Decluttering is an important part of simplifying your home and your life. If you simply have too much stuff it’s hard to maintain a clutter-free home. Much less an organized or functional home. Not to mention, too much stuff can make your life more stressful than it needs to be!
But as important as decluttering is, it’s not the only important strategy to simplify your home and life. Establishing habits and routines to maintain a clutter-free home are equally as important as clearing the clutter, to begin with.
If you don’t have solid routines and habits to keep your home clutter-free moving forward, you’ll likely end up exactly where you were with a cluttered home that’s hard to manage.
Less stuff + a few simple habits & routines make it easy to maintain a clutter-free home!
Even when you own less stuff, your home will still get messy at times. You and your family still live there and use your home after all!
But when you have less stuff, combined with habits and routines to maintain a clutter-free home, your home will be much easier to manage.
Not only that but keeping your home tidy will take less time and effort. Giving you more time to live and enjoy your life, not just clean up after it!
Habits & routines to clear the clutter and keep your home tidy
Today I want to share 12 easy routines and habits to help you maintain a clutter-free home now and in the future!
These habits and routines will not only help you as you are in the process of decluttering and removing the excess stuff from your home. But they will also help you keep your home clutter-free moving forward.
12 quick and easy habits to maintain a clutter-free home
1. A place for everything and everything in its place
One of the best ways to maintain a clutter-free home is having a place for each item in your home, and getting into the habit of putting everything away in its place regularly.
Clutter is often the result of items that either don’t have a home or you don’t know what to do with. When something doesn’t have a home, it often sits out cluttering your surfaces and your home.
But when everything has a designated place to keep it, it makes it much easier to maintain a clutter-free home.
If an item doesn’t have a home or you can’t find a good place to keep it, either do some decluttering until you can find a home for it. Or ask yourself if the item really needs to stay in your home at all.
Don’t put it down, put it away
Once you have a home for each item, the next part of this habit is actually putting things away when you’re done using them.
The more you get in the habit of putting things away, the less will be left out throughout your home causing clutter.
I like to remind myself of the “one-touch rule” which means you aim to touch things one time.
Instead of putting something down to deal with later (often leaving you with a lot of clutter, or a big pile of stuff to deal with at the end of the day), just put it away right then.
Another way to remember it is this: don’t put things down, put them away!
Of course, sometimes you get busy or life happens and things won’t always get put away immediately. But the more you get in the habit of putting things away in their home after you’re done using them, the easier it will be to keep your home tidy and clutter-free.
2. Notice the common causes of clutter and make a plan for those items
As you go about your day, notice the common causes of clutter and what is usually sitting out on your surfaces and around your home.
Once you know your most common sources of clutter, first start decluttering and simplifying those groups of items. When you own less, it makes keeping up with and managing the stuff so much easier.
Then, make a plan to deal with the common causes of clutter. Find or make homes for all the items that normally cause clutter around your home.
Make sure their homes are logical, ideally keeping things close to where you use them.
And make sure their homes are easily accessible. If it takes too much work to put something away, it likely won’t get put away.
Make it easy to keep things in their place!
3. Have a system to keep paperwork from piling up
Paperwork seems to be one of the most common causes of clutter for many of us. So much so that I think it’s worth taking the time to set up a system to handle paperwork specifically.
The flow of paperwork can be fairly constant for most of us. Whether it’s mail, to-do lists, school papers, things that need our attention or action, etc.
Not to mention, the flat surfaces in our homes seem to be magnets for paper clutter. It’s easy to set one thing down to deal with later, but because clutter attracts clutter before you know it, you have a whole pile!
The best way to keep paper clutter from piling up is having a good system in place to deal with it before it has a chance to pile up. To be effective, your paper management system needs to be quick to use and easy to maintain.
My favourite way to deal with paperwork is using a command center. It doesn’t have to be fancy or elaborate. In fact, the simpler the better!
Set up a command center to work with your lifestyle and habits. Then, instead of dropping paperwork on any available surface in your home, you can quickly and easily put it away, find it when you need it and avoid the dreaded piles of paper clutter!
4. Have an ongoing donation box available and accessible at all times
Another simple, but awesome way to make it easy to maintain a clutter-free home is by keeping a donation box available and handy at all times.
During the day, when you come across something you no longer use, need or love, simply add it to your donation box.
(Or of course, throw it out right then if it’s garbage or not worth donating!)
When your donation box gets full, drop the stuff off at your donation center and start again!
An ongoing donation box makes it easy to declutter as you go about your day. Instead of waiting for designated “decluttering times”, by which time you may have forgotten what you wanted to get rid of, a handy donation box makes decluttering on the go easy.
The fewer barriers you have to decluttering the easier it will be to clear the clutter and keep your home clutter-free and tidy!
5. Declutter as you go about your day
And speaking of which, decluttering as you go about your day is an awesome habit to get into to help maintain a clutter-free home.
As I said above, whenever you come across something you no longer use, need or love, add it to your donation box or throw it out right then.
If you get in the habit of doing this consistently, you’ll make great progress towards clearing the clutter from your home and keeping your home tidy and clutter-free.
Decluttering isn’t something you do once and are done. Your needs change, your preferences change, the season of life you’re in changes. etc. Not to mention, the more you declutter and see the benefits of living with less, the more willing and excited you become to let go of more.
