I hate clutter! But with four kids, there are times when I feel like I’m drowning in it! Don’t get me wrong, I’m no candidate for the show Hoarders, but I still need to make an effort not to be swallowed by the stuff in my home each and every day. Here are my top ten daily tips for keeping your home (and mine) clutter free:
1. Every morning, make the bed! It’s a great start to the day.
2. Have a designated space for your children to put their jackets, backpacks, and shoes when they come in from school. Work with them to put their items in their correct place (and be a good role model by keeping your things in their spot as well), and their stuff won’t be thrown all over the floor or missing when they need it fast.
3. My favorite decluttering guru, Peter Walsh, stresses the need to keep a donation box or basket in an accessible area of your home. Once it’s filled take the items to the charity of your choice. Don’t wait until you have a big load. Just put the basket in your car and go!
4. Another Peter Walsh tip is to carry a trash bag around your house once a day and fill it with things that need to be tossed. I can’t tell you how many things are in my home that need to go in the trash can! After a few days of doing this, I can always tell a difference.
5. When the laundry is finished, fold it and put it away. No need for it to stack up and take up space on the dining room table (or wherever your laundry ends up!). I’ve started folding my clothes on my bed, so at least I know by the end of the day I’ll have to fold them if I want to go to sleep!
6. Throw away the junk mail as soon as it comes in. Don’t stack it up on the kitchen counter. Instead, on your way in from the mailbox trash the junk mail before it becomes another pile.
7. Keep counters and tables clean. My house can be perfectly clean one minute and the next have every flat surface filled with papers, groceries, school work, toys, work supplies, and everything in between! My goal (although I often fail at it miserably) is to keep piles of papers and other things that don’t belong off the counters!
8. Before bed, make sure all the dishes are in the dishwasher and the sink is clean. This is a classic Fly Lady technique (and something my grandmother made a lifelong habit of), and I’ll be the first to admit that I sure do feel better when my sink is clean!
9. At the end of the day, have your children put their toys where they belong. No toys on the floor at bedtime, everything needs to have a home! Teach them young that if they make a mess that they are responsible for cleaning it up.
10. And last but not least, once a week watch an episode of some sort of decluttering show, like Enough Already, Hoarders, Clean Sweep, or Clean House. They’ll give you some decluttering tips and an example of what you don’t want your house to become! It’s always motivational for me and quite an eye opener of how a small mess can spiral out of control.