Your issue: Clutter. Maybe it’s kids toys or pet toys, maybe it’s piles of shoes by the front door. The clutter makes you appear messier than you are. It’s just that you’re so damn busy. You’re up early, home late. You’ve got to take care of your kids, decompress from your day, prepare dinner, clean the dishes, yadda yadda, yadda.
At the end of the day, the last thing you want to do with the little amount of time you have left (to yourself) is sit there and declutter. I get it. You want to get on Facebook, watch that show on your DVR, maybe just take a bath.
So, you delay the clean up. And you delay some more. And basic stuff becomes piles. Piles turn into clutter. And before you know it, your house is a mess. You decide to conquer the entire project in one day. That’s stupid. It’s the dumbest idea you can have, because you know you are going to burn out and give up. The trash bags and recycling and those clothes for the Salvation Army are just gonna have to sit there and wait to be taken out for another day.
The solution is easy: Declutter your home corner by corner. At the same time, prevent NEW clutter from forming, otherwise you’re just going in circles, never accomplishing shit.
Here are a few easy tips to stay on top of the clutter:
- Check your mail in the mail room. Don’t bring it home.
- Place junk mail immediately into recycling bins. Do one better by opening your mail in the mail room—toss the extra junk that come with your bills. This way, mail doesn’t slowly become piles. (If you live in a house, keep a recycling bin by your front door—deal with the mail first).
- Do your laundry once a week. If you don’t, you’ll end up with an overflowing laundry basket and you’ll be the dick in your building who hogs all four machines at once. Doing laundry once a week feels like a lot, but it’s way more work to do four loads of laundry once a month.
- Boxes are for things; we’re supposed to be minimalists. Minimalists don’t need organization because minimalist don’t have things. Nice fantasy, but if you have kids or pets or a partner with a sunglass obsession … Cat toys belong in one small cigar box (he smokes Montecristo No. 2’s). Once the box is full, Mr. Muffin isn’t allowed to have more toys.
- Clean as you go. The reason we get so overwhelmed with stuff is that we do not clean as we go. We let the mail pile up one day, cat toys the next, shoes, coats and bags and before you know it the place is a mess, which leads to ….
- A place for everything and everything in it’s place. I have a “no shoes indoors’ rule in my home. I have a little antique wood bench by the front door, so, the first thing I do when I enter is kick ‘em off and store them underneath. I also drop my backpack on the bench and head into the living room. On the side table, I have a small glass tray where I keep my phone, wallet, and keys. I have a place for everything. I’m never the guy who is ripping his apartment apart looking for my sunglasses. “A place for everything and everything in its place” sounds like a thing a 1940s housewife might say, but it’s really about living a more purposeful and relaxed life. Knowing where everything is, moves everything else a little easier.
Destroy the perpetual cycle of letting stuff pile up until you realize you cannot live like that. No one WANTS to be a slob, we’re just too used to this routine — until your mother says, “Clean up your room!” Now you’re 32. Say it to yourself. Follow these suggestions gradually. If you bite off more than you can chew and think you’ll be able to do all six of these at once, you’re cray.