The philosopher Will Durant* said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” I would argue the same could be said about an organized home. It’s not enough to do a one-time big clean and declutter. If your daily habits allow stuff to collect, your house will be disorganized. Here are five ways to cultivate organization in your daily life; practicing just one or two of these regularly will make a big difference in the state of your home.
1. Put things back – Assigning everything a home is an important first step in getting organized. The second step is actually returning things to their homes when you’re finished with them. This habit only takes a few extra seconds; isn’t it worth that little bit of effort to make a more tidy living space?
2. Touch things once – When you come home do you do you toss your coat on the bench in your entryway instead of hanging it in the closet? Does the mail get set on the counter instead of being sorted and recycled? Avoid making an extra step for yourself and try to only touch things once to get them processed or put away immediately.
3. No empty hands – This is a new habit I’ve been working on, and I find it’s really helping me keep a tidier home. As you move from room to room always grab something that belongs elsewhere and drop it off on your way. It’s surprisingly easy to accomplish and will quickly become automatic.
4. Quick pick up – Spend just five minutes a day making a quick sweep of your home to put away the items that have been left out. You can make this part of your nightly routine or do it anytime you have a free moment. Instead of fast-forwarding through commercials during your favorite show, try using those breaks to tidy up your space!
5. Keep up on regular tasks – Lots of tasks at home need to be done over and over: dishes, laundry, sorting mail. The temptation after a long day of work is to put them off until tomorrow, but doing so means you will just have twice as much to address the next day. Keep up on those regular tasks so that they don’t become big, unmanageable jobs that take up half a Saturday to complete.
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