We all need to do some solid decluttering here and there, but the difference between people living in a decluttering disaster and the people with a seemingly always clutter-free home? Clutter free habits.
They don’t just declutter once a year and wait for things to pile up before they do it again. They have habits that are part of their daily lives that keep them on top of things.
Good news: None of these are super hard or time consuming. Anyone can adopt them, so let’s dive in so that you can make it happen.
1. Don’t take it.
- Tote bags
- Company pens
- Appointment summaries
You don’t have to take what someone offers you. And just because something is free does not mean you should grab it. The majority of these kinds of things turn into clutter in a hurry.
2. “It’s not a good deal if you don’t need it.”
If you can ingrain that sentence in your brain, you’ll save yourself a lot of clutter. It can be so hard to resist an amazing deal, but if you don’t actually need it, it’s clutter! (and a waste of money)
I remind myself of this every time I enter a thrift store or look through a clearance rack. It doesn’t matter how good of a deal it is, if I don’t need it, it’s going to turn into clutter quickly.
3. Shop with a list. (Not just for groceries!)
I keep a running list of things we actually need: specific pieces of clothing, furniture, kitchen supplies etc. This way I know what to look for when I’m out shopping. If it’s not on the list, I know that I don’t actually need it, which keeps clutter from coming home with me.
A few weeks ago, Austin needed new work clothes and we had a specific list of what kinds of things he needed as well as how many: 4-5 pairs of casual dress pants or nice jeans, 5-6 polo shirts or casual dress shirts, and 3-4 cardigans/fleeces. We also knew what he did not need: shoes, socks, undershirts, and a belt.
Shopping with a list helped us focus on what we really needed and kept us from buying the wrong things or more than we needed.
4. Keep a donation box in the closet.
While I do have times where I go through and declutter each area of our home, I’m also always on the lookout for things that aren’t in use anymore. When I come across something like this, I don’t let it stay where it’s at. I know exactly where to put it: my donation box!
We keep a box for items we no longer need either in a spare closet or in the garage. It helps us keep up with decluttering throughout the year.
I also use the box to help me decide if I’m ready to get rid of something or not. If I’m on the fence, I’ll put it in the box and see if I want to use that item in the next couple of weeks. If I do, I’ll grab it back out of the box. If not, I know it can leave.
I did this just the other day with a kitchen pan. We got a new soup pot and it made me think that I could probably get rid of a different pan that wasn’t in great shape and I often avoided using. I placed the pan in my donation box and have been totally fine without it, so it’ll get donated soon.
5. Create a tidy-up routine.
A great clutter free habit for your home is having a tidy-up routine that you do at least once a day. If everything gets put back where it belongs once a day, your house will stay much more organized.
I tidy up our bedroom in the morning after we’ve both gotten ready. I make the bed and put away any clothes or bathroom stuff that got left out. It only takes a few minutes and then I get to enjoy a tidy bedroom the rest of the day.
We also tidy up the kitchen and living room before bed every single night. Here’s what gets done:
- All dishes get put in the dishwasher or hand washed. We run the dishwasher every night. Austin is usually on dishes duty.
- I put away dog toys and anything else left out on the floor.
- I clear off our end tables and fold the couch blankets.
- I turn on the robot vacuum so that it can clean our living areas while we sleep. (Read my robot vacuum review here.)
This routine takes us 10-15 minutes depending on how many dishes there are, but it makes a huge difference in how clutter-free our house feels!
6. If it can be done in 2 minutes or less, do it now.
Tiny tasks can build up into an overwhelming to do list!
Hang the coats, put away books, sign the paperwork, file the receipts, put the breakfast dishes in the dishwasher, call to refill the prescription, etc, etc, etc.
Each task is tiny and would only take a couple of minutes, but when you put them off, they build up into a giant list of things to do and can clutter up your house!
If you decide to just do any task that takes 2 minutes or less immediately, you’ll end up with a less cluttered house! It’s a super simple, yet extremely effective habit to cultivate.
7. Don’t set the mail down.
One of the most persistent kinds of clutter that is constantly entering your house is the mail. The second you set it down, it will start to pile up and it can feel like it’s breeding and multiplying all on it’s own!
The solution is to get in the habit of not setting it down. Deal with it immediately.
- Open all envelopes.
- Recycle the junk.
- Put the bills in the folder of bills to pay.
- Deal with it all.
If you can develop this habit, you’ll cut down on paperwork clutter in a big way.
8. Use an entryway drop zone.
We keep all shoes, coats, keys, wallets, and purses in our entryway drop zone. At no point should they be flopped on the floor or in any other part of our house. Not only does this keep clutter at bay, it also makes it easy to leave the house because there’s no scrambling to find the keys.
We have a small tray where we put our keys and Austin puts his wallet. Then we have multiple hooks for coats and my purse. (I wrote more about entryway organization here.)
It can take some effort to get in the habit of leaving all of your stuff in the entryway drop zone, but it will help keep your house decluttered!
Can you see how incorporating these clutter free habits into your daily life would help keep your home clutter free in a big way?
Right now, choose one to work on! Try to do it daily until you don’t even have to think about it. Then try to add on one more. You’ll start to notice a difference in how your home stays decluttered quite quickly!