Cluttered house, cluttered mind.
That’s really so true, isn’t it? You could live in a house that really isn’t clean but it is uncluttered, so it appears cleaner than it really is. That’s the thing about clutter–it clutters everything around it, even in our minds. For me, I can’t sit down to do anything relaxing with a bunch of clutter around me. Kids’ messes if they’re playing doesn’t bother me, imagination trumps clutter, but a bunch of papers stacked up, piles of shoes by the door, dishes stacked in the sink…that will get to me really fast. I know I’m not super anal and I know I’m not the only one who feels like this. Here’s a few ways to combat clutter even in the worst spaces in our homes.
Clearing the clutter
1. Keep your counters clear. This is a place where, at my house, it becomes super cluttered really quick. Mail, pens, forgotten toys–it all ends up on the counters. Put as much stuff in your cabinets as you can and keep them clear. They get full enough on their own. Then when you are ready to bake or do something messy, it’s already clean and ready for you.
2. Keep mail under control. My mail goes three places: magazines go to the living room where I keep a small reading stack, things I need to read further goes on the desk, and the rest goes to the trash…right away. Mail stacks up so fast…and causes ugly clutter.
3. Keep the stairs clear. Raise your hand if you have a pile of stuff at the top or bottom of your stairs to go the opposite direction. Me. Ok, so this spot just needs to keep clear. Ask your kids to take anything that belongs to them up or down every time they go that way–and then put that item away! It’s magical what can happen when everyone chips in. If everyone that passes that pile of stuff would just take it in the direction they’re going, there would never be a stack.
4. Keep shoes in their places. Everyone needs a spot for their shoes. A cubby, a shelf, a basket…whatever. Come up with a good system for your doorway to keep shoes picked up. Nobody likes tripping over shoes as they come in the door.
5. Wake up to clean. Every night before you go to bed, declutter. Makes sure the main spaces you’re going to see when you get up are cleared off. I’m convinced this helps your day go better. Really. Think of how you feel if you wake up to a stack of clothes to put away by your bed. Or a sink full of dirty dishes. Yuck. Nobody wants to wake up that way.
6. Declutter after lunch. It seems like at our house the morning gets messy. I don’t know how this started, but every day after lunch and after I lay Vera down for her nap, I take a few minutes to put dishes away and declutter. I send the kids on their way to put away any stray school books or toys and clear the kitchen counters again.
7. Contain desk clutter. It’s hard to work at a desk that’s a mess. Use a clipboard or a box or a file to keep all the unpaid bills in to wait until bill paying day. Have a place for all other papers. Use some fun organizational baskets or containers to keep your desk pretty and neat.
8. Laundry clutter. I am not good at this. I will get all our laundry done and leave my basket of clean clothes there for the next laundry day. Fail. What we really should do is put those freshly laundered things into our drawers right away. Piles of clothes look so messy…must get better at this.
This should get you started on clearing the clutter in your home. I need to get busy now!
This post is part of a 31-day series on simplifying our homes and schools.
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