One Simple Trick to Keep Your Home Neat

September 30, 2019

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.

Looks like the kids have some work to do in here – but 3 kids/5 items each. This train table will be back to tidy in no time!

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  • Reply Decluttering Challenge - Lilacs and Lost Socks December 18, 2019 at 2:38 pm

    […] can be so overwhelming. I do little bits here and there – like I suggest in my Pitch 5 Things post. But, that is not always enough. I need to dig deep this year and purge the hidden clutter – […]

  • Reply Clean Up Games for Kids - Lilacs and Lost Socks October 22, 2019 at 6:08 pm

    […] to turn picking up into a game.  I do the same thing to myself – when I tell myself to just pitch 5 things.  I play games against the clock when folding laundry and other menial chores.  Please […]

  • Reply Terry Berry October 14, 2019 at 3:44 am

    Hi, Liz. This is such a great idea! Especially for new moms trying to keep up with the house and the baby and maybe another job and/or siblings. Breaking tidying down into manageable short chunks is something I never think of. But I also can’t find large blocks of time to pick up. Going to do this and get everyone on board. Thanks for the tip!

    • Reply Liz October 16, 2019 at 7:34 pm

      Thanks for stopping by. I hope this trick works well for you! Let me know how it’s going!

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