Make getting rid of things you don’t use, need or love part of your daily routine and you’ll reach your decluttering goals even faster!
6. Do a quick daily reset of your home
Getting in the habit of putting things away as soon as you’re done using them is a great habit to get into to keep your home clutter-free. But sometimes life happens and it doesn’t always get done!
My favourite way to stay on top of keeping the house tidy and clutter-free, even on busy days, is doing a quick daily reset of our house.
A reset isn’t a deep clean and shouldn’t take long. Instead, it’s a quick tidy to put things away and reset your home.
Getting in the habit of spending 10 minutes a day picking up, putting things away and generally tidying your home will go a long way toward maintaining a clutter-free home.
And the best part is, once you get in the habit of doing a quick reset every day, it won’t take much time or effort. When you stay on top of any messes by tidying up at least once a day, things don’t have a chance to pile up or get out of control.
Pick a time of day that works best for your schedule and aim to do your reset daily.
I like to do a quick reset every night before the kids go to bed. It’s so nice to wake up each morning to a tidy house, instead of yesterday’s mess!
7. Clear the flat surfaces regularly
As you’re doing your daily reset (or getting in the habit of putting things away when you’re done with them), clearing your flat surfaces is an especially important part to remember.
Flat surfaces, like kitchen counters, coffee tables, kitchen tables, nightstands, etc. seem to be magnets for clutter. Again, the more frequently you stay on top of clearing off these surfaces, the easier it will be to keep them clear.
Don’t give piles a chance to form!
Instead, get in the habit of clearing off the flat surfaces at least once a day to help maintain a clutter-free and tidy home.
8. Make your bed
Making your bed might not seem that significant. It’s in your bedroom and not many people likely see that room anyway, why does it matter?
But it’s more about shifting your mindset than anything else. Allowing you to start your day with a sense of accomplishment and initiative.
Making your bed only takes a few minutes, but instantly transforms the way your bedroom looks and feels. It makes the whole space look tidier, cleaner and more inviting.
This small habit can have a domino effect that helps inspire other small habits to keep your home tidy.
For example, because your room looks so nice with the bed made, you might be inspired to put your dirty clothes in the hamper instead of on the floor.
Or it might inspire you to put your dirty dishes in the dishwasher instead of by the sink because you saw the difference one small action made to your bedroom.
Not only can it inspire you to keep your home tidier, but a nicely made bed is such a nice treat to return to at the end of a long day.
9. Keep your kitchen tidy
The kitchen tends to be the heart of the home. It’s often where we gather and hang out with friends and family. Because it’s such a hardworking, well-used room, getting in the habit of keeping your kitchen tidy and clutter-free will impact the feel of the whole house.
There are many simple ways to get in the habit of keeping your kitchen tidy. You can try cleaning as you cook, quickly cleaning up after each meal, reusing the same drinking glass throughout the day, etc. Even meal planning can help keep food from causing clutter in your kitchen.
For more habits to help keep your kitchen clutter-free, check out this post for plenty of ideas!
10. Use the “one in, one out” rule
While clearing the clutter is an important part of a clutter-free home. Stopping the inflow of new stuff coming into your home is equally important.
First, work on making more intentional shopping decisions, so you aren’t buying things you don’t really need or won’t use.
You can also practice treating yourself to things that won’t cause clutter when you feel like shopping but don’t want to add more “stuff” to your home.
Then, when you do buy or bring something new into your home, balance it by following the “one in, one out” rule. When you bring something new into your home, get rid of something else to make space.
If you want to kick it up a notch, try getting rid of two or three or more things for each new item you bring in!
11. Completely reset your home at the start of each week
In addition to doing daily resets in your home, a deeper weekly reset can be a great habit to help maintain a clutter-free home.
I like to do our weekly reset on Sunday evenings to start the week off with a tidy home ready to take on the week ahead.
The weekly reset is basically the same as a daily reset, just a little bit deeper. In addition to picking up and putting things away, I also like to:
- Meal plan for the week
- Get groceries
- Clean out our fridge, freezer and pantry
- Do a little food prep for the week
- Gather the garbage and take it out
- Catch up on any laundry
It feels great to start the week feeling on top of things instead of already feeling behind.
12. Own less stuff!
And of course, one really important habit to maintain a clutter-free home is simply owning less stuff!
Clearing the clutter from your home is very important to keep your home clutter-free, organized and functional. If you have too much stuff, to begin with, not only will all the habits and routines in this post be much more difficult. But your home will be more difficult to maintain in general.
The combination of owning less coupled with establishing some habits to keep it tidy and clutter-free are the keys to creating a simplified home that’s easy to maintain, enjoyable to be in and less stressful to manage.
Progress, not perfection
It can take time and practice to establish new habits and routines. You don’t have to try to start doing them all at once. Aim to add one or two new habits at a time. Once you feel like you’ve mastered those habits, add in one or two more. Going slow will help increase your chances of sticking to your new habits and routines.
And remember, it’s more important to aim for progress, not perfection. If you miss a few days, don’t beat yourself up. Start where you are, get back on track and keep moving forward!
What is your favourite habit or routine to help keep your home tidy and clutter-free? Which of these habits and routines do you think will help make it easier to keep your home tidy and clutter-free moving forward? Let me know in the comments below!