The following is a guest post from Angie at Easy Living Mom.
If you don’t have time to clean the house, you would be surprised at how tidy your space looks if you’re able to clear the clutter. More importantly, you’ll know where everything is, and your life will be simplified. I stick to the following eight rules in my house to keep clutter at bay.
1. Full Hands In, Full Hands Out
This is a trick that I learned in my days of waiting tables. It was a rule that no one could go in or out of the kitchen without full hands. I use the same rule in my house. We have areas of items that need to go downstairs, items that need to go upstairs, and items that need to go somewhere specific. No one can pass by the area without taking some of the items.
2. Spaces in House
To keep piles from accumulating around the house, it’s easiest to have a designated “home” for all of your belongings. I keep the following spaces in my house: items that need to go to people (such as borrowed items), items that need to go somewhere (such as library books), sentimental projects and papers created by the children, items to be donated, and on-the-go items (such as child water bottles, outerwear, and strollers).
It’s much easier to have fewer, high-quality items than a lot of “stuff” that you rarely use and may not even like. Imagine if you loved all of your clothes, enjoyed looking at all of your home decorations, and used every toy and tool that you own. Wouldn’t that make life easier?! Try to minimize the amount of “stuff” that you have, and your clutter will automatically begin to disappear. If you’re not sure where to start with paring down your possessions, this Org Junkie post will be very helpful for you: How to Make Weekly Household Purges Happen.
4. 60 Second Paper Rule
Paper is usually the fastest thing to accumulate in a home. Try to deal with all paper with 60 seconds. In this time, you should be able to do one of the following: throw it away, keep it in a “to do” folder, file it, or save it where it belongs. Here is my file system that eliminates all paper clutter in our house:
5. A Place for Everything
One of the biggest reasons people don’t deal with clutter is that they don’t know what to do with the items. If you spend a little time to create a system for your house, all of your paper and belongings will have a home. Use a filing system to keep important papers to which you’ll need to refer in the future, a safe or separate file for important papers that you need to keep but do not need to reference, and the spaces in your home as described above. If an item has been sitting around for a while, ask yourself if it has a home, and if not, create one for it. Here is a “before” and “after” of my hair appliances when I realized that they needed a home:
6. Use Electronic Systems
Do as much as possible electronically. You can pay bills online, scan papers and save them in electronic folders, store music on your computer or mp3 player, save pictures on an external hard drive, and purchase books on an e-reader. All of this will save the amount of clutter that you accumulate, and allow for safekeeping.
7. Clear Counters Daily
If you get into the habit of clearing your counters every night, you will not run into a situation where you have so much clutter to clean that you don’t know where to start. Also, you will more easily recognize where everything belongs, and will become very efficient at putting it all away.
8. Have an Abundance of Storage
Although I tout minimalism, storage devices are my major exception. I keep many storage bins and boxes of all sizes and frequently find the need to use them. This will help make sure that you always have a place to put something that is sitting around.
How do you avoid clutter in your home?
My name is Angie, and I am honored to be guest posting on Org Junkie. I’m an avid reader of all types of helpful information, and known to friends and family as an “ideas person.” I have enjoyed writing my entire life, and consider it my hobby. My other hobbies are water sports, and trying to squeeze in some exercise when I can. I am fortunate to have a wonderful husband, two spirited children, and a career that I love in academia. I started my website Easy Living Mom in May, 2012. On this site I like to write about any topics that simplify life for busy moms (is there any other kind?). Please check it out and you can find me on Facebook too. To send me a private message, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for taking the time to read my post!