Simple Tips for a Tidy Home

organize the small things

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Sometimes, life is extra busy, and we just have to muddle through each day as well as we can.  Work, school, kids, pets, and more may conspire to keep our homes in a jumble.  Everyday activities like cooking and crafting can add to the chaos.

Read on for some guidance on how to keep the mess at bay to create a calmer, more relaxing and efficient home.

6 Tidyness Tips

1.  First, declutter.

If you haven't done it already, a quick declutter can really help, since fewer possessions means less time spent cleaning and tidying.  Take the Declutter Dare, or focus on one area like the living room, play room, or kitchen.  Ask yourself "How often do I use this?" and "Do I really need so many of these?" 

2.  Create a place for everything.

Everything you own needs a home – somewhere you can put it back after you have used it.  If an item doesn't have a place to belong, it will always be in your way, and you will constantly have to move it around.

Sometimes it's the small things that are the most difficult to store.  A chair or your rain coat may have an exact spot to belong, but all of the pens and pencils, paper clips, lipsticks, earrings, Barbie clothes, and batteries may drift into unexpected places or wind up on a counter or in a jumbled drawer.

Often this is because we simply keep too many of them.  You might have only a few extra blankets or one TV, but your plastic shopping bag stash could be out of control.  Sometimes, with little things, we hang on to more than we need because they're so small and therefore we don't see them as a problem.  But when you have to dig through a bunch of expired makeup to find your favorite mascara, search for the right-size screw in a jarful of assorted hardware, or step on another stray Lego or Matchbox car, frustration mounts.

Here's more advice for creating homes for your tiny bits and pieces.

3.  Avoid impulse buying.

Clutter grows when you shop without a plan.  Think of shopping as a necessary job for securing what you need, rather than as entertainment or a social occasion.  Go with a list – even if you don't know the exact item you need to buy, have some idea of the need you are trying to fill (such as two new warm shirts for winter, athletic shoes for your child, or a baby gift for your nephew's new daughter).  Never shop mindlessly.

4.  Make it easy for children to put toys and books away.

Use a separate bin or basket for Legos, blocks, vehicles, stuffed animals, balls, the train set, etc.  That way kids can simply sort and toss things into the correct bin, and easily find what they want to play with.  For small items, like doll clothes and craft supplies, use a mini chest with clear plastic drawers or a door-hung shoe bag with clear pockets (paid links).  Books are easier for kids to access and put away when the covers face forward.  This bookshelf (paid link) lets you make a neat and enticing display.

Work with your young children until they learn to put toys away on their own.

5.  Tidy up immediately.

Whether cooking, crafting, doing homework, or any other project, always tidy up right away when you have finished.  Don't let the mess take control!  It's so much easier to put things away immediately rather than letting them pile up, leaving more work at the end of a long day.  Hang up clothes, or put them in the laundry hamper, as soon as you take them off.  In the kitchen and bathroom, clean up spills and splatters or wash dishes as you use them.  It's so much easier and more hygienic.  Clean as you go, and you'll spend less time and effort overall.

6.  Make it a habit.

Last but by no means least, make each of these behaviors routine.  Practice until it becomes natural.  Your home will be tidier, everyday life will run more smoothly, and you'll be happier too.

Photo by Pierre Bamin on Unsplash


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