our entrance way works really hard for us with lots of people going to and fro. The kitchen counter is another dumping ground as well as my daughter’s bedroom with her toys and craft supplies.
Your home and your clutter hotspots might be different to mine so take a look around your own home and see where your clutter builds up the most. Come up with some ideas to stop the clutter building up in these places as a priority and you’ll make life so much easier for yourself!
3. Filing and organisation systems for paperwork
Incoming post, letters from the school, random notes, half-finished art projects – these are just some examples of paperwork that build up in our home. Instead of dumping it in random piles throughout the home, come up with a system to keep it neat, tidy and organised. Whether it’s just one pile in an allocated space on your hall table, desk or kitchen counter, a storage file or box, drawer or set of in-trays, find a system that works for you and stick to it!
4. Use the ‘one dot rule’ when it comes to paperwork
Building on the point above, I once heard a great little strategy that really works for me! Every time you handle a piece of paperwork, put a small dot on the top right-hand corner. Aim for just handling that piece of paperwork once, so you have only one dot. That means you’re reading, actioning and filing/saving/shredding that paperwork in one go without putting it down, moving it around and picking it up over and over again!
The one dot rule can also be applied to other things in your home. You might not be able to put a dot on it, but try to handle or touch things just once. If you pick up a dirty mug from the living room, don’t just move it to the kitchen counter. Take it to the sink and wash it or put it straight into the dishwasher. Touch things once instead of shuffling them around from place to place.
5. Have a donation box by your front door
Aim to put something in it every day or every week and deal with the contents regularly. Leave it by the front door or somewhere prominent that will remind you every time you walk past it.
Don’t forget to empty it regularly. Sort the stuff through and take it out for rubbish, or recycling or to donate. What you do with your unwanted stuff at the end is all part of the decluttering process.
6. Do a daily reset of your home
Before you unwind for the evening or before you go to bed, put your home to bed with a little reset. When you get up in the morning you won’t be greeted by the clutter of yesterday.
Clean and clear the kitchen surfaces. Make sure all toys, laundry and anything else you’ve used during the day are all put away. Straighten cushions and rugs. Put your home to bed like you put yourself to bed so it’s ready for tomorrow!
7. Put away coats, bags and shoes and laundry
When you come home, put your coats, bags and shoes away that moment. Don’t just dump them to deal with later.
Put clean clothes away the moment they’re dry. Nothing feels worse at the end of the day than to be greeted by piles of laundry just chucked on your bed that still needs sorting and putting away.
8. Put things back when you’ve finished with them
Don’t leave your stuff lying around if you’re no longer using it. Whether it’s craft projects, toys or DIY tools, just remember to put things away when you’re finished and before you move onto something else.
9. Keep the flat surfaces clear
Table tops, worktops, floors and even stairs (!) can be clutter hotspots. Make it a mission to keep them as clear as possible and the rest of your home will feel clutter-free even if it’s not totally. Clear surfaces also make spaces look bigger and they’re easier to clean too. Make a note to clear your flat surfaces at least once a day, perhaps in the evening or before meail-times, so the piles don’t get a chance to build up!
10. Own less stuff
Perhaps the most obvious way of maintaining a clutter-free home is by having less stuff. Less stuff means less to organise, move, declutter, tidy up. In turn this means you have more space, time and energy to enjoy living in your home instead of maintaining it! Read more about the benefits of simplifying life and living with less.
11. Try the one in, one out rule
It doesn’t work for everyone and I don’t advocate following it all day, every day but it’s a useful rule of thumb if you’re trying to keep the clutter at bay. If you buy a new bag, donate an old one. If you buy a new chopping board, throw away an old one.
12. Make your bed every morning
A tidy environment leads to a tidy mind and a made bed helps prepare you for the day ahead. Make it a regular habit and it’s a signal to your brain that the day is beginning and you’re ready for it! Here are some other ways to declutter your bedroom and why it matters.
13. Do the dishes straight after dinner
Make washing up or loading the dishwasher part of your evening meal routine. Who wants to be greeted by the remains of dinner when you wake up in the morning? Just get it done and the kitchen will be tidier and you’ll have clean dishes and cutlery all ready for when you need them next (no need for lots of extra sets!)
14. Don’t move around empty-handed
If there’s something to take upstairs and you’re going that way, take it up with you. If you’re going into the kitchen, take that dirty mug with you.
15. Put clothes away when you take them off
If they’re dirty, pop them in the laundry basket. If they’re clean, hang them up or fold them into a drawer. Don’t hang them on the back of a chair or toss them on the floor!
Make a mental note of the clothes you wear often and, conversely, which ones never seem to see the light of day. Declutter your clothes and get rid of the ones that you don’t wear or don’t feel right in and create a little more space in your wardrobe.
16. Do a weekly reset
Just as we talked about a daily reset above to clear the clutter from your day, I encourage you to do a weekly reset too to simplify, organise and declutter your home.
Read more about ways you can plan for the week ahead, but some other suggestions could be to sort out and clear your fridge as you meal-plan for the week, put out the rubbish, get on top of paperwork including filing and shredding, paying bills, checking letters and emails and decluttering your inbox.
17. Do quick tasks right now
If you know something is only going to take a few minutes, just get it done and out of the way. Putting it off for later means it’s likely to be forgotten or you won’t have time for it if you’ve got other (more exciting) things to do.
18. Be aware and mindful
Becoming clutter-free is one thing, making sure you stay clutter-free is another. Although it becomes second nature with time, busy daily life brings with it clutter in various shapes and forms.
Just be aware and mindful that whatever enters your home, and stays there, is something you really want to be there. Think of it as a lifestyle choice and mindset shift where you’re learning to think differently about the stuff that clutters your home and life – the minimalist mindset.
19. Get your family on board
Easier said than done if other members of your household aren’t quite on the same page as you. However, you’re a team and you all live under one roof so it’s helpful, wherever possible, to have collective responsibility for making your home the best place it can be for all of you.
Ask for help, explain why you want to catch the clutter and encourage your kids to help around the home in whatever way they can.
20. Empty the recycling and bins regularly
Yes, I consider that recycling and throwing the rubbish away is a form of decluttering so count this one in too as one of the 20!
I hope you enjoyed these ideas and that they’ve given you encouragement to know that keeping a clutter-free home isn’t too difficult as long as you’ve got a few simple strategies in place!
It may not be easy at first. Developing habits and routines for a clutter-free home and that work for you (and the rest of your household) may take time and perseverance but if you can, I really encourage you to stick with them!
The benefits of a simplified and decluttered home and life are well worth it.
If it all seems a little daunting, here are a few articles and resources which you might find helpful: