Here's How To Make Daily Declutter A Habit

by Aparna Ayyar
The state of my house sets the stage for my week.

If it’s neat and tidy, I can think better. I feel creative. I want to bake cookies and prepare fresh pots of tea. But when my house resembles a pig-pen, as it invariably does on weekdays, it saps my energy. Just looking at piles of clothes, books, magazines, and work folders tires me.

If you're like me, then cleaning becomes especially challenging over the course of the week. Very often, I can't even begin to clear the clutter because I know it’s going to take me all day to sort that over-stuffed closet or the utterly chaotic kitchen cabinets.

There’s no need to aim for the sky. With the limited time you have, maybe a more sustainable bite-sized approach to clearing clutter makes more sense.

Try this simple approach to decluttering on a weekly basis. With a little dedication, you'll soon realize that your house is always clean!

1.Identify Clutter Hot Spots

First things first—figure out your mess-dense zones. In my house, the dining table acts like a magnet for completely random and useless knick knacks. For some people, it’s the laundry basket or the kitchen counters.

One way to identify these zones is to determine the amount of use you’re getting out of a space. For example, does your dresser contain bottles of product that you don’t even use? Are you even using your desk that's piled with all that clutter? These are the hot spots you should be targeting.

2. Use Bags And Bins To Organize

Once you’ve identified the areas that need your attention, get four bags or pretty bins. Label them as “Throw,” “Donate,” “Storage” and “Does Not Belong Here”. These bags and bins will get you through disorganized and chaotic times. Find storage bins that are appealing to you and harmonize with your home; use regular trash bags for to throw away your junk and donate what you no longer need.

3. 15-Minute Rule

Set aside 15 minutes every day to clear clutter from your messy hot spots. It can be any time of the day really: before your kids come back from school or just after your shower.

If you have children, play a cleaning game. Set a timer for 15 minutes, and clean the kids' room together before the timer runs out. Make it playful, not stressful. For example, prepare for the "cleaning game" by stretching together before you set the timer. If the room is tidy before the timer runs out, everyone gets a big hug or special "cleaning game" treat. 

4.Clear & Sort

When you're ready to sort, place the 4 bags and bins on the floor. Play your favorite music to get yourself in the mood and dive into the mess.

Ask yourself, do you really need the pink miniature watering can right there on the dining table? No. Toss it in the “Does Not Belong Here” bin. Are those Post-Its? Do you really need all 12 of them? No? Toss them in the “Storage” bin.

Go through the entire ‘hot spot’ and stop after 15 minutes are up. Put the bins in their assigned place, ideally out of sight. 

5. Post Clearing

Over the weekend, set aside 15 minutes to decide the fate of the contents of the “Does Not Belong Here” bin. Trash the contents of the “Throw Away” bag and donate the things in the “Donate” bag. Reward yourself when you finish clearing up.

Decluttering everyday can help you tackle a big mess in no time!

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