Clutter stresses me out. I wouldn’t be able to live in a house where I constantly saw things that didn’t have a place or were useless. I like to attribute it to my love for efficiency and cleanliness instead of a mild case of OCD….jury is still out on that one. Whatever the reason, this has lead to the development of a system to keep a clutter-free house. It’s a three step system. I won’t say it is easy because I know that some people struggle with selling/giving away things but it is manageable and doable. You can do it. I believe in you. If clutter doesn’t stress you out, pretend that it does and follow the three steps below. The result? You will wake up every morning and come home every night with less things to clean, move, and generally take care of. That’s like adult heaven- right?? Okay, let’s get started.
1. Remove the Clutter.
This step is by far the hardest. It means going room by room, drawer by drawer, nook by nook, and cranny by cranny. Looking at every piece of clothing, piece of paper, pen or pencil, and all miscellaneous items. If you forgot you had it, it can go. If it has been sitting on the console table (or worse the dining room table) for over a month, it either needs to go or a place needs to be designated for that thing and all things like it. This step can take multiple efforts and attempts. Going room by room is the best way to go about this. Most people have three or four places in their house that collect clutter. Maybe everywhere else is doing great. Just do those three or four places and that will help you build momentum. If you are starting with a closet, reference this post about closet purging.
2. Designate a Place for Everything.
You are on step two. As I said above, step one was the hardest so take a deep breath here. Go room by room and make sure that everything that is in that room has a place. Not just a place where it gets thrown or the place that it is now. But the ideal place that represents where that item gets “put away.” If mail collects on your console table, get a basket or organizer for it. If you have miscellaneous pens and other office supplies, designate a bin or drawer where those things go, not just on the closest table. This step goes hand in hand with step one because if you cannot find a place for something that means that it (or something else in its place) need to be gotten rid of (sold or given away). There’s really no use in removing the clutter if the things you didn’t get rid of don’t have a place. This will cause your home to feel just as cluttered as if you didn’t get rid of anything. This step is so necessary for the “keeping” a clutter-free home part. Then you can implement that “don’t put it down unless you are putting it away” organization tip!
3. Keep a Donation Bag.
In our house, we donate to Goodwill. So it is the Goodwill bag. It is a brown paper grocery bag that is always open and ready in our garage. Once it is full, I take a trip to Goodwill to donate. Having this designated bag keeps getting rid of clutter in the forefront of your mind. You open a cabinet and see an item that you didn’t even know you had and don’t use. You can walk it straight to the garage and put it in the donation bag. That way you don’t have to remember to go back later AND you don’t EVER have to do a big declutter (step one). Ideally, you are not bringing things into your house that will just end up being clutter. Some event t-shirts or knick knacks have gone straight from my car into the donation bag so that I don’t have to look through them three years from now and wish I had just donated them to begin with. However, there are times where items need to be replaced or revamped. When that happens, I take the new item and put it in its place, grab the old item, and put that straight into the donation bag (unless you have another use in mind for it).
Follow these three steps to keep your home clutter-free! Try it out and let me know how happy it has made you 🙂