back to Blog

What Are the Best Practices to Keep a Clutter-Free Home?

July 24, 2023

Decluttering can be stressful, but so is watching the clutter grow. Here are some suggestions on how to manage the clutter before it manages you.

Many of us have items around the house that are of sentimental value to us. Or perhaps we have things we want to work on or review later, so we set them aside and it begins to pile up. These items that are not immediately improving our lives or helping us live better are called “clutter.” Decluttering can be a stressful prospect, but so is keeping the clutter around. In fact, the buildup of visual clutter can cause us more daily stress than we realize. This is why managing clutter around the house will reduce your everyday stress levels in the long run.

What is Decluttering?

Decluttering doesn’t necessarily mean that everything must be thrown out or donated. Decluttering is quite simply organizing the clutter within your home and giving it a proper space. For instance, if you have random piles of fabric scraps and buttons that you have saved for future projects in a catch-all drawer in your home, you can rehome them by storing them in a dedicated bin. Or maybe you struggle with sorting your mail and before you know it, it turns into a heaping pile on the counter. If this sounds familiar, try establishing a sorting system. Place your “I’ll get to it later” mail in its own box and place the “important” mail in its own box. Not only will you be keeping your counter clear, but you will also have a dedicated place for the mail so that you won’t be frantically digging through a mountain of papers trying to find that vehicle registration sticker you’d forgotten about.

When decluttering, you can ask yourself questions like, “When was the last time I used this? Is it broken? Will I reasonably need this in the coming months? Does it have any sentimental value?” These questions will help you determine whether an item is worth keeping or throwing away.

Where Do I Start?

Decluttering can be a stressful prospect, but so is keeping the clutter around! Visual clutter can cause us more daily stress than we realize. This is why managing clutter around the house will reduce your everyday stress levels in the long run.

As daunting as decluttering can be, it is important to start small. Begin with one specific space, like your desk, or that one corner of the counter, or your bathroom sink, and focus on just that one space. Some items will likely need to be thrown out, so keep a garbage bag handy as you tackle that one space. Trash can be a visual distraction when you’re trying to find the items that you need to save and reorganize. Categorizing the remaining items into piles before storing them away can help you determine where things need to go at a glance. Rehome the items that you wish to keep by using various storage tools at your disposal such as shelves, storage bins, and containers to help organize the clutter. You can even use color coded stickers or labels to help you out too.

Give yourself breaks as needed. Sometimes all you can handle is one space for the day, and that is perfectly fine! Give yourself a game plan on which areas of your home you will declutter first. Tackling one room at a time is advisable, but if some areas of your home are more complex than others, take on the easier, more mildly cluttered areas and work your way up to the more heavily cluttered areas. Completing each space will give you a sense of accomplishment and will motivate you to move on to the next area of concern.

How Do I Manage the Clutter Long-Term?

Now that you’ve established an organizational system, you need to make sure the clutter stays organized. Your best bet is to keep a schedule of when you will check back in on the clutter that will inevitably accrue over time. We all have different lifestyles and busy schedules, so it is important to find a schedule that works for you and your family.

Perhaps you may wish to dedicate thirty minutes to an hour every weekend to decluttering one room of the house, and then the next weekend you address another room. In practice, this may look like a rotation, where one weekend you tackle the clutter in the kitchen, the next weekend you handle the living room, and the next weekend you take on the bedroom, and so on. Once you have cycled through all of the rooms in the house, you can restart the schedule again. By keeping a system like this, you can prevent clutter from becoming unmanageable.

Decluttering can be overwhelming, so don’t be ashamed of asking a friend for help if you need it. Sometimes having another person’s fresh perspective can help you make better decisions about what to keep and what to throw out. No decluttering job is impossible, especially if you can break it up into smaller, more manageable pieces. Find a system that works for you and establish a reasonable schedule to maintain your system. You’ll create and maintain a happier, cleaner home while putting in less effort than you think.

Author: Kathleen Ramirez, Content Creator for Marina’s Cleaning Services LLC.