Staying on Top of Clutter
We all have times in our lives when we find it difficult to stay on top of things - clutter is no different!
It's an amazing feeling to get rid of the clutter in your home, but it's even better to keep it clutter-free.
Once you have worked hard working on decluttering, it can be disappointing and disheartening when the clutter starts to creep back in.
Many people approach decluttering and organising like a crash diet. Spending the day, weekend or even longer, getting a space looking good, only for it to quickly revert back to cluttered and untidy.
Maintaining a clutter-free home is all about your habits and consistency.
Repeating the same habits as before will result in the same outcomes as before, so it is important to be more intentional about creating new ones.
DECLUTTERING and organising is a lifestyle, not a one-off.
This is the first thing to accept (the most important is at the end). Decluttering and organisation is an ongoing process. Life isn't static, and so neither is the stuff in it. It all needs taking care of on a regular basis.
Every home will benefit from regular decluttering sessions. A dedicated day each month, or even just a couple of hours here and there, can help you keep pace with the paperwork, manage your wardrobe and enable you to focus your attention on how you are loving your life.
Simply by taking a look on a regular basis, at all the items that accumulate in your home you can assess your habits and help keep your space clutter-free.
Even if you hire a Professional Organiser to help you declutter and organise your home, you will still need to develop habits to maintain the systems they put in place (although they can help you to implement these too!)
The trick to keeping clutter-free and organised is developing simple home habits that weave naturally into your daily routine, keeping your home relatively clutter-free and organised without too much effort.
EDIT YOUR STUFF frequently
You don't have to live a completely minimalistic lifestyle and get rid of all your stuff. The goal is to find the level of possessions that makes your house feel like a home that you can fully enjoy being in.
Be mindful about the items around you taking up your space and regularly ask yourself if you really need them. Are you truly using or loving them?
Top Tip: CREATE A DONATION AREA
This is one of my favourite systems to implement for keeping the clutter under control.
Allocating a box, bag, basket or space where you can easily place unwanted items makes it more convenient to let them go. Once it's full, or at regular intervals, you can drop the contents off at your local charity shop or sell them. It's much better to have unwanted items contained in one place rather than scattered around your home (or squeezed into the back of cupboards or hidden in wardrobes), adding to your clutter.
It also helps to get the whole family on board with decluttering.
MAKE SURE EVERYTHING HAS A HOME
"A place for everything and everything in its place".
Every item should serve a purpose and have a home.
Get into the habit of putting things away back in their home once you've finished using them to prevent items from hanging around and cluttering up your space. Try not to ignore or pass anything that needs to find its way back to its home - clutter attracts clutter.
It may not be possible to stick to this every minute of the day, but the best way to not let things get on top of you is to stay on top of them.
There is a huge benefit in how you feel and function when your home is in order.
The life-changing magic of tidying up
Tidying is simply the putting away of things back into their home.
Practice the habit of quick resets after you have used a space, making sure that everything is returned to its home before you move onto the next activity.
Make your bed in the mornings; put away the dishes after dinner; hang your clothes up when you take them off; put your toiletries away after you have used them. Little tasks like these require minimal effort but mean that your home will remain tidier for longer. Use little minutes every chance you get.
Did you know that making your bed each morning sets the tone for a productive day? As well as it looking tidy and inviting, this habit builds momentum for you to keep putting things in order.
In addition to your little minutes and quick resets, allocate some regular time to focus on each space in your home. I like to give time to a different room each day where I do a quick declutter if needed (popping unwanted items into our donation basket), make sure everything is in its home and then clean. I also note any areas that need extra attention.
Even if I only have 15 minutes that day, the regular resets of each room help me to keep them relatively clean and tidy without too much effort at all.
Don't add to your clutter by bringing unnecessary items into your home. Once you've started to remove clutter, it's like trying to dig a hole but not getting anywhere because the mud keeps falling back in.
Minimise impulse buying by taking a shopping list out with you so that you don't get drawn into buying things you don't need. Offers and marketing techniques do work in convincing us to buy things we don't need, unfortunately.
"Buy less, choose well and make it last" - Vivienne Westwood
Invest in fewer but better items that you want to take care of and enjoy using. Cheap, impulse items tend to float around your home and become disposable - creating clutter.
update YOUR SYSTEMS
Don't be afraid to change your organisation systems if they are not working for you. Sometimes things don't work out as well as we had hoped. If it doesn't work for you or your family, you're not going to use it.
It's not very often that things turn out perfectly the first time around, so you may need to make some tweaks and adjustments after you have lived with an organisational or storage system for a while.
Even a space that has been well-organised and previously worked well may stop working - because life changes. There may be an excess of additional stuff since the system was put in place (if so, always go back to the decluttering step first to see if you can reduce before changing the system), family growing up, and their needs changing or moving to a new home.
Review and re-evaluate regularly and adjust if needed.
CREATing CLUTTER-FREE HABITS
The reality is that you will only change your home if you change your habits. You can't keep doing the same thing and expecting different results. But, if you're willing to put the effort in, it can be life-changing.
Being more aware of the habits that you have developed can prevent your possessions from controlling your life. If you have had problems with clutter in the past, making sure that you don't repeat the same patterns takes constant effort until you no longer find yourself falling back into old ways.
The habits that you need to change or implement will be different for everyone because the source and type of clutter vary significantly from home to home, person to person.
Think of a small habit that you could achieve on a daily basis - anything from making your bed each morning to clearing the kitchen worktops every evening. Do it every day for the next month until it becomes a natural part of your day, and then add another small habit. And then another.
It takes around four weeks of daily effort to change ingrained habits or to create a new one, but keep going.
It really is the small but lasting changes that make a big difference in your home and life.
If you feel like your constantly tidying and you never feel like you're in control of the clutter it's good to take a step back and try and work out where the clutter is coming from.
MOST IMPORTANTLY: YOU CAN'T ALWAYS STAY ON TOP OF THINGS IN YOUR HOME
Accepting that decluttering, organising and tidying your home is an ongoing process may be the first thing you need to accept. But, THE most important thing to accept is that you cannot be on top of it all of the time.
We all have times in our lives when we find it difficult to manage everything that we need to do.
I'm no different. There are often days when I don't achieve what I set out to.
Allow yourself some time to relax and pick up your habits as soon as you can. Once you've started to implement some of the habits mentioned above it'll be much each to pick up again. Like having a map to follow to help you get back on track.
Progress over perfection always!
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What do you struggle to stay on top of in your home?