Some mornings after everyone has left for school I look around the house and am immediately overwhelmed. Everywhere I look there is stuff. Stuff on the counters, stuff on the table, stuff on the stairs. It isn’t a huge mess -but all that clutter makes me uncomfortable. Even my spaces are cluttered – my desk is full of papers, the nightstand collects books and hairbands, my closet shelves hold random unmatched socks. It drives me crazy.
There are days I can dig right in and run from room to room, tidying the house. Other days – I just can’t. I’m tired, I’m not motivated, I’m sick of it. I’m just done. So what do I do to get out of this rut? What’s the trick to getting rid of this layer of clutter that overtakes my home?
Pick Up 5 Things
I tell myself “just 5 things” Just find 5 things on the counter and put them away or throw them out. Nothing more, nothing less. That’s it. Don’t worry about the rest. It kind of becomes a game. I may put away a hairbrush, a book and a pen. Then toss out an old grocery bag and empty water bottle. DONE! Now I get to walk away.
Maybe I’ll get a cup of coffee or workout or catch up on the news. The next time I come in to the kitchen – Just 5 things. Maybe I’ll put 2 old bananas in the refrigerator, put away 2 pairs of socks and pitch a catalog this time. You get the idea.
This really was how my dining room table looked today. The kids had made kaleidoscopes over the weekend and I didn’t know where to put the little pieces – so I left them sitting on trays in the dining room. Then, they “helped” me decorate by placing little pumpkins all over the house. Once I decided where to put the kaleidoscopes this took about a minute to pick up.
Make it a Habit
Every time I walk into a room the first thing I do is find 5 things to put away or throw away. If you do this every time you enter a room in your home you will have decluttered a lot of stuff. I’ve been doing this long enough now that it is a habit. Every single time I walk in to a room I look for my 5 things. And I always find them. Sometimes I have to open a drawer to find something to pitch but that’s great – clutter accumulates in drawers too!
This is such a quick and easy trick to help keep your home neat and tidy. And you won’t even realize you are cleaning after a while. There is absolutely no expectation to complete a big or overwhelming project and that is what makes this so easy. Once this becomes a habit you won’t even view it as cleaning or picking up. It’s just what you do – This is the trick to maintaining a neat and orderly home ALL the time.
And since it is so easy I bet there are other people in your home who could join you in this decluttering game. Because it is easy, quick and stress free – even my kids are willing participants (when reminded). They won’t throw anything away – they are all hoarders. But, they will pick stuff up and that is half the battle.