Easy Clutter-busting Habits

Three Ways to Become Clutter-free

Tidy people know that doing a lttle bit now saves a lot of time later. They have developed habits that keep their environments clean.

The “Little Bit” Approach

There will be no need for major clutter-busting sessions if you handle clutter the same way it accumulates: in bits and pieces. Make it a habit to bend over and pick up the errant paper clip or dropped pen instead of stepping over it. Put the coffee cup into the dishwasher now instead of letting all the daily cups and spoons pile up until the end of the day. It only takes a fraction of a second while a full dish-washing session can take up 20 minutes or more.

A neighbor of the author would pick one weed every time as he walked from his car to his house and thus saved his weekends for fun activities. Another friend brings in the mail and stands over the trash bin to toss out junk mail right away. She sets aside the bills and other correspondence, if she can’t tackle them immediately, but this keeps the obvious trash from becoming clutter. The “little bit” approach is quick and painless.

The “Gather and Contain” Approach

Another good way to manage clutter—if you don’t like the idea of running up the stairs right away to put away the misplaced book or shoe—is to gather and contain the items in one area. Place a basket at the bottom of stairs for the upstairs items. Then, next time you need to trot to the second floor, take the basket with you and put things in their places.

A collection basket should contain all errant items that do not belong in the room. Toys, books, shoes. At the end of the day, family members need to retrieve their things from the collection basket. Anything left in the basket, unclaimed, gets dumped. After having to weed through the trash bin, they’ll honor the new rule.

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The “Right Place, Right Away” Approach

If you have dreams of becoming an orderly person, the fix is simple: Designate a place for everything and put it back right after using it. Chances are, your home already has “right” places for your toothbrushes, kitchen knives, shoes and such already. Extend that rule to incoming and outgoing mail. Keys. Reading glasses. When everyone knows where things belong, no one will wander about searching for lost items. It saves time and angst. It doesn’t take long for everyone to become accustomed—and to love—this simple approach.

Developing clutter-free habits is easier than you think. Once you experience the mental, physical, emotional and even spiritual freedom of a clutter-free environment, you will wonder how you endured the chaos of clutter for so long.

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