So you’ve followed all the advice and decluttered your house. But all too soon, you realize that you have clutter creep. Stuff is starting to build up again. Maybe you ended up replacing some of the stuff you got rid of or maybe everyone isn’t pitching in to keep the house decluttered. Here are a few simple, quick habits that all family members can do to keep the house decluttered.
Deal with mail immediately—The last thing any of us wants to do after a long day at work is deal with the mail. But since it has to be done, do it immediately. Throw ads and other junk mail directly in the trash or recycling bin. Put bills and other important papers in the specified place and shred sensitive information that doesn’t need to be filed. To make this even easier, make all your bills, banking and other statements paperless and get your name on the “no junk mail” list. Before long, there will be very little mail to deal with at all.
Nightly pick-up routine—As you gather in the living room in the evenings, each family member brings stuff with them—a mug, a glass, a snack plate, an iPod, a hand-held video game or homework. Have you ever noticed how frequently that stuff stays in the living room, making it cluttered? Set a new rule that each night before heading to bed, everyone picks up everything they brought into the room that evening and puts it back where it belongs, in their out-the-door basket, for example. It takes 2 minutes to do and keeps clutter creep to a minimum.
Add a coat rack and baskets—As soon as the family walks in the door, they are likely to take off coats and backpacks, set down lunch boxes and briefcases, all right in the entryway where they will be tripped over for the rest of the evening. To keep this area decluttered, add a coat rack and a basket or cubby for each person in the entryway. Get family members used to hanging up their coats and putting the other stuff they bring home in a designated place, like their out-the-door basket. It will take a little time and a few gentle reminders, but everyone will eventually appreciate the new peace that a decluttered house exudes.
Eliminate your junk drawers—This may sound undoable, but it really isn’t. Have a place for everything, including the small items that tend to end up in a junk drawer. Get small containers or better yet, upcycle some with the kids, and keep these small items separated and organized in drawers. Things like batteries, paper clips, rubber bands, twist ties, etc. all have their own place in a drawer or two. Take a rubber band off the Sunday paper? Put it immediately in the correct cubby hole before sitting down to enjoy the paper.