So you’ve finally done it. You’ve spent hours and hours cleaning out cabinets and drawers. You’ve spent entire weekends going through piles and piles of clothes. There were times you felt like giving up. But you stuck with it and now your able to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Your home is finally clean and clutter free.
But before you grab that glass of wine and head to the couch for some Netflix, there’s something you need to know. Your home isn’t going to just magically stay clutter free. Heartbreaking, I know ? You’ll have to consistently work to keep it that way. But the good news is maintaining a clutter free home is much easier then the initial decluttering process. You’ll just need to implement the ideas I suggest below. So if you’re ready to say goodbye to clutter forever keep reading 😉
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How To Keep Your House Clean & Clutter Free
1 | Think Twice About Purchases
Before making new purchases, you need to think long and hard about whether the purchase is really necessary. Consider the effects of your purchase. How much space will this item take up in my home? How much maintenance is involved in caring for this item? Is this an item I will use on a consistent basis?
Once you’ve decided this item is a necessary purchase consider whether this item can be borrowed from a friend? Or from your local library? Or if it’s an item that will only be used once or twice a year, maybe it can be rented? Remember today’s purchase can be become tomorrow’s clutter if you don’t think twice about your purchases.
2 | Keep a Donation Box Somewhere in Your Home
I like to keep a donation box in my garage. So whenever I come across an item that no longer is useful to me, I throw it in the box. Once the box is full I take it to our local thrift shop to donate. You can use a box or a bag. Whatever works best for you. And you can place it wherever is most convenient in your home. It doesn’t have to be in the garage. Just make sure once it’s full you take it somewhere to donate. If the place you would like to donate to, isn’t located close to your home, wait until you have 2 or 3 boxes full so you’re not wasting your time and gas money. Or better yet find an organization that will come to your house and pick them up.
3 | Tidy Up Every Night
I recommend getting the whole family involved with this one. Every night (in our house we do this right after dinner), spend 20-30 minutes putting misplaced items back where they belong. Ideally, everyone should be putting items away when they’re finished with them throughout the day. But we all know, that doesn’t always happen. So assign each family member a room and quickly put everything back in its place. Small messes turn into big messes very quickly. Tidying up every night is the key to maintaining a clean home.
4 | Learn To Say No
Not only do you need to learn to say no to yourself when it comes to buying items you know you’ll regret later, but you also need to say no to your children. This is easier for some than for others. I can’t tell you how many times my kids have asked for items for their birthday or for Christmas that I knew they would regret but I purchased it anyway. Teach your kids about money. Teach them to be more mindful about the items they put on their birthday or Christmas list. And even the items they purchase themselves.
Also learn to say no to people who want to give you things you really don’t want or need. There is nothing wrong with that. Don’t let yourself feel bad or ungrateful. Tell them no thanks and allow those items to go to someone who truly needs them.
5 | Delegate Chores
Delegating chores is more about keeping your house clean rather than clutter free. Your children can start helping around the house at a very young age. Assign age appropriate chores to your children (here’s a list to give you some ideas) and don’t be afraid to ask your husband for help as well. And if you have more money than time, consider hiring someone to help you if you’re extremely overwhelmed with housework.
6 | Buy Better Quality Items
Just because something seems like a good deal, doesn’t mean that it is. How many items have you purchased something because the price was right only to have that item break on you a week or two later? So, buy from brands you know and trust. Research items before you buy them. Read the reviews. It’s better to pay a little more for something that you know will last and hold up in quality.
7 | Everything Needs a Home
Everything you bring into your home, needs it’s own home. Basically, everything you own should have a designated area in your house. Clutter is created when things we own, have nowhere to go. These items just begin to accumulate on your kitchen table, in junk drawers, on your bedroom floor.
Recognize the items like this in your house and give them their very own home. That’s with the understanding that these are things you really need or want. If they’re not just throw them out or give them away. So, if you have books that are stacking up on your desk, buy a bookshelf. If you have mail or paperwork all over your kitchen table, get a folder or mail holder to put everything into. Things with no place to go, eventually become clutter.
8 | Do a quarterly clean up / Declutter
Every 3 months, spend a weekend as a family cleaning and doing a mini declutter in your home. The things you will need to do will look different for every family and every home. I like to keep a page in my notebook where I can write down things I notice that need to be done, prior to our quarterly clean up. That way when it’s time for our quarterly clean up, I have an entire list ready of the things we need to do.
Some of the things that might be on that list could be, having my kids sort through a toy box that is overflowing. Or maybe decluttering a drawer that is so full it no longer closes properly. Taking time to work on small decluttering projects every three months or so is the key to preventing your home from becoming massively cluttered.
9 | Do an annual clean up / declutter
Once a year, I like to spend about a week decluttering my whole house. I usually do this in January. I’ll spend one day working on one room. For example, on Sunday I’ll work on my kitchen, Monday I’ll work on my bedroom, Tuesday I’ll work on the bathroom, and so on and so on. You get the idea. When working on a room, I’ll go through every drawer, closet and cabinet and get rid of what I no longer want or need.
If you’ve done all the items suggested on this list than an annual declutter shouldn’t be too hard or time consuming. For me, this usually takes between 2-4 hours each day depending on the room.
I really hope these tips help you. As much as we wish our homes would magically stay clutter-free that’s just not possible. Our homes are clutter magnets and we have to consistently work to keep them organized and clean. If you’re looking for more tips for living clutter-free, some books I recommend you read are Clutter Free: Quick and Easy Steps to Simplifying Your Space by Kathi Lipp and Real Life Organizing: Clean and Clutter-Free in 15 Minutes a Day by Cassandra Aarssen and Peter Walsh. And if you’re wanting to declutter but are just not feeling motivated read this post. Please share any additional tips you may have in the comments below 🙂