If you’re like most people, you start off with well-intentions. You move into a new apartment or house and lovingly put everything in its place. Then you vow that it will all stay that way – tidy and orderly – because you are dedicated and devoted and determined.
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Then, it creeps up on you. First, it’s a few things on the counter and then a few items stacked by the stairs; before you know it, clutter is rampant. If you find yourself becoming gradually overtaken by clutter, you don’t have to just accept defeat. Instead, adopt some healthy habits that will help you kick the clutter in no time.
You’ve probably heard that paper isn’t the best for the environment, but that’s not the only reason you should consider forgoing the use of this tree product. Paper is also the source of tremendous mountains of clutter.
From bank statements to the five-year-old magazine containing beauty tips that you aren’t going to utilize anyway (because if you were going to you would have done so within the first month of having the magazine in your possession, so you can stop holding on to it “just in case”), paper products seem to multiply like rabbits and rapidly litter your tabletops.
Stop this vicious cycle. Sign up for paperless bank statements and get digital magazine subscriptions. As an added bonus, you can feel good about what you’re doing for the environment while keeping the lid on your clutter.
Make Laundry A Daily Habit
While doing laundry isn’t fun, it’s hardly an arduous task. You don’t have to scrape your Levis on a rock in the stream or anything; you just have to put them in the machine and turn the dial.
Instead of letting your dirty laundry overtake the space, make it a point to do one load of laundry every day. Not only will this habit ensure that you never amass an overwhelming amount of laundry, but it will also make sure your best bra is always clean and ready to go.
Set A Nightly Clean-Up Schedule
Cleaning is only horrible if you have to do a lot of it all at once. Instead of burdening yourself with a mass of work you have let slide, make cleaning a group activity each night. Set aside a certain block of time – at least 15 minutes – during which you and the rest of your family members will clean.
Pick a time that doesn’t interfere with bedtime, homework time or prime time to limit the number of excuses lazy family members have when they try to shirk this responsibility.
Throughout the day, create a list of things that need doing during this time, deciding to whom you’ll assign each duty. When the time comes, set the assigned tasks and use a timer. Tell all participants that they need to work until the timer sounds, ensuring a dedicated workforce for a set period of time.
Discard Stuff Instead Of Saving It
While you might one day want that four drops of neon green paint that rest in the bottle you have tucked away in your craft room, you probably won’t. Avoid the urge to hang on to things on the off chance you may want them one day.
Try your hardest to be ruthless in your tidying, throwing away things for which you don’t have a clear and immediate use. If you just can’t face throwing these things away, invest in a storage space in which to keep these odds and ends that you can’t bear to see hit the garbage can.
While it might be a bit of a financial burden to pay for this space, storage spots aren’t generally terribly expensive, and the benefit to having these items out of your space will prove more than worth it.
Dedicate A Mess Room
Your entire house can be spotless, right? Yeah. And you can also ride to work on a rainbow unicorn. The truth is that despite your best effort you probably won’t ever be entirely successful in beating the mess.
Instead of allowing this lack of perfection to get you down, set aside a space in your house for those odds and ends you just don’t have a place for. Pick a closet or cabinet and make this your mess space. Any time you come across something you just don’t have a place for, tuck it away in this space. Clean it out once a year to ensure that it doesn’t become some monster that one day overtakes your house.