Decluttering is a big topic for a lot of us moms. There are constantly things that are coming into or homes and cluttering up our spaces.
Every once in a while when the clutter becomes overwhelming, or we just feel unusually motivated, we clear out an area of our home. Once we declutter, we feel super impressed with ourselves for clearing out the clutter and making our space comfortable again.
Then a few months, weeks, even days later, the clutter is back! How can that be?! And how can we prevent that from happening? The following are 14 tips to help you keep your decluttered spaces, decluttered.
1. Never Leave a Room Empty Handed
Whenever you are leaving a room in your house to go to another room, take a quick glance around and see if there is anything you can bring with you that actually belongs where you are going.
So for example, if you are heading to the kitchen to grab a snack for the kids, bring the coffee mug from this morning to put in the sink. If you are putting the kids to bed bring any toys or books that belong back in their rooms. Make your trip to the other room perform double duty.
2. Have One Place For All Papers
Each evening, I quickly go through any mail and papers that enter the house, This can be letters from school, or fliers, or bills, or documents to file, etc. If it is something that requires immediate attention, I address it. Otherwise, I put it in a basket where I will review and respond to it later.
Once a week I go through the basket and address each paper that comes in. If you want to learn how I go through my papers, check out my post on the Weekly Basket Organization Tactic. This prevents papers from being piled all over the house.
3. Practice One in One Out
When you declutter and organize your space, you make room for the amount of items you have at the time. When you get something new, you don't have a space for it.
By practicing one in, one out, you toss or donate one item for each item you bring into the house. You buy a new dress, you get rid of one. You buy a new throw pillow, you get rid of one. This prevents the inflow of new items from overwhelming the space that you have.
4. Do a 10 Minute Tidy Daily
On the Big Comfy Couch, Lunette the Clown did the 10 second tidy. however, she was a clown and had the ability to fast forward herself. We are not that lucky. Instead, we have the 10 minute tidy.
Set a time each day to tidy up one area of your house. This can be one cabinet, one dresser drawer, or one table. By doing a little bit each day, you will not get back to the point where the clutter is taking over your space.
5. Take 24 Hours to Consider Any Purchase
Instead of buying things the minute we see a sale or a cute shoe in the window, take 24 hours to consider every purchase. This isn't just a great tip for managing money, it's also great for keeping the place tidy.
While some of the clutter in our homes comes from not putting things away, much of our clutter comes from the new things we bring into the house. By cutting down on impulse buys, we are less likely to overwhelm our spaces with stuff.
6. If It Takes 2 Minutes, Do It Now
Do you ever put off things that don't actually take much time? Like you try on a blouse that has a stain so you just toss it onto the floor and grab a new one. This makes a mess when it doesn't have to.
Take the 2 seconds to put the blouse in the laundry instead of on the floor. The same goes for things like leaving food on the counter because you might want a little more. Seriously, how long does it take to pull it back out of the fridge if you want more. If it only takes a minute or two, get it done now.
7. Make The Bed
This is a total game changer both for mindset and making the room look neat. There is something so calming about seeing a made bed. It sets your mind at ease. It's also impossible for the bedroom to look neat if the bed is unmade.
Making your bed kicks off the day with cleaning in mind. It also gets you motivated to make sure that the rest of the room stays neat and clean as well.
8. Put It Away When You Are Done
This one is kind of similar to #7 but I think that it deserves it's own spot on the list. If you are done with your makeup, put the products away. If you are done cleaning the kitchen, put the cleaners away. If you are done watching TV, put the remotes back in the holder.
Make it a habit that once you finish a task, you put away the items you used to perform it. Don't put it off to some time in the future, do it now. Also, encourage this habit with your kids. It will totally serve them in the future!
9. Halfway Is Better Than Not At All
With that said, sometimes you really are in a hurry. You have dinner reservations and you have to be out of the house in 5 minutes. You don't have time to put away all of the makeup products on the counter. In this case, half done is better than not at all.
Instead of tossing your hands up, deciding that you don't have enough time to clean it up and choosing to browse social media, clean up as much as you can. Getting some of it cleaned up is better than leaving it all to be cleaned up later. It's less work that you have to do later.
10. Finish One Task Before Starting the Next
Sometimes we can have the attention span of a squirrel. We jump from one task to the next without finishing the first task we started. That means that all of the items we needed for the first task get dropped as we start the next thing.
This creates a mess that is totally unnecessary. Instead of jumping to the new task, write down the next thing you want to get done so you don't forget. Then complete the task at hand before moving on to the next one.
11. Borrow Instead of Buy
Sometimes buying new things is necessary, other times borrowing is a better option. Need a book to read? Borrow from a friend instead of buying a book you're only going to read once. If you end up loving it so much that you want to read or refer to it over and over again then go out an buy your own copy.
Painting some kitchen cabinets? Borrow the had sander instead of buying it. How often are you really going to use that tool that you need to have it taking up space in your home. When planning a project see if the tools you need are worth buying or if it is better to borrow. Just don't forget to give it back.
12. Say No to Free Stuff
This one is hard but oh so important. When we see people giving things out for free, our eyes glaze over and our hands automatically reach out. We can't believe the value of getting something for free.
The problem is that although it is free, if you don't actually need it, then you shouldn't be bringing it home anyway. Free food samples, go for it. The thousandth free tote bag or water bottle, let it go. If it's not going to be used, it will just take up space in your home.
13. Accept That You're Never Going to Fix It
Do you have a collection of items that you intend to fix but just haven't gotten around to it yet. Like the toy whose head came off and the mug who lost it's handle. These things can start to pile up.
It's time to accept that you will probably never fix any of these items. there is always something else to get done and these items slip our minds. Just accept that it was loved and has now moved on to a better place. Then move it out of your home.
14. Have a Donation Box
Ever go through your closet and see something you never wear and think I should really donate this. Then you move on because you have nowhere to put that item until you donate it, so it stays in your closet. Then you forget about it until the next time you see it in the closet and the cycle repeats.
Instead have a designated donation box in one area of your home. Immediately put items you want to donate into the box. Once the box is full, take it to a donation center and start over. Having place to put donation items makes it 100 times more likely that you will actually donate them.
By implementing these habits, you can help ensure that your house stays organized and decluttered once you get an area cleaned. Sadly, organization isn't a one and done thing. You can't just clean once and it stays that way. But by implementing these habits, you can use minimal daily effort to keep your spaces decluttered.
What's your favorite decluttering hack? Let me know in the comments.