Picture this: you arrive home after a long day at work, picking up the kids at school, dropping the kids at soccer, picking up groceries and then the kids again. The only thing you want to do when you get home is fall into the soft surface that is your sofa and turn on the television. But you can’t because the sofa, as well as every other surface of your home, is covered in stuff. Bags, used coffee cups, this morning’s breakfast dishes, clean laundry that needs folding and so on and so on.
Surveying the mess that covers every surface, you feel what was left of your good humour ebb away. It’s time to act.
© modern living room image via Shutterstock
Like all bad habits, clutter won’t go away until you make some de-cluttering lifestyle changes. Here’s how you can take control:
1. Everything has it’s place at the front entrance (and everywhere else in the house). When you walk in the door, you and the rest of your family should know where everything goes and none of those places should be a flat surface! Get rid of the hall table and put a basket on the wall for mail, hooks for keys, space for purses, hangers for scarves, jackets and storage bins for mittens and hats. There are so many little ways you can find space for everything without using tables and chairs.
2. The dining room or kitchen table is for eating, NOT dumping. After every meal, clean off the table – better yet, get the kids to do it – and re-set it right away for the next meal. It will stop you from using this space as a storage place for all things that don’t have a home (which shouldn’t happen anymore either. All things must have a home!)
3. Keep kitchen counters as clear as possible. The only appliances you should leave out are the things you use every single day. In our case, it’s the coffee maker, cutting board and toaster. Beyond that, small appliances can be put away within functional reach. If you don’t use the hand blender everyday, does it need to be cluttering up the counter top? Never touch that bean grinder that your mother-in-law bought? Put it away. Tip: bring it back out when she comes to visit. That’s just good advice!
4. Soft surfaces are clutter magnets too. Tossing the sweater you wore on a chair because you’re planning on wearing it again tomorrow? Not anymore! Set up a once-worn bin in your bedroom to put all things that are clean enough to wear again before they hit the laundry basket. Save your chairs for sitting.
Spend a little time figuring out what things need homes and get going with a new habit of putting them away immediately. After a while, you won’t even know you’re doing it, but you’ll be able to sit on a chair or make a cup of coffee without moving piles of things out of the way first. It’s the first step to bringing back your good humour.
For more info about organizing, check out my 31 Days of Decluttering, Organizing Your Home on a Budget series and 30 Days to a Clean & Organized Kitchen. You might also like how to keep clutter off your counters.
Do you have an issue with surface clutter in your home?