The idea of living in a clear, ordered and uncluttered home can seem like an unattainable fantasy when you’re a busy working person. Even more so, if you have a young family and navigating childcare and commuting feels a bit like running the gauntlet twice a day. If and when you do make the time to have a big clear out, here are some ways to maintain your newly decluttered home.
Once clear of the clutter, categorise and designate a home for what remains
It’s key that you create simple systems that both you and your family can remember and understand. Store like with like in only one place in the home so that there can be no confusion as to where items belong.
Designate a logical place for every item and return them there after use. Every single time. As the saying goes “a place for everything and everything in its place”. Storing things sensibly saves time. For example, if you keep your cooking oils in a cupboard on the opposite side of the kitchen from your hob, it’ll save you a little bit of time every day if you move them nearer to where you use them.
Ditch the paper clutter
If you haven’t already, take the time to ensure all of your accounts are set to paperfree to stop any unnecessary paperwork from arriving at your home in the first place. Most insurance, finance and utilities can be managed solely digitally, so make sure you aren’t getting sent any unwanted paper. Stop it at the source. Deal with any other post on the day it arrives: action it straight away or make a note and diarise the action then put the paper straight into the recycling. You might keep a small stack of scrap paper for notes or drawing, but don’t let it get out of hand!
Teach your kids how to declutter and organise
Teaching your kids how to organise, tidy and clean up after themselves is so important. I can’t stress this enough. Get them involved from the youngest age when they love to help with anything you are doing and be sure to stick with it as they grow up. There are countless benefits to this. It encourages independence. It illustrates that there is a cost to every possession outside of the money you pay to purchase it – it has to be looked after, cleaned and put away. You’re also setting your children up for a better relationship with their future partner/s because – let’s face it – no one enjoys being with someone who doesn’t pull their weight.
You can find a blog I wrote for Mothers Meetings with tips on how to keep an organised home when you have little kids here.
Remember: clutter is not a storage issue
I often hear people say they have a storage issue or I get asked for storage “hacks”. Does this sound like you? I’m afraid this might be controversial, but nine times out of ten it’s not a storage issue: You simply have too much stuff.
It’s true, the use of space can always be improved somewhat, especially if you seek professional advice. But all the same, you only have the amount of space that you have. Accept that. There is only a finite amount of storage in every home. If you have reached your limit, there are only two possible solutions: move somewhere with more space (which I would argue you will fill – but that’s for another post) or reduce what you own.
Curb consumption to be free of clutter for good
Once you’ve decluttered, the only way to stop your home from going back to the way it was is to reduce your consumption, be mindful of what you are bringing in to the home and intentional about leaving empty space.
It’s no good decluttering if you aren’t ready to radically change your behaviour because if you aren’t, you’ll be repeating the cycle forever. For any real and meaningful transformation, it’s necessary to slow down, interrogate the drivers behind your buying habits, get clear on what you really need and what matters to you most. It may not be easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is.
Have you ever stopped to consider your buying habits? How mindful are you of what you bring into your home? I’d love to hear your thoughts.