Believe it or not, there’s something to be said for following a schedule for de-cluttering each area of your house on a regular basis. Sticking to a routine clean out schedule will save you a load of stress and physical labor in the long run. Here’s an easy to follow plan that I often recommend to my clients:
Once a week – Most homes get a bit undone throughout a busy work and school week. In my house, it is not uncommon to have shoes, toys, office supplies and random dishes floating about come Friday afternoon. Look around the house, gather up all visibly misplaced items in a large basket or bag, and return them to where they belong.
Once a month – Sort through higher traffic spaces, like the laundry room, kitchen, TV room or play room and return misplaced items to their proper homes. Go through those dusty DVD’s, look in the toy box, and throw out those abandoned socks that have been sitting for 3 months without a match. If you pick one day a month to sort through one room in your home, you will be amazed at how much more organized and clear each space will feel. You will also be reacquainted with everything you own and might just find yourself surprisingly prepared for a very lucrative yard sale.
Once every 6 months – As the seasons change, our wardrobe selections start to shift, and most of us don’t have the space to store everything together all year long. This is a great time to sort through bedroom closets and the hallway or entryway coat closet for donations and off-season clothing and shoes. Stash off-season items in under-bed bags or plastic bins if they won’t fit in these spaces and use this time to evaluate whether you really need those jeans you bought 3 years ago with tags still attached waiting for that one day when you lose 5 pounds. I am the first to admit that I have had a few of these hanging around in the past!
Once a year – Nobody likes to clean out the garage or basement, but these areas are usually the fall-out zones for random items and things we plan to put away later. If left to their own demise, these spaces quickly become safe harbor for piles of clutter, fire hazards and unwanted living creatures. Once a year, choose a weekend or a few days in a week to start clearing everything out, making piles and deciding what stays and what goes. Places like Walmart and Big Lots offer great and affordable shelving and storage options, so there is no need for disorganization in these types of spaces.
There is no incorrect method for maintaining a clutter free environment, so you can play around with this schedule to make it work for your home and lifestyle. Just remember that any change in routine takes focus and determination to master, but the payoff for putting in a bit of extra time on a regular basis to keep your home clutter free is well worth the effort.