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.
THE BATTLE AGAINST CLUTTER
I love a clutter-free home. I find it peaceful, calming, rejuvenating and on a purely practical level, it’s so much easier to keep clean and tidy. There are so many great reasons to declutter your home but the important one for me is that it means I have more time for other things instead of housework and keeping on top of the laundry. More things that I enjoy, more time for my kids and family and more time for living the rest of life.
I’m pretty good at decluttering but even I have to be careful that clutter doesn’t secretly invade our home! What really helps keep that clutter away are some simple, daily routines that I do, mostly without really thinking about it now, to keep a check on what comes into my home.
In this article I’m sharing some little tips which I hope might help you too if this is something you struggle with. There are, of course, some other things which you could do as well, such as shopping more mindfully, really understanding what clutter means to you (and its impact) and acknowledging the clutter that you can’t see but which still distracts us and takes up space in other ways.
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!
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!
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.
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.
7. Put away coats, bags and shoes: When you come home, put your coats, bags and shoes away that moment. Don’t just dump them to deal with later.
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.
10. Own less stuff: If you have less stuff, you have less clutter.
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!
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!
16. Washed laundry: Put clean clothes away the moment they’re dry.
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.
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 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!
If it all seems a little daunting, here are a few articles and resources which you might find helpful: