I’m not even sure if de-clutter is a word.
I’m not even sure where I came up with this system. I’m really not sure how or where or when I started de-cluttering and realized the freedom that it brings.
I just know that it works.
Because here is a little secret just between us. If your house is picked up and de-cluttered…
….YOU HAVE TO DO LESS CLEANING.
I know, right?
You have to do less cleaning because:
A. there’s less stuff and less stuff means less dust and less dirt.
B. the house looks cleaner because the stuff is put away
C. less stuff means less stress
D. you’re more likely to want to clean because there’s less stuff to ACTUALLY KEEP CLEAN
Are you nodding? Are you agreeing? Did you take a sip of coffee and say amen? Are you wondering how I de-clutter?
Come sit by me.
And spend 10 minutes a day to de-clutter your home.
It all starts with the shoes
I know it seems random.
What do shoes have to do with de-cluttering? I can’t explain it. I just know that it works.
You are going to need those shoes to sprint.
Kind of like getting ready for a marathon where everyone throws their clutter out as they go.
So lace up your sneakers and line up at the start line.
If you are brilliant and are already wearing shoes, congratulate yourself and skip to step 2.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was clutter.
For one week set aside 10 minutes a day.
10 minutes. That’s easy, right? 10 simple minutes. Set a timer. Set your watch. Set your phone.
Choose the clutter pile that gets on your nerve the most. The one that makes you shudder when you walk by it.
Don’t give it any more cheese dip.
Take 10 minutes and sort through that pile. Throw away papers. Toss old magazines. Put bills in a folder in your office or workspace marked bills.
But here’s the key.
ONLY WORK ON IT FOR 10 MINUTES.
And when you are done. Walk away. Pat yourself on the back. Tell yourself how amazing you are. Call your mom and let her know she can stop by for a visit.
Save the next 10 minutes for tomorrow.
And the tomorrow after that.
Use the one-step rule
Don’t let your stuff travel too much.
For example, if you find a random coffee cup that needs to go in the dishwasher.
Don’t take it into the living room and set it down.
And then remind yourself it needs to go into the kitchen.
And then take it into the kitchen and set it down on the counter.
And then eventually put it in the dishwasher.
THOSE ARE FOUR STEPS.
You have the coffee cup in your hand. Walk past the living room and the kitchen counter and put it DIRECTLY into the dishwasher.
This takes practice. I know, I’ve been practicing for years. But here’s the thing, the more you do it, the more of a habit it becomes.
A habit that saves your clutter, one step at a time.
Baskets are your friend
I know the basic adage of organizing. A place for everything and everything in its place. The hardest part of that whole idea is figuring out what all the places look like.
I get it.
I understand. I really, really do.
That’s where baskets come in.
First of all, baskets are cute and pretty and have sides that hold things.
Here are some ideas that I use baskets for. I use a basket for mail. I use a basket for the kid’s papers. I use a basket for random coupons and business cards and tiny pieces of who-knows-what that collect on the counters. I use a basket for things I need to do. I use a basket for items I want to donate. I use a basket for dog supplies. I use a basket for unfinished projects.
And on and on and on.
Around here everything has a basket. It all goes in there if I don’t have time to sort through it or deal with it or think about it.
It just hangs out looking cute in a basket until I’m ready.
And then? When the basket overflows I go back to idea number one and spend 10 minutes on it.
Keep the surfaces clean
In every home, there are a few surfaces that invite clutter to pull up a chair.
I don’t know why certain surfaces get cluttered. I wish I did because I would be a zillionaire. The key is figuring out which surfaces attract clutter and focus on keeping them clutter-free.
That’s where the baskets come in.
Every night, I check the surfaces and put the stuff from the surfaces into the baskets.
When the baskets overflow it’s back to our 10 minutes again.
Wipe down those surfaces with something that smells good
It’s like a clutter reward.
A clutter superpower.
Spray a cleaner that smells good and wipe down.
And then guess what happens?
It’s like the spray and the smell repel the clutter all on their own.
No one ever wants to put a piece of clutter on a shiny, good smelling surface.
Donate, Donate, Donate
Our house is full of stuff.
Stuff that we don’t really use any more. Stuff that I walk by and wonder what I should do with it. Stuff that stopped fitting into our life in 1999.
On the first of every month, I go through the house (some from the basket where I put it waiting to be donated) and gather up two garbage bags of stuff and donate it.
Someone else might need that stuff way more than me.
Be kind to yourself
I think that’s where clutter defeats us.
It’s why so many have tried to show clutter to the door and fail.
We look at the clutter and it overwhelms us and we sigh and look away and tell ourselves that we’ll handle it tomorrow.
Why not make your tomorrow start today?
You got this.
You can do it.
Yes, yes, YES you can.
All you need are 10 minutes and a few cute baskets to show clutter the door.
Just make sure to start with the shoes. 🙂