Maybe you see beautiful, clutter-free spaces in magazines or on the web, and think: my home could never look like that. But it can! Freeing your space — and your life — from overwhelmingly huge amounts of stuff doesn’t take superhuman effort. All you need is a little commitment to some basic principles.
1. LIVE WITHIN YOUR MEANS.
Let the size of your home dictate how much stuff you have, and not the other way around. If your wardrobe is bursting at the seams, instead of dreaming of a bigger one, why not try paring down your clothes to fit the space you have?
2. STOP CLUTTER BEFORE IT ENTERS YOUR HOME WITH A LANDING AREA.
Even if you’re conscientious about what you buy, it’s easy for clutter to sneak its way into your home in the form of junk mail/freebies. That’s why setting up an area by the front door is so brilliant: because clutter has to come into your home somewhere, and you can stop it right at the source.
3. TRAIN YOURSELF TO PUT THINGS BACK IN THEIR SPOT.
Previously I have talked about making sure everything has a specific spot. Once everything is organised and put back in place, the only way that it will stay that way, is if you get in the habit of putting things back where they go as soon as you are finished with them.
4. STORE THINGS WHERE YOU USE THEM.
Be smart about where you store things. Not having to walk halfway across your home to put things away will make habitual ‘putting away’ that much easier.
5. DECLUTTER A HOTSPOT FOR 10 MINUTES EACH DAY.
Just a few minutes each day can make a big difference in the overall look of any area in your home.
6. GO PAPER FREE.
Scanning all the documents you’ve been hanging onto may seem like a daunting task, but once you’re done, they’ll be easily searchable (plenty of apps, like Evernote, allow you to search scanned documents for certain words) and you’ll have that much less stuff to manage.
7. OBSERVE YOUR HABITS.
It might be possible to cut down on clutter in hotspots by just taking a few more steps to put something away instead of dumping it on a hotspot. Try to deal with items immediately and put them away. This isn’t always possible, but if you’re trying to be conscious about your habits, you might be able to come up with a new system or organising solution.
8. DON’T BE AFRAID TO TWEAK IT.
Don’t be afraid to change systems that aren’t working. There have been instances where I have spent a lot of time setting up a system and making it look pretty, but when it came to day to day use, it just wasn’t practical or workable. Don’t be afraid to reassess and fix those broken or annoying systems.
9. FORGIVE YOURSELF AND TRY AGAIN.
Remember that nobody is perfect, and nobody’s home is perfect. Even the homes you see in the magazines aren’t perfect — it took a whole team of stylists to make them that way. So if you have an off week, or two weeks, or month, and suddenly your house is a disaster, don’t panic. It’s never too late to forgive yourself and try again.