Keeping our lives and homes organized is truly a never-ending challenge—but there are ways to make the task slightly less daunting. In addition to providing a sense of calm, an uncluttered space lets your home’s interesting design features shine and architectural elements breathe. Here, we spotlight five tips to maintain a tidy home (and a peaceful mind) from leading authors, life coaches and organization gurus.
SET GOALS, MAKE A PLAN - Start with specific goals—this will help you create a plan, which will reduce frustration as the process picks up. Trying to make a map of all the rooms in your home and marking “clutter hot spots” you want to address. Assign each space a grade based on the severity of the clutter (for example, have a scale from 1 to 3, 1 being very cluttered, 3 being less cluttered). Take it one room at a time and prioritize these areas based on your energy level and amount of time you can commit to the space.
THE 5 BASKET METHOD - When decluttering each room, bring in five baskets: Put Away, items that have crept out of their storage spaces, but have a home; Recycle, items like paper, plastic or glass that need to be recycled; Fix/Mend, for items that need further attention, such as a pair of shoes that need to be cleaned or resoled; the last two baskets are designated Trash or items to Donate.
5 MINUTES A DAY - “When your home is filled with clutter, trying to tackle a mountain of stuff can be quite overwhelming,” says author and Zen Habits founder Leo Babauta, who suggests starting the process little by little, devoting just five minutes a day to one room, or one area. Over time, every bit adds up to a big difference.
CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE - After living in a cluttered space for some time, while we always sense it, we sometimes lose the ability to really see all the items congesting the space. To get a fresh perspective and identify the spots that need addressing, the organization team at the site Unclutterer suggest the following: Invite friends over for a party—knowing that people will be coming into your home helps you to imagine your place the way they see it; snap photographs or take video; hire a home stager to come in and explain how they would clear your space to put it up for sale; have a friend with a toddler visit. Let the child roam a bit, and he or she will quickly find every piece of clutter below waist level and bring it to your attention.
USE YOUR IMAGINATION - Jim Davies, Ph.D. and columnist for Psychology Today recommends using your imagination to help declutter objects that may seem difficult to remove. Try asking yourself unique questions like, “If I was just buying this now, how much would I pay?” These kinds of creative techniques may prove to be very helpful for those who have difficulty letting go of unneeded clutter.