1. Create a routine.
Include organizing in your daily routine and soon enough keeping things neat will become a habit. (Note from Steph: Put it on your calendar! That way you will have the time, even if it is only in small chunks of time--15 minutes can give you good results.)
2. Clean up as you go.
When you leave an area, or finish a project or task, clean up everything you’ve just used.
3. Make it easy to prevent clutter.
Keep boxes in the garage marked “give away” and “sell” that you can easily drop things into. (Note from Steph: I like to keep a "give away" shopping bag right in my closet so if I put something on that doesn't fit any longer or just doesn't look great, I can drop in in my bag right there and then!) Have numbers for charities that will pick up from your home in your contacts. Be sure every room has a trash can, including the laundry room and the garage.
4. Have systems to receive and corral the clutter that accumulates daily.
This includes folders or baskets where you open your mail and receive paperwork for: Financial- bills, receipts, account statements, paycheck stubs, etc. Children- permission slips, game schedules, notes, etc.
To File- if you are certain you will need a paper again (Note from Steph: Make time to file every few days so these don't just pile up and create more clutter!)
To Do- for mail that needs a response, bills to pay, questionnaires, invitations, etc. (Make sure you tackle the To Do basket every few days).
5. Sort mail directly over the trash or recycle bin.
Get rid of junk mail immediately. (Note from Steph: You have heard this one from me before more than once!)
6. Deal with sentimental clutter.
Rotate photos on display periodically. Pack things away carefully to keep for posterity. If a sentimental item is large or bulky, consider taking a picture of it and saving the photo instead of the item. (Note from Steph: Or, if it really no longer brings you great joy, small or large items, get rid of it. It has served its purpose in the past and now you can make room for new memories!)
7. If something is broken, take it to be repaired, fix it yourself, or dispose of it.
Give it a month. It you don’t need it in that time, get rid of it. Be realistic. (Note from Steph: I put a post-it note on it with the date so I am sure when I have given myself the month.)
8. Do the dishes before you go to bed.
9. Have a place for everything.
Put things away when you first get home. Don’t let stuff accumulate in entryways and on kitchen counters.
10. One in, one out.
Make it a rule: when something new comes in, something has to go out.
11. Make the bed every morning.
This doesn’t really have anything to do with organizing, but it will make your space look neater.
12. File, don’t pile.
Take that extra few minutes to put those papers into their files or proper place and you won’t have a pile waiting for you next time.
13. Create an organizing playlist
Choose a few songs that will get and keep you motivated.
14. Take 15 minutes a day.
Once you get organized, maintaining it should be quick and easy. Carve out 15 minutes a day to maintain your systems and you’ll stay organized and clutter-free!
15. Set a timer.
It’s easy to get distracted when you’re organizing. Set a time for your 15 minutes – or even 5! You’ll get a lot more done when you’re focused.
16. Reward yourself.
Don’t forget to carve out some time for you. Do something you enjoy, or sit back and relax in your organized space.
17. Get some help.
If you’re having trouble maintaining your organized systems, you may just be too busy. There are only so many hours in the day, after all. Enlist other family members, delegate tasks, or contact us. We can help with maintenance, too.