Now that everyone’s spending a lot of extra time in their homes, “spring cleaning” is taking on a whole new definition this year. If you’re anything like me, your typical spring cleaning sesh consists of throwing out a few outdated shirts, dusting all the areas you usually forget about, and getting rid of a few overused pots and pans. That’s about the extent of it for me — and I have a feeling most people can understand that.
This year, though, I’m going all out with my spring cleaning. And the first item on my to-do list is clutter. Whether you’re getting rid of clutter or trying to prevent it for the future, there are ten golden rules you can follow. They work every time, so let’s dig in!
1. Have a designated place for everything
This one’s easier said than done and believe me — everyone will tell you this is the first step to a clutter-free home. But… there’s a reason why it’s a rule. Having a place for your belongings gets you into the habit of putting everything in their rightful places. Keys? Put them on a hook. Scarves? Get a special hanger for them. Books? Keep them on the nightstand. You can actually train (and change) your brain so that it associates clutter with the quest to find its home. It works like magic!
2. Give yourself one junk drawer
Read that again: ONE. We can’t go cold turkey on your clutter habits, so it’s important you cut yourself some slack with one free-for-all junk drawer. Rather than mix your clutter with organized spaces or dump it on the floor, you can put it in this drawer and write a note to get to it later.
3. Set a clutter clean date
It may sound crazy but putting a date in your calendar to clean up the clutter is a great way to stay on top of it. Try to set aside at least one day every month to go around your house with the sole objective of cleaning clutter. No need to clean anything else on this day!
4. Get comfortable with letting go
No one wants to hear it, but a lot of people need to: Let go. If something doesn’t carry importance or use in your life anymore, it may be time to take a picture and say goodbye. Clutter is typically a byproduct of holding on to things a little too long, so let’s get comfortable with letting go when we need to.
5. Keep clutter out
It’s a lot easier to keep clutter out than to get rid of it. When you’re on a shopping spree at Target or Home Goods, stop and ask yourself if you really need it. If you think you do, try to ask yourself how long you’ll need it for or how you’ll put it to good use. If all the answers are pointing to “I need this now!” go for it. If not, you may want to rethink the purchase.
6. Cut down the paper trails
We live in a digital world, and one of the big perks is fewer paper trails. Receipts, paper mail, and loose papers are not necessary — and they’ll end up cluttering your house in ways you could’ve never imagined.
7. Donate when you can
There are so many organizations that could use your kind donations of clothing, kitchen items, shoes, and other household objects. When you go through your clutter and you find yourself mulling over whether or not to keep something, try to think about who could find a better use for it. If you’re able to donate something that you don’t need anymore, do it!
8. Keep it small
Sometimes, we like big purchases. Other times, it clutters up your life. When you’re shopping for household items or decorations, try to keep the purchases small.
9. Follow the “one in, one out” rule
This one is simple. When you purchase something new, make sure to get rid of something first. Let’s say you buy a new pair of shoes. In order to justify it, get rid of an old pair. This way, you’re rewarding yourself for your good clutter-free habits!
10. Store similar things together
In order to cut the clutter, you need to make sure your organization patterns make sense. For example, putting a pair of shoes with a bunch of purses/bags may not make as much sense as putting it with the rest of your shoes. The way you organize is entirely up to you — just make sure it’s whatever works best for you!