By Caroline Bujold
So you’ve decluttered, minimized and organized. Now, how are you going to maintain it?
Clutter tends to come back and maintenance is a big part of keeping things under control.
Don’t sabotage all your efforts and hard work; adopt these 10 habits to maintain your newly organized space.
1. Put Things Away
Imagine you’re getting home after work. You might have your bag or purse, keys in one hand, phone in the other, a few grocery items you picked up on the way. You balance everything, grab the mail, unlock the door and get in. What happens next could determine if you stay organized or not.
Get into the habit of putting everything away as soon as you get in the door. That way you won’t have to touch it again and your space will be automatically organized.
2. Assign a Home to Everything
To be able to get into habit No 1, you need to first assign a home for your possessions. No system is perfect, but maintenance is much easier when you know where things go. You already do this in the kitchen: forks go all together in their little compartment, plates are piled in a cupboard, etc.
The same can be applied to all other areas of your life: mail and papers, gear, tools, linens, etc. You just need to make a decision about it.
You’re systems may change over time of course, but having a home for every single item ensures it has someplace to got, once you’re done with it.
3. Set Limits
Once the closet is full or when the junk drawer won’t close, it’s time to declutter (again). Setting space limits helps curb clutter. You basically get a visual cue that it’s time to get rid of stuff when you reach your set limit.
It’s like the alert you get when your phone won’t back up to the cloud anymore because memory is full. Before you buy more storage, delete those apps you don’t use and eliminate blurry and unloved photos.
4. Set up a Donation Station
Promote decluttering by setting up a donation station that is easily accessible. As soon as you know you won’t use an item anymore, put it in the donation bin. Schedule regular trips to your favourite donation centre.
When you buy something new that is replacing an item you no longer want, make sure you place the old, but still usable, item in the donation station; trash or recycle it if it’s past its prime.
5. Prioritize and Let Go
Decide what needs to get done first and focus your energy on these tasks. Or in other words, choose your battles.
Maybe you decide that the main living area is the priority, i.e. living room, kitchen and dinning room. It’s understood that everybody in your household needs to do their part to maintain these areas. When all your minions collaborate, it’s easier to give some wiggle room for other areas and you won’t get so irritated when your kids’ bedrooms are a little messy.
Give your To Do List the same treatment. Add as many items as you want, but prioritize what gets done first. When you don’t get it all done, I certainly don’t, relax into the certainty that you got the most important stuff done.
Prioritize what will bring the most benefits to your life and let go of the rest.
6. Single Tasking
Stop the multitasking madness, do only one thing at a time. It’s hard, we’re not used to this anymore, but our brains can’t handle multitasking as much as we think.
When you get the urge to do another thing before you forget, take a moment to write it down in a notebook or enter a reminder in your phone and stay focused on your current task.
Moving from one thing to the other will also help with the next habit.
7. Finish What You Started
You made supper and enjoyed your delicious meal. I know you just want to plop down in front of the TV and do nothing after that, I know I do. Get into the habit of putting the food away, loading the dishwasher, cleaning the dishes and wiping the counters. It will only take a few more minutes and you won’t have to do it later, or worst, clean up congealed food the next day (gasp and ewww!).
Having a bunch of 90% done projects is guaranteed to make your space feel disorganized and it’s discouraging … or is that just me? Finish what you started before moving on to another project.
8. Make Your Bed
Making your bed is still one of the simplest tasks you can do to make your bedroom feel organized.
It’s a wonderful thing to come back to smooth sheets, plus making your bed in the morning gives you a sense of accomplishment, right at the start of your day.
9. Put Clothes Away
Dirty clothes accumulate quickly and make any room look cluttered. Once laundry is done, taking the time to fold and put clothes away makes a huge difference.
Get help from your family members by sorting folded clothes into individual baskets. Even kids can put their clothes away if they are taught how and get an easy system to follow.
10. Be Grateful
Cherish what you have and surround yourself with things you adore. When you love your space, it’s way easier to get into the habit of maintaining it.
These 10 habits are my favourites to maintain our space organized. What are yours?
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