If you have already gone through the process of decluttering your home, you may not have many excess items to continue to declutter. However, you may now need to focus on how to prevent the over-accumulation from happening again in the first place. These four habits to keep your home clutter free will help you to tackle the problem of too much stuff at the root of the issue. By taking the time to implement these habits for a clutter free home into your own life, you will find it much easier to manage the amount of stuff that you already have. Decluttering your space is one thing, building habits to maintain that clutter free space is another.
Habit #1: Reduce Items on Counters and Other Surfaces
It is time to consider what actually needs to be left out on your surfaces. Only the essentials should be out at any given time, whether it be on kitchen or bathroom counters, desks, or coffee tables. Some things are sitting on countertops because we are just used to having them out: take a toaster or a coffeepot for example. Truthfully, though, these items do not necessarily need to be sitting there. You should instead find a place to put these things that allows for easy access in the future that will also allow your surfaces to stay as open as possible in the meantime. A cluttered surface can lead to or reflect a cluttered mind, which may make your items harder to find as a result.
Additionally, in regards to decorations, these are clearly the types of items that will likely be left sitting out. Décor is acceptable to have taking up surface space, so long as you truly value and enjoy having that piece there to begin with. If you do not get any value out of having a certain décor item, consider decluttering it. When the annoyance of the process of cleaning that item or the surface around it outweighs the benefit of having it, or looking at it gives you more of a headache than any actual joy, it might be time to rethink the décor that you have taking up your precious surface space.
Habit #2: Prioritize Systems Over Stuff
Simply because you have decluttered a space once, does not mean that things are not going to accumulate again over time. You have to put a system into place in order to maintain that decluttered area. It may take some time for you to find a system that works for you, but that should not deter you from implementing one.
A good example of a basic system is the one-touch system. With this, each item should only be touched once. In the instance that you are coming home from work and have your purse, jacket, and keys to put away, you are to put each item in its right place as soon as you walk in the door. By putting things away as you use and are done with them, you are not just putting them down once, and then picking them up again to put away later. The one-touch system saves you time and helps you to build better habits.
Habit #3: Limit the Clutter that Enters Your Space
This strategy is quite simple: be careful about what you allow into your home! Do not let mindless clutter come in, or things that you say you will “deal with later.” Incoming clutter could refer to mail, any sort of freebie, or new shopping items. For some people, it is hard to deal with these things right away. To counter this, you have options.
When you get mail, handle it right away. Walk things to the recycle bin or open things that are urgent and should be promptly dealt with. For freebies, just get rid of them. Oftentimes you do not need them nor want them anyway. If you shop frequently or truthfully just more often than you should, the one-in-one-out rule is a fairly common and helpful strategy to utilize. This rule says that for each new item you allow into your home, you get rid of one to even it out. So, when you buy a new pair of shoes, the one-in-out-rule asserts that you should get rid of an old pair to balance the number of items in your home. This rule in particular will help ensure that the number of things you own will be maintained, and everything will have its own designated spot in your home.
Habit #4: Declutter Furniture that Enables you to Keep Too Much Stuff
Enablers are the pieces whose main purpose is for storage; these items may be enabling you to hold on to more things than you really need. Declutter these enabling pieces in order to free up some space. There are obviously some storage pieces that can be helpful so that your belongings are not left scattered everywhere, but many pieces do have the main purpose of simply holding things.
Even beyond furniture, sometimes general extra space in a home does the same thing – it enables you to fill it in order to fully “utilize” it. Then you are holding on to extra things you do not actually need just to fill the empty space. Maybe you have an extra dresser you do not really need, but it fills up some floor space in your guest bedroom where you feel there should be a furniture piece. Choosing to eliminate this type of storage, however, allows us to then eliminate and deal with any of the clutter that might be there just for the sake of being there.
Creating long-standing habits to keep your home clutter free is definitely a gradual process. Some habits may take quite a long time to get used to. Even so, going through these strategies at your own pace and doing what works best for you will only benefit you in the long run. If you feel overwhelmed or your home still feels out of control after the initial decluttering process, consider these four habits for how to maintain your clutter free home and take back and reclaim your space.
For more detail on these four habits for a clutter free home and to see how I have implemented these habits into my own daily life, check out my video about them!
Need some help decluttering? If you need to make progress on your space, I think you will love my 30-Day Decluttering Challenge! This FREE guide is designed to help you work through different aspects of your space, and it is broken into small pieces so you don’t get overwhelmed! Get your free download here!