October 14, 2009 by Marci
So, you’ve invested the time to de-clutter and organize your home. You are basking in peaceful, serene glory. Then, it hits you. “How in the world am I going to keep this up?!?!” You may have found a place for everything. But does anyone else know that? Does the system you created work for everyone in your house? You know what’s going to happen as soon as your family hits the door. Shoes, coats, backpacks, papers and toys will fly! What happens when the mail comes? What happens when the kids want to get their toys out? What about those art projects your kids want to do using every marker, toilet paper roll, paint brush and tube of glitter glue they can find?
The key is to stop the clutter before it starts. Here are some tips for keeping the order in your newly organized home or for great ways to start the de-cluttering/organizing process.
Get the family involved
Did you ever stop to think that maybe your idea of a good spot for keeping backpacks is not the same spot that works for your kids? Could your husband ever in a million years find your new hiding place for the toilet paper? Your family will only keep up with what makes sense to them. When organizing your kid’s room, keep in mind what toys they play with the most and keep them in an easy to reach location. If they are having trouble putting toys away, ask them if they have a better idea of where the toys should go. They might just be having trouble reaching or remembering where to put the toys. It might be a good idea to give your family a grand tour of their newly organized home. Show them where everything now resides and tell them it is the entire family’s responsibility to make sure it stays that way.
Put it away
This seems so simple. How many times a day do we say this to our kids? Do we follow the same rule? I get so frustrated with my kids when they jump to a new game or activity without putting the first one away. However, I find myself doing that many times throughout the day. I’ll get the recipe books out and then leave them on the counter to check the laundry. Then, I’ll leave the basket of clean, dry clothes in the laundry room to get the mail. When I come in from getting the mail, I’ll lay it on the kitchen island to go do something else. So, let’s recap. Thirty minutes has gone by and I haven’t accomplished too much except to clutter up my counters and wrinkle an entire load of laundry. If I had just put it all away, it would have taken just a few more minutes and my house would have remained the uncluttered haven I started with. I can be just as bad as the kids!
File mail immediately
As I said in the section above, putting things away immediately can nip clutter in the bud. I can’t think of anything that can cause clutter faster than mail. I don’t know about your house, but junk mail can pile up on our counter for days. Why? Sort out the junk right away and file it in the trash. There is no reason to keep it around. Have a system to keep bills and important papers. Either pay them right away or put a time on your planner to take a care of them. Whatever you decide, just make sure you take care of the mail before it becomes clutter.
Keep tables and shelves to a minimum
When we were first married, finances dictated the lack of end tables or coffee tables. At first, it upset me. There was no place to set lamps or drinks or knick-knacks. As time went on and it became possible to get end tables, I realized I liked the clean, uncluttered look in my living room. We now have a coffee table in the middle of the room and a floor lamp by one of the chairs for reading. That’s it as far as tables or shelves. There is not much to collect dust and clutter. I like it that way.
Pick up before bed
Before bedtime each night, the kids and I have designated areas to pick up. I take a laundry basket to the living room and pick up everything that doesn’t belong there and take the stuff to the proper room. The kids put all the toys in the toy room (and any that have drifted into the hall) in their proper place. I love waking up to a uncluttered house in the morning!
It’s no easy task achieving a de-cluttered and organized home. And maintaining it is truly a never ending battle. I hope these tips are of help to you and give you some ideas of your own.
What helps you stay clutter-free?