My house is far from perfect. But it looks deceptively clean sometimes. How? I’ve put some principles into practice that help me keep on top of the messy piles that can accumulate so fast! And so, today I give you my…
- I sort mail immediately… often, I sort it on the way into the house from the mailbox, and toss the junk mail into the outside garbage. Bills go into a box on my desk, to be paid bi-monthly. Credit card offers and other identity-sensitive junk mail are opened, the envelopes tossed, and the contents immediately shredded (buy yourself a shredder if you don’t have one… they are definitely worth it).
- I never go up or down stairs empty-handed.
- I abide by this saying I heard long ago: “Don’t put it down, put it away.” (If only my family would, also…..)
- I occasionally do 15 min of decluttering, an idea I got from the flylady. This is how I keep my cupboards and closets organized. I like to do it immediately after the post-dinner kitchen cleanup. Upbeat music helps keep it fun.
- We have a yard sale, usually once a year. Our home owners’ association puts on a neighborhood one, and takes care of the advertising. If we miss that, we donate to charity items we no longer use or need, including clothes that are out of style or do not fit. When decluttering, I put these items in large black bags, tie them, and take them to the garage or car. This prevents me and my family members from regretting our decisions and going back and retrieving the items.
- In our house, we have a large basket by the front door, which I purchased at a yard sale. During warm weather, it looks like the picture above. In the winter, it contains hats, scarves, and gloves. We also have a dresser (purchased for $10.00 at a yard sale) in our foyer. Keys and sunglasses are kept in a basket on the dresser, ready to head out the door. We also place any items we need to take with us that day on the dresser.
- We keep coats in our hall closet. No hall closet? Try a coat tree or hooks. IKEA makes a nice-looking, inexpensive wall rack.
- Let’s face it, the kids won’t always be as concerned with clean as you are. I do give them daily chores, but if their rooms are not exactly the way I like them, I have them take their things there, then I shut the door. Aahhh….
- I use one file box for things like receipts and bill stubs we don’t need for taxes. We don’t claim home office space, so we only save the one previous bill for our utilities. For things I need to save for tax purposes, I have another, smaller file folder with a slot for each month. Every piece of paper reflecting a purchase or bill I will claim goes into its slot as soon as I am finished with it.
- When I start to see an area getting out of control, I do my “five things clean up.” Choose five things from that area, and put them away. It’s amazing how that little bit makes a difference. If I’m in a hurry, I’ll do three things.
How about you? What are your top clutter-busting secrets?
~Written by Kim, Daisy Muse