Do you ever have a hard time keeping your home decluttered? Does it feel like no matter how hard you try clutter keeps creeping back in?
This year my wife an I have begun to embrace a minimalist lifestyle and eliminate the clutter in our home and life. With a full-time job and two little children it has not been easy.
We live in a cluttered society. Our culture surrounds us daily with consumerist messages, designed to entice us to buy more stuff.
As difficult as it has been we are making progress. What we have realized is that the clutter which has accumulated in our lives has done so through habits we have learned and picked up over the years. We have been focusing on developing new, better habits to replace the old habits that resulted in clutter.
Here are seven habits we are embracing to live clutter-free.
1. Commit to living clutter-free. In order to live clutter-free we must see and experience the benefits of a clutter-free life (I talk about seven of the benefits here). Take some time to visualize the benefits of living clutter-free. Use that vision to fuel your daily efforts in getting your home and life decluttered and keeping it that.
2. Limit your storage space. Clutter builds up because we give our stuff too much space. Limit how much room you give your clothes, dishes, paperwork, kids toys, etc. Once it’s filled, don’t add more. If you have so much stuff in your home that it doesn’t all fit in your home it doesn’t mean that you should buy storage space. It simply means that you own too much stuff. Go through it and decide what to get rid of. You will have to make some hard choices but it will be worth it in the long run.
3. Make a home for everything in your home. Have a spot for all your bills and mail in one spot so you know where to find them when you need them. Buy shelves and bins for their clothes and toys so they’re not thrown in the closet or under the bed. Certain toys should go in certain bins. Same with clothes and school supplies.
4. Put everything away at the end of each day. At the end of the day it’s tempting to leave the clean up for tomorrow. The problem with that kind of thinking is you will have so much to do tomorrow that you won’t have the time or energy to deal with the mess you didn’t clean up yesterday.
5. When you buy something new, get rid of something old. It’s hard to keep clutter out when things keep coming in. Once you’ve done an initial declutter don’t let anything new come in without first getting rid of something old. This will help you keep clutter from accumulating in your home.
6. Prepare for tomorrow, today. Hurry is one of the biggest reasons behind the clutter in our life. Taking time at the end of each day to prepare for the next day will keep you from being so rushed in the morning. This way you’ll have more time and energy to start your day off right.
7. Re-evaluate. Once or twice a year go through all your possessions. Ask yourself, “Do we still need this? Does this still bring us joy?” If the answer to both of these questions is no then it’s time to give it away or throw it away. Whatever you decide to do get it out of your home and life as quickly as possible.
Each of these habits will enable you to get and keep clutter out of your life. The less clutter that’s in your life the more you’ll be able to enjoy your life.