Other Room Box
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Virginia Wells

3 Hacks to Maintain a Clutter-Free Home

I have three ‘hacks’ to maintain a clutter-free home. Whether you’ve decluttered your house completely, or are still in the process of getting it decluttered, these tips will help you keep it decluttered and tidy. Remember these are habit changes so they might take a little while to get the hang of.

There are lots of ways to keep your home organised, once you’ve started. This blog post will focus on just a few. Why not choose one of the below to do in your home and see if it helps? Habits are easier to make stick if you implement them one at a time. Once you’ve got the hang of one, try the next one.

As you may already be aware, I follow a particular decluttering process. These hacks will help you work your way through what stays and goes in your home. One of the baskets within my tub method is the Other Room Tub. If you have these setup, then grab your Other Room tub, otherwise just use a box bag or laundry basket instead.

Clutter-Free Home Hacks

1. Do a Daily Reset

To do a daily reset, you go around a room, or your home, with your ‘Other Room’ box collecting things that belong elsewhere. Let’s assume you’ve decluttered your home already, and you’re looking to keep it looking that way. With your trusty ‘Other Room’ box in hand, choose a room and collect the items that don’t belong in there. Once the box is full, go room by room and pop items in the box into their proper homes. If you’re pretty organised, you can do your whole home in one sweep rather than just one room.

If you don’t have a home for an item in the ‘Other Room’ box, then take some time to create a home for it. This makes life easier next time you come across a similar item. It will have somewhere to live. Yay!

If you haven’t decluttered your home yet, that’s ok, this will still work. Choose a timeframe that’s reasonable to focus on this task. The only difference for you is that you will only focus on one room. Collect items in that room that belong elsewhere. Whilst doing this be mindful of how many of these items already have a home. If a lot of them don’t, then don’t collect too many items. Limit it to five. If you know they all have a home, feel free to fill your box. Once full, carry the box around the house to the relevant homes for the items in your tub. Just like above, you will create a home for any item that doesn’t have one.

If you do this daily, creating the homes and processing stuff in this space will make an impact. As time goes on, it will become easier and easier, as you’ll have homes for each type of category. In some instances, the home might be temporary. For example, you might need to sit a labelled box on the floor that will make its way into a cupboard you can’t get into yet.

This daily reset allows you to get your home back to a status quo. If there is a lot ‘out of place’, and you do this reset regularly, you will see change take place over time. If you get the whole family involved, just five minutes each is significant. Each person can work on a room and the result will be huge shifts over time.

2. Place a Basket in ‘High-Traffic’ Areas

Another hack to maintain a clutter-free home is to have a basket sitting in the zone that has high traffic to collect items that don’t belong in that space. Typically, good spots for this are the living areas, dining room table and/or kitchen bench.

In this scenario, you’d only have a smallish basket in the location, something like the size of a fruit bowl. In this basket, collect items that don’t belong in that zone but make their way into that room during the day. For example, the toys that get left on the bench, broken items, or things you’ve put down when you were busy doing something else. It is for those things you thought, “I’ll put that away later” because it belongs in another room or its home is too hard to get to right now. Your whole family will eventually learn that that is the home for stuff that belongs elsewhere. Another great spot for a basket of this sort is the bottom and top of a staircase or a basket for bringing things to the garage.

The reason this can work well is that it creates a temporary home for these items, in that room, as it happens. It creates a habit shift from “I’ll dump it here” to “I’ll put it in its home for me to process later”. It also creates a space limit. Once it’s full, it’s telling you, “Empty me!” Make it a habit to empty it daily and it becomes an easy win. The ‘designated basket’, unlike the ‘Other Room’ approach, fills itself during the day so you don’t have to go and do the collection step at the end of each day.

3. A Basket for Everyone

The final hack I have to maintain a clutter-free home is for bigger families or large households. If you have several people in your household, you could have a designated basket for each person. In this scenario, one person (let’s say it’s mum), would be responsible for collecting the items in the ‘Daily Reset’ method. Mum would place any items related to a family member into their designated basket, and they would put the things away themselves, much like many washing routines. Any ‘common area’ items could be put away by mum if she’s feeling generous, or she can leave them in the basket for when everyone is home, and then everyone helps put these items away. Each person chooses one item at a time to rehome until the box is empty.

For larger households, it’s important to remember this requires a habit shift for all involved and perhaps a learning opportunity too. Skills for how to do this may need to be taught. You may even need to remind everyone daily to empty their basket and the communal one too. For instance, if someone’s basket is overflowing, you might need to teach them how to deal with it. They may not have the skills needed to do this. They may need to be taught how to put things away, and how to create homes for stuff that is homeless.

Sometimes, it’s sheer laziness. If that’s your situation, then you could choose to set up a rule that they have a week to empty it and if it’s not emptied, the stuff gets donated or tossed. Come up with something that is fair, and you’re willing to stick by! I have another blog post with tips on getting others onboard to declutter. How Do I Get My Kids to Clean Their Room? might be useful too.

Your House Needs its Teeth Brushed!

There you have it, three hacks to maintain a clutter-free home. Doing one of these tasks daily will keep your home running smoothly. Consider it like brushing your teeth for your home. Most of us brush our teeth once or twice a day. The house needs its teeth brushed too!

These activities really complement the other big decluttering and organising sessions you do too. Taking those five minutes a day to deal with that surface level clutter will support your other efforts. Over time you are likely to see significant changes, such as you and others putting items away straight away so you don’t have to do it at the end of the day. There will also be homes for everything, so you won’t feel overwhelmed with deciding where to put things. It will be a habit and just ‘second nature’.

Do you have a tip on how to maintain your home? Share it on the WellSorted Facebook Group.

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