I admit clutter and I have been sworn frienemies for years. We have an intense love hate relationship. I get fatigued and annoyed by it, and then enthusiastically kick it to the curb. In a few weeks it charms its way back into my life and makes itself at home in my office, laundry room and other cool places throughout our home. No matter how many times it waltzes back in, it challenges my sanity. Slowly, I am winning the war against clutter.
A few years ago, I discovered the FlyLady. Her concept of the 21 Fling has been a lifesaver. Based on the idea of tossing or donating, 21 things from a messy space, it keeps clutter at bay. This concept works wonders when cleaning out a closet, organizing your garage, or general picking up. Turn it into a game and get the family involved. Your kids will love it too.
Additionally, I have found that the best way to break up with clutter once and for all is to embrace organizational tools and create a process to deal with all things likely to create chaos. My hot spots are mail, growing magazine collections, and bathroom storage.
1) Keep a trashcan near the door and toss out junk mail before it makes it into the main home. If it’s not in the house it can’t pile up.
2) File away the rest of the mail appropriately, rather than stacking it. If it’s a bill pay it, if it’s household related, file it. Handle it once and don’t just stick in a basket thinking you will get to it eventually.
3) Sort magazines and recycle older ones each month. I get several magazines delivered each month and of course I struggle to toss them out. To help lessen the piles I will cut out articles I want to keep and file them. The magazines will then be dropped off at the recycling center in town.
4) Keep pretty baskets in the bathroom for cosmetics, medicines and cleaning supplies. The top of our vanity tends to collect stuff. To help keep it clean, I use baskets to hold everything from cosmetics to first aid needs. It’s easier to pull out a basket and then put it back when it’s no longer needed.
5) Practice “a place for everything and everything in its place” If it doesn’t have a place it can be tossed or donated. Touch things only once. Kevin is a master of this. He comes home and his keys, wallet and office cell phone all go in the same place, unlike me with my tote bag in a new spot every day.
6) Incorporate pretty boxes and bins for storage. Choose colors and patterns that fit with your decorating scheme to keep it cohesive.
Sure, we all wish our homes were photo op ready at a moment’s notice, but truth is life gets in the way. As much as we would like a spotless clutter free home, it is a challenge to maintain especially with kids and busy schedules. Create a habit of putting things away and handling things once and you will be able to keep your home organized and beautiful.