5 Good Family Habits For Daily Decluttering

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Maintaining a clutter-free home isn’t always easy with a family, kids, pets, crazy schedules and all the other attention getting things that go on in our home every day. And seeing stuff in disarray all over countertops, floors and furniture can bring up the stress meter, especially if you prefer your home to be in order. When my home gets messy I feel scatterbrained and unorganized. But when my home is picked up, counters clear, and the sofa covers and cushions straightened, my happy scale moves up a notch. I just like it neat most of the time.

If you are like me, a well-kept living space brings calm to your chaotic day.  And your family may not say it, but they probably like it, and you, that way, too.

Developing these five good habits will keep your home mostly clutter-free:

1. Put things back where you got them. It takes less time to put an item back as soon you are finished with it then it does to backtrack and return it later — along with other things left out. This may take some retraining of yourself and the family, but with persistence new habits will form and become a natural part of everyone’s daily routine. If you see it, get it!

2. Unclutter as you go along. Every morning sift through your house, pick up stray items and put them back where they belong. If you’re in a time crunch, gather stuff in a basket and return items to their spot later. Unclutter as you move through rooms during the day. In the evening run a 30-second clutter-buster race and have the kids put stuff back as fast as they can to beat the clock. They will have fun doing it and you will feel more relaxed knowing your home is in order before heading off to bed.

3. Designate task areas. Set-up workstations to complete daily tasks. Sort mail near the trash bin; arrange a bill paying area with pens, stamps and envelopes; designate a spot for movie and library book returns. Hang small, mesh laundry bags for collecting dirty socks near the dirty clothes hamper and label with each person’s name. Throw the bags in with the wash, then when dry return each to its owner to sort and put away. A good lesson in responsibility and no more stray socks.

4. Spend a little, get a lot of storage. Install closet systems yourself to save money and create storage space. In our house we generally know where to look for gloves and hats when needed, but other items can end up in a variety of places, which can confuse and frustrate everyone. Not a good way to start the day!  Labeling storage compartments for extra things keeps everyone organized and in a good mood.

5. Quietly tuck things away. If your floors are overrun with toys, games and other stuff — quietly put some of them away in a closet.  When the kids ask for an item, bring it back out. Rotate items monthly to keep pile-ups and boredom at bay. They will find new excitement in a toy if they haven’t seen it for a while. Anything they don’t ask for, or play with much, gets donated to a child who will use it. My sister used this trick to keep her home neat as a pin, even with two little boys running around playing all day.

No family wants to live in a museum, and daily decluttering is well worth the extra few minutes it takes to keep your home neat and enjoyable for the whole family to relax in.

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