As humans, we just feel happier and more productive in a clean and organized space. In fact, a dirty home can even harm our psychological well-being and add unnecessary strain to our relationships. (Yep, your mom was on to something when she told you to clean your room after all.) As the old adage goes, “A place for everything and everything in its place,” but sometimes it’s easier said than done.
It’s hard to get excited about doing chores and cleaning up around your place, but the benefits really do outweigh the effort. As organization expert Marie Kondo says, “The ultimate goal of tidying is to really learn to cherish everything that you have.” So with that inspiring snippet in mind, we’ve listed out some ways to transform your home into an organized and functional haven — and keep it that way.
One-Time Tidying Up Tips
These are a handful of one-time things you can do to reduce clutter and make your space that much more organized.
- Flip your hangers.
Reverse all of the hangers in your closet with the hook facing toward you. Then when you wear an item, return it to your closet with the hanger flipped back normally. After a month, you can clearly see which clothes you wear regularly and which you should get rid of. But um, obviously don’t get rid of all your shorts just because you didn’t wear them during winter.
- Sort your things by category.
Let the reorganization begin! You can apply this concept to kitchenware, clothes, papers — you name it. Here’s what it might look like in the garage: You bundle all your outdoor gear together in one bin, label it and store it on a designated shelf. Next to that you have another container marked as “guest blankets and pillows.” The more categorized every room of your home becomes, the easier it’ll be to find things when you really need them.
- Go through your books carefully.
Reading is amazing and knowledge is power — no arguments there! But really be discerning when you go through the stacks and piles of books taking up precious space in your home. Keep it if it’s sentimental. But if it’s the kind of book you never plan to read again or don’t even remember owning it, it’s time to consider letting it go. It’ll feel good to lighten your load and share your literature with someone who may appreciate it more.
- Keep items of like-size together.
Take your kitchen for instance. Your drawers might have gadgets of all shapes and sizes thrown in together. But we’d be willing to bet that same drawer won’t close half the time because something pops up to jam it open! If you take the time to get a segmented drawer organizer, it makes everything much tidier. This way you can use your space efficiently and create the best aesthetics.
- Harness the power of tiny boxes.
They may be small, but they make a big difference. Using tiny boxes inside bigger boxes can help keep even the smallest items organized and contained. Think mechanical parts, jewelry, keepsakes, greeting cards — the list goes on.
- Store things in a visible way.
Put things away where it’s always apparent what you have and how many you have. That way you don’t end up buying the same things over and over again. Aside from that, it’s so much easier to pick out outfits or access a spare set of batteries when you can see what you want without having to dig.
- Reframe the way you see chores.
First of all, let’s stop calling them “chores.” Tidying up around your home doesn’t have to be thought of as a necessary evil if you get something out of it. Try thinking of them as an opportunity to talk to your loved one as you both fold laundry. Or maybe it’s your precious “me time” where you can listen to your new guilty pleasure podcast about alien abductions. This is your time!
Everyday Ways to Clean and Declutter
If you’re ready to introduce some daily decluttering into your life, look no further than these tips.
- Make your bed every morning.
Routine plays a key role in changing our habits. And when you start every day by making your bed, that one small accomplishment can snowball into a whole day of great, productive decisions.
- Spend one minute thinking about your home.
If you really think about how much respect your home deserves, your actions will start to reflect that idea. Think of how this safe place has housed and protected you while fostering good memories and friendly gatherings. You’ll probably think twice before throwing your clothes on the ground or leaving dirty dishes out now, right?
- Give your bathroom counter a quick wipe.
It can be hectic in the morning before work, but spending an extra 30 seconds will give you a nice, clean counter to come home to. Make things easy for yourself and leave a spray bottle of surface cleaner within arm’s reach of your sink so you can just spray, wipe and walk away. It doesn’t take much, but it makes all the difference.
- Put your clothes away every night.
After a long day of work, it’s tempting to toss your clothes on a chair or add to a pile on your bed. But do future you a favor and hang up your clothes, fold them away or put them in the dirty clothes bin. Every. Single. Night. Again, it’ll become routine and you won’t have to spend your sundays picking up after your past self.
- Wash while you cook.
Whistle while you work and clean while you cook. Why? Because the worst part about cooking at home is the cleanup. The thing is, you can eliminate any major would-be mess after the meal if you just wash as you go. At the very least, rinse off each item you use and set it in the sink. That way you won’t have any hardened food to scrape off in an hour or two, and everything can all go straight in the dishwasher.
- Get your dishwasher down to a rhythm.
If you start your dishwasher every night, you’ll have a nice, clean set of dishes waiting for you in the morning. Empty it while the coffee is brewing or the eggs are cooking and make it a seamless part of your morning routine. And there’s no need to feel guilty — it's actually more water efficient to run your washer then hand wash dishes!
- Leave a room, take something with you.
Things have a way of ending up in the wrong room and getting lost in the shuffle. So try to make it a habit to never leave a room empty-handed if something’s out of place. Is your jacket flung on the couch? Take it into your bedroom and hang it up if you’re headed that way. Eventually, you won’t even notice you’re tidying up from room to room.
If you really commit to following these tips, your home will be filled with less junk and more space for happiness. It won’t happen overnight and there will be times it will revert back to messiness, but your home is a reflection of your intentions — so think clean!