Note: This article on decluttering routines is by contributing writer, Tammy Strobel.
When I started to simplify my life, I had visions of decluttering my home in one or two days. However, this mindset left me feeling overwhelmed and defeated. With help from friends and books, I changed my perspective. I made decluttering part of my daily routine and started to declutter in bursts. This helped me develop a consistent routine. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, decluttering in small bursts empowered me to keep going. And, seeing the gradual progress was fun!
8 Ways To Create A Daily Decluttering Routine
Over the years, I’ve learned that I need a decluttering routine. If I don’t stick to a routine, stuff accumulates on counters, in my office, and by my bed. In this article, I thought it would be helpful to share steps that are part of my daily decluttering routine. I hope these ideas inspire you to declutter daily. With that, let’s dive in!
1.) Everything has a home
Most of my stuff has a specific “home” in my home like coats, bike gear, and house keys. For example, my husband installed two key hooks on the wall by our front door. After I unlock the front door, I immediately hang up my keys. Creating a “key home” has saved me so much time! I no longer spend extra time wandering through my apartment looking for my house keys. It’s such a relief! Whether it’s a closet or drawer, having a place for our stuff keeps our home mostly clutter free.
2.) Clean high impact areas
I consistently clean high impact areas in my home. For example, I vacuum my carpet daily. I live in an 800 square-foot apartment, so this chore takes less than 10 minutes. Vacuuming daily keeps the carpet clean, and it’s a great opportunity to declutter or tidy our stuff. I put away items like shoes, journals, and cat toys. These items are useful, and they can clutter our space quickly.
3.) Put clothes in the laundry bin
In my early 20s, I left my dirty clothes in a pile beside my bed. These days, I put my dirty clothes in the laundry bin. This is a simple task that keeps the space by my bed clutter free. Also, I do laundry 3 to 4 times a week because I have a tiny washing machine. This frees up time on the weekends. Instead of spending Saturday doing 5 loads of laundry, I have time to rest and hang out with friends.
4.) Make the bed
“Few things match the pure pleasure of climbing into a smoothly made bed with a lightly plumped pillow after a hectic day,” says Michelle Ullman. I agree with Ullman! My husband and I make our bed together daily, and I love this ritual. Plus, making our bed together only takes a few minutes.
5.) Do the dishes
Washing the dishes isn’t my favorite chore. However, I try to wash my dishes after each meal by rinsing them and loading the dishwasher a little at a time. A clean sink makes the kitchen look and smell better. As an aside, my husband and I have an agreement that whoever cooks doesn’t have to wash the dishes. This has been a nice way to divide up household chores.
6.) Take the trash out
Recently, we bought a tiny trash can for our kitchen. Our old trash bin didn’t fit in the cabinet under our sink. I love our new bin because it saves space. Since the bin is small, we take the trash out at least once a day.
7.) Do a 10-minute decluttering project
Courtney Carver said, “10-minute decluttering projects are small enough that you can finish them quickly. That feeling of accomplishment will make you excited to move on to the next 10-minute decluttering project. This approach will also help you overcome procrastination.” If you want to add some quick projects to your decluttering routine, try these tiny tasks or these 10-minute decluttering projects.
Taking small steps each day gives me a sense of purpose and accomplishment. For instance, before I start work in the morning, I set my timer for 10-minutes and declutter my kitchen counter. I love coming home to a clean counter. Decluttering in short bursts is a gift to my future self, and that delights me!
8.) Ask for help
If you have a roommate, partner, or kids, ask them to help you with decluttering projects. Working as a team will save time, and you’ll be able to check items off your decluttering list. For example, I’ve been helping my husband clean out his closet. Cleaning the closet in short bursts is a fun activity we can do together.
Brainstorm how you can create a daily decluttering routine. Write about your ideas in a journal. As you write, consider the systems you can change based on your needs and habits. As author and counselor KC Davis said, “What I talk to my clients about a lot is systems … Figuring out why things are where they are, why clutter is building up where it is, and then changing the design or the organization around how people are actually using their home.”
The changes you make can be simple. For example, creating a “key home” streamlined my daily routine. Another game changer: buying more reading glasses. I have a specific home for each set of glasses. Simple changes like these have made my daily decluttering routine less stressful and more joyful. Remember, there is no “right way” to declutter daily. Keep experimenting and have fun sprucing up your home!
Resources for your decluttering routine
Looking for more decluttering resources? Here’s a list to get you started:
- Read “Easy Decluttering: 5 Ways To Be Clutter-Free” by Courtney Carver. The article features a round-up of decluttering articles and ideas.
- Do you have questions about Project 333 and laundry? Listen to “The Official Laundry Guide.”
- KC Davis is a licensed professional counselor and the author of the book – How to Keep House While Drowning. This book is on my “to-read” list.
- Watch Davis’s TED Talk – “How to do laundry when you’re depressed.”