Simple Habits for a Clutter Free Home

I’ve moved! You can now follow along with my adventures at my new blog, Ennaree

www.ennaree.com


It’s no secret: I’m a messy person. Actually, I spent the first twenty-something years of my life ignoring that fact. But now that I share my space with someone else full time, I’ve realized that it is, in fact, me.

The most ironic part of it is that I am the first person to be bothered by a messy home. I’ve scoured the internet for tips on how to keep things tidy (for untidy people like me), and I’ve been slowly piecing together some good habits to help keep me sane.

My best practices for a clutter-free home

Obviously, the first and foremost tip I can give is to keep a simple home. If you’re reading this on my blog, you probably could have guessed that. But let’s talk about less conventional rules and habits that I’ve developed to help keep our tiny apartment clean!

 Treat the countertop as sacred space

This one is new-to-me, and actually works so well for me that it prompted me to write this post with other tips. Make it a rule that no dirty dish ever graces your countertop.

We’ve all been there (maybe): all of the dirty dishes piling up on one side of the sink, and then slowly taking over other available counter space. This new rule makes it so that every single dirty dish you bring to the kitchen goes straight into the sink. Is the sink too full? Then it’s time to either wash the dishes or load them into the dishwasher. Or, you can get in the habit of clearing it first thing in the morning or right before bed.

It works especially well for me since it makes the dishes more manageable if I handle them in smaller batches.

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 Make the bed

This one provides an instant boost. I’ve always known that my day seems a little brighter when I make my bed, but it’s not always top-of-mind.

It’s not just me, either: making your bed really can have a huge impact on your day.

Open the blinds

We try to keep as much light out at night, but during the day it’s essential for me to have my curtains pulled open. Natural light is just so pleasant.

Plus, by opening the curtains and blinds, I can more easily see dust. It sounds gross, but it’s way more motivating to clean when I can see the problem areas easily.

Everything gets a home

Yes, everything. If it’s beautiful and you use it often, set it out so that it can add to your decor. If it’s terribly ugly and you never use it…wait why do you have it?

Designate space in your cupboards for things like cleaning supplies or ugly (but useful) cookware. You might even go so far as to giving different groups of spices different homes on the spice rack – just start developing the habit of putting them right back where they belong when you are done.

I even give library books space on my nightstand or bookshelf so that they don’t just float around the apartment haphazardly. It also makes me feel super cool to have interesting books on my shelves – without having to pay for them.

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Make it a pleasurable experience

Find ways to make your cleaning habits more enjoyable. Have dusting rags in your favorite color, pick a wonderful scent for your cleaning product, splurge on durable and reliable tools to help you clean.

Right now, our dustpan is held together by masking tape and it makes me cringe every time I have to use it. So in the near future, I’ll be getting a dust pan that won’t snap immediately when I use it. We also splurged on a Swiffer WetJet and we ended up using it way more often than the shoddy mop we had initially purchased.

Basically, don’t skimp on tools if the better version will make cleaning more pleasurable (or at least more tolerable).

And now, for something completely different

This one is going to come as a bit of a surprise. While it’s not a regular habit, I do think there’s something to it for those of us who find our homes regularly cluttered: redecorate.

 

Don’t be afraid to switch things up, add things or remove things to make your space feel more intentional. It’s okay to style a bookshelf with pretty things that bring you joy if that means you keep other random (and unhappy) clutter from gathering there.

If you’re not intentional with your space, your things (no matter how few you have) will start to take control. I’ve been working on being more purposeful in my design and layout of the apartment, and that’s been a huge help in managing the flow of “stuff” through our home.

Are you messy like me? What are your favorite cleaning or decluttering habits?

 

Reorganizing vs. Eliminating

After the chaos of the last few weeks, I finally had time this weekend to clean house. My “donate” bag was notably smaller than it’s been in the past, and I finally feel like I’m getting closer to only owning the essentials.

But there was still an overload of stuff. My fiancé recently moved in and doubled the amount of stuff we have in the apartment, so this weekend I took the time to cleverly reorganize. But how should you balance reorganizing and eliminating? What’s the point in setting aside time to do each separately?

Eliminating

This should be done first. Eliminate waste, old possessions, things that no longer bring you joy, or that the cost of owning far outweighs the benefit. Mentally block off spaces in your home and take them one at a time, removing anything that isn’t useful or beautiful.

This process requires you to identify your own why. Are you getting rid of things because of a move? Because you’re feeling overwhelmed? Because you have memories you no longer wish to carry with you? For me, I felt that my possessions were weighing me down unnecessarily and I decided to make a change. This process also comes with a need to identify next steps: are you going to continue purchasing new things, or are you going to move forward with only what you have?

Having a reason and outlining next steps will help make the process easier.

Reorganizing

This should be done after you’ve been through at least one round of elimination. Imagine eliminating possessions as a warm shower, and reorganizing is the process of drying your hair, picking out an outfit and getting all dolled up. Reorganizing possessions is an excellent way to catalog what you still own and give everything a home.

Reorganizing physical things actually helps my mind put everything in its place as well: I find it easier to schedule time to relax, cook dinner, pay bills, etc. It’s a way to reduce the distraction and train yourself to give everything, even thoughts and emotions, it’s proper space and time.

The Not-So-Vicious Circle

Once you do these things once, schedule out time in the following week to do it again. You may find yourself spending less time deciding which items to eliminate and which to just reorganize, and you’ll notice that it gets easier and easier to give your possessions away. Let the circle continue: someday, you may find yourself with nothing left but the essentials. Wouldn’t that be nice?