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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 auto pilot for you. And bad habits can ensure that things stay cluttered. Forming new habits isn’t easy. But it’s worth it.
Imagine returning home after a busy day. You walk in the door tired, but your glad to be home. Look around. Your house looks pretty good- not perfect, but tidy enough that you feel you can relax for a few minutes before starting dinner.
Isn’t that what you want? Its what we all want. Keep reading to learn which bad habits have been keeping you stuck. Replace bad habits with good ones to create the decluttered home you really want.
I’ll walk you through every one of the habit changes, one easy step at a time.
Sick of all the clutter in your life? Learn the 5 bad habits that keep your home cluttered.
1 You’re so overwhelmed with it all that you’ve given up trying.
Solution: Don’t give up yet! Its not hopeless. Keep reading!
2 You don’t put things away through out the day.
You (and your family)
- Leave papers scattered through out your home.
- leave dishes though out the house, on the coffee table, side tables, dressers and bedside tables.
- Leave clothes (both dirty and clean) strewn about the home, on the floor, on the couch, over the backs of chairs.
- Leave other items all over the house rather than putting them away when finished using them.
Don’t feel bad. These a 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, ect.)
- 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 habit, but its possible. Put hampers in every room where dirty clothes get left.
- Put important papers that need attention in an inbox/basket.
3 You don’t put things away upon returning home.
Keys, jacket, bags, phone, mail, ect. 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.
- Hang jackets
- put keys on hooks, or in a basket/bowl
- Put your phone, purse, and other bags in designated places.
- Empty shopping bags, put everything away, and store/recycle the bags.
- Open/recycle/shred papers, putting important ones that need attention in an inbox/basket.
- Open packages, put things away and recycle the boxes.
This goes A LONG way toward helping you maintain a decluttered home.
It may sound like a time-consuming process but, really, its not. Try it and see. If you time yourself, you’ll see just how quick it is to do these things.
4 You don’t have a “place for everything” That’s working for you.
- Your previous organizing efforts are a bit troublesome to use, there for no one is using the system you set uo including you.
- You haven’t de cluttered closets, drawers, and shelves of things you don’t need or use. This makes it difficult to put things away (see #2 & #3 above) which keeps your home messy. This creates a vicious cycle, but it can be broken!
A place for everything, and everything in its place:
That’s my motto, and sort of my mantra that I keep repeating to myself, to make sure I stay on track. And its the most important organizing principal for maintaining a clutter free home. Making the ‘place’ easy and convenient to use help ensure things get put where they belong rather then left out on the most convenient surface.
Solution: Set up easy to use on hand storage solutions, like open baskets, trays, hooks. Frequently remind your family menbers 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 and week after week.
Solution: Create a simple daily routine on paper and start using it. Put it some place in easy sight, like the fridge door. And hold yourself accountable.
To create a simple daily routine, get a sheet of paper. Across the top of the page write Monday – Sunday. Down the left side of the page write each important task you need accomplished each day. Those tasks should include things like:
- unload the dish washer before breakfast]was/dry/fold/put away one load of laundry
- decide on/prep dinner
- one urgent task
If your just getting started with a daily routine, keep it very simple. If you add too many tasks to it, you may quickly become discouraged and give up.
Start with micro 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 through out the day. You and your family need dinner. You and your family need clean clothes, and most days have at least one really urgent task that needs to be completed. Complete these four things each day and you will feel like a success.
Once you fall into habit with these basic tasks for a few weeks or a month try adding one more task to your daily routine.
You can do this!
Your home will be cleaner, and you’ll be happier.