Now that we’re reaching the end of the series, I want to share a few organizing tips to help you stay organized. There’s nothing more frustrating than working hard at decluttering your home only to have the clutter return within days. These organizing tips will help break that cycle.
If you haven’t been following the program already, you can find the series overview here with links to the previous daily missions.
Every day’s mission has four parts to it:
Organize What’s Left
Clean the Space
Keep on Track
So, here is how to ROCK your home all the time.
Organizing Tips to Keep Clutter Away
Removing clutter is an on-going process, not something you do once and never have to think about again. After all, every day we bring home paperwork, new purchases (and the packaging they come in), and many other things. And on a regular basis, things in our home break or wear out.
Then there are the shoes and clothes we wear, the coats we take off as we come home, the dishes we use.
These things all become clutter when left out of place or, worse yet, if they don’t have a permanent place where they belong in our home.
If you want to keep clutter away for good, you need to be careful what you bring home and what you do with things you allow to remain.
BEWARE THE “SOMEDAY STUFF”
“Someday Stuff” often lurks in our closets and drawers.
- It’s the kind of things we buy or hold onto in the hope that someday we’ll find it useful.
- It’s the stuff connected with hobbies we don’t currently have time for, styles that don’t currently suit us, or goals we don’t have the motivation to pursue right now.
- It’s the furniture we grab from the side of the road or pick up at a thrift store with plans to rehab it eventually.
- It’s the clothing that doesn’t fit because it’s two sizes too small or too big, or which suits a climate we don’t live in.
But, we tell ourselves, someday we might.
The thing is, that “Someday Stuff” takes up space in our homes and makes us feel bad every time we see it. (This is the opposite of “sparking joy” as Marie Kondo describes it.)
Getting rid of “Someday Stuff” can be scary, because it requires acknowledging who you are at the current time and that you might never be the person who’ll pursue that hobby or move to that climate.
But it can also be freeing because it allows you to make room in your home for who you are and how you live now.
So, whether you’re trying to decide what to do with the Persian rug that Aunt Edna left you, the fondue set you received as a wedding gift or the Boho crinkle skirt you no longer wear, beware the “Someday Stuff” and let it go.
PAUSE BEFORE YOU PURCHASE
You already know that one of the best ways to save money is to never go shopping without a list. That’s true whether you’re shopping for groceries, clothes, or new furniture.
Using a list will force you to sit down and truly think about what you need, so you can resist the tricks stores use to make you buy more.
But what about the times you’re out with friends and see a great “sale?” Or you’re out shopping for something that’s on your list and see an amazing discount for something else?
To keep clutter out of your home, ask yourself two important questions before you buy anything regardless of what a great deal it seems to be (yes, even if it’s free)
- Will I wear or use this regularly starting today?
- Is there something in my home I’m willing to get rid of to make room for this?
If you can’t answer yes to both, you’re looking at what will become “Someday Stuff” because it doesn’t suit your current life and space. Walk away, and know that you’re doing your present-day self a huge favor.
Organizing our belongings changes as our belongings change. That’s one reason why someone else’s color-coded shelves or adorably-labeled containers of dry goods might not work in your home. The tips below will help guide you to what does work for you.
PERFORMANCE > PRETTY
Spend much time on Pinterest and someone’s pantry organization or closet is bound to spark envy. But, before you rush out to buy containers or customized shelving like theirs, think about how it would actually work in your home.
The open shelving with decanted foods and stacked dishes in the photo above, for instance, is a very popular design trend right now. It’s lovely, I’ll admit, but if you cook often or you have pets, having to wipe greasy dust off of all of those jars every week can turn into a nightmare.
Sometimes, no matter how carefully you explain to family members where things should go or point to the clever organizing system you’ve put into place, they’re not going to use it.
Your spouse, for example, may always throw their keys and phone on the kitchen table after walking in the door. Your kids may dump coats in a pile by the door then head off to their rooms, ignoring the easy-to-reach hangers in the coat closet.
Your choice is whether to let those things frustrate you, or to work with them while keeping your home still looking good. Being flexible with your organizing system allows you to choose the latter.
Setting a nice tray on the kitchen table keeps your spouse’s phone clutter contained without causing an argument. Adding hooks near the door makes it easier for your kids to put their coats up, rather than dumping them on the floor.
Coming up with workable solutions for clutter hot spots still serves your goal, but without causing strife. And isn’t the point of all this ultimately to have a peaceful home? Be flexible.
Cleaning, like purging clutter and organizing our belongings, isn’t something we do once and consider it done. Fortunately, it is much easier to do once your home is organized and you don’t have to move junk around to get the job done.
DON’T PURSUE PERFECTION
Many readers come to my blog in search of advice to keep their homes spotless all the time. They see photos on Pinterest or in magazines and believe they need to strive to reach that ideal. But that’s just the thing: those are photographs capturing a split second in a home that’s often been professionally cleaned and staged for only that one picture.
Cleaning our homes isn’t about keeping them in a constant state of perfection; it’s about creating a comforting, welcoming environment for our family and friends. If the very thought of keeping up with everyday messes overwhelms you, here’s why cleaning is stressing you out.
SCHEDULE WEEKLY SESSIONS
Throughout this program, we’ve paused every seven days or so for a weekly cleaning and catch-up. That’s a habit I strongly encourage even if you are the type to do a little cleaning every day. A weekly session allows you to enjoy the look of your entire home, rather than one room of it while the others drive you insane.
Resist the urge to skip cleaning because it doesn’t look dirty. The key to staying ahead of dirt is regular, light cleaning. It’s faster, it takes less effort, and you’ll never feel so overwhelmed that you don’t want to bother at all.
Need some help? Visit my page of free printable cleaning checklists for routines that get it done right.
KEEP IT CLEAN
Keeping it clean is the K in our R-O-C-K method. Now, if you’ve read the warning above about not pursing perfection, this might seem contradictory, but it’s not. By “keeping it clean,” I mean simply that you need to pay attention to the state of your home — including the clutter — and tend to problems while they’re still small.
FOLLOW THE 2-MINUTE RULE
Life is messy. People who live in our homes are often messy, too. Ignoring messes leads to bigger problems, but a little attention to them while they’re small can keep things under control.
So, adopt a 2-minute rule: if you can clean a spill or put something away in just two minutes do it. Don’t tell yourself that you’ll get around later to popping that empty coffee cup in the dishwasher. Don’t step over the pile of cat hair on the carpet or walk past the overflowing kitchen trash can — take the two minutes to do something about them. It’s part of adulting!
THIS ROUTINE ROCKS!
When we began the series, I ended each day’s mission with a list of the rooms we’d already rocked and the things you needed to check to make sure they were still clutter-free.
Over time, we worked our way up to doing the Daily Cleaning Routine, which only takes 10-20 minutes once you’ve caught up on purging clutter and established a weekly cleaning program.
Keep following that routine and your home will stay clutter-free and tidy throughout the week!
SEE YOU TOMORROW
Come back tomorrow for the final day in our series when I’ll be sharing a free clutter-busting checklist and other resources to help you keep clutter away. In the meantime, join our Do Home Better Group on Facebook and show off how you ROCK!