“This is the real power of habit: the insight that your habits are what you choose them to be.”
– Charles Duhigg
You’ve gotten rid of all the stuff you don’t use or love. Wonderful! But guess what? You’re never actually done decluttering.
New things keep coming into your home. By establishing some new habits, though, you’ll be able to keep your stuff under control with little effort.
1. A place for everything.
You’ve probably heard the proverb, “A place for everything and everything in its place.” Before you begin trying to instill new habits, determine which items don’t have a “home” and decide where you’ll keep them.
Think about what piles up on the kitchen island or dining room table. Which items do you often lose?
It may be that you simply don’t put these items where they go, but the problem may be that you don’t have a set place for them. Or maybe you do, but it’s inconvenient and you need to find a better spot.
2. Deal with mail.
When you get the mail, deal with it immediately. Put junk mail right into the recycle bin. Put bills, invitations and other items you need to deal with in the proper places.
Also, work to be taken off unwanted mailing lists.
3. Just do it.
If you can do a task in less than a minute – just do it.
4. Clean the kitchen after every meal.
Wash the dishes or put them in the dishwasher. Quickly wipe down the counters and sink.
5. Create a routine for dealing with clutter.
Most of us are busy and can’t keep all the surfaces perfectly empty all the time. But make sure you don’t let any area go more than a week or so without decluttering.
For example, we get the Sunday newspaper and take all week to read it and finish the puzzles. We keep any unread/unworked portions of the paper at the end of the dining room table, but we always make sure it’s all in the recycle bin before the new paper comes.
6. Be mindful.
When you see something you know you don’t use, don’t just shove it in the back of the drawer. Put it in whichever receptacle is most appropriate: donations, recycling, or trash.
7. One in, one out.
Simple logic dictates that if you bring more into your home than you get rid of, it won’t be long before your home fills with clutter again.
8. Immediately deal with laundry.
Put the clean clothes away when they come out of the dryer, and put your dirty clothes in a hamper. If you plan to re-wear something, put in your closet or dresser instead of throwing it on the floor or chair.
9. Toys in the toybox.
Have your kids pick up their toys each night before bed.
Do the same thing with your own “toys.” Put away your knitting materials, art supplies, magazines, board games, etc.
10. Use your maintenance calendar for decluttering.
My customized home maintenance calendar ensures that every area of my home is thoroughly cleaned at least once a year. When I empty cupboards and closets to clean them, I’m attentive to which items need decluttering rather than mindlessly shoving them back in.