It’s often the little things we choose to complete that end up making a big difference to how a house functions. Even if you’re really busy, by taking just a few minutes each day to pick up a positive habit, you’ll be on the way to creating a less-cluttered home and a calmer outlook on life.
Open your post
Minimise your incoming paperwork by opting for paperless statements and billing. Designate only one place for keeping all your paperwork. Set up a system for organising your post, with areas for different items: one section for letters that require action, one for post that needs filing, and another for useful information. Recycle junk mail immediately.
Open all post on the day it arrives and pop it in the temporary sections. Try to deal with these once a week so they don’t accumulate.
Read your emails
Emails are the secret clutter nemesis of many people – an overflowing inbox with emails read in a haphazard manner and a nagging feeling you may have missed an important correspondence.
Allocate some time in your day, both at home and at work, to read your emails. Ideally, switch off your notifications and only check your messages when you have time to sort and respond. Delete any junk mail straight away and unsubscribe from the emails you never read.
Some people recommend folders, but the search functions are great if you’re looking for a specific email, so try it without and see how you get on.
Set a daily reminder
If you’re prone to forgetting what you pledged to do, add a daily reminder to a prominently positioned blackboard, or programme it into your phone to help the new task embed as a habit.
These tips are best approached one at a time, so select one you think you can realistically incorporate into your routine and give it a go before choosing the next one. Let others in your house know what you’re doing, but try to avoid expecting them to do the same.
Move on up
As you move around the house, try to take misplaced belongings with you. If your home is on more than one floor, carry something with you when you go upstairs and put it away, or at least leave it on the landing. Try to maximise the benefit of your movements and minimise the time spent tidying away.
If space allows, leave a small basket at the bottom of the stairs to pop items into, then take the basket up next time you go.
Throw your rubbish away
We all know it’s easy to accumulate receipts, food wrappers and tissues in all sorts of places. Get into a daily habit of clearing those bits and pieces of rubbish out of clutter hotspots, such as bags, cars, hallway shelves and bedside tables.
Make it as easy as possible to throw away your rubbish by placing small bins in convenient locations around the house.
Look after the pennies
Resolve to keep change in your wallet and not on your bedside table, coat pocket or hall console. This is especially pertinent in 2017, as the pound coin is being replaced this year. If you want to collect loose change, find a lovely glass jar for temporary storage.
Create a stationery station
Allocate one place downstairs where everyone can easily access any stationery they require. If you work upstairs, then also have a station on or near your desk. If you find pens or sticky notes popping up in another location, move your stationery station there.
If you’re not sure what sort of storage will work for you, buy a cheap version, or make one from cardboard, to try it out. This will prevent you wasting money on solid storage that’s not suitable.
Put a wash on
Load up your washing machine every night and hang laundry out to dry in the morning. Alternatively, if you have a tumble dryer, wash items in the morning, dry them in the evening and put the clean washing away at bedtime.
Don’t let washed garments sit around waiting to be ironed – fold them as soon as they’re dry and put them away. By doing this, you’ll never need to iron most of your clothing. You may need to give yourself permission to do this one – try it and see whether anyone notices!
Stop the clutter coming in
When shopping, think about how you want your home to look and feel. Will this purchase help you achieve your goal? Would the money be better spent saving up for that renovation project you have in mind? Be honest and realistic about your purchases and if that thing is going to add to the clutter, you might be better off without it.