Although keeping a clutter-free home is an ideal that many of us strive to have, in reality, it's more so a distant dream. Despite constant efforts to stick to a decluttering checklist, oftentimes, looking at an impending list of unticked boxes does more harm than good in helping us actually keep our homes tidy.
Maintaining a clutter-free home is not a simple 'one and done' (although we wish it were), but rather something that requires consistent effort and a commitment to a few key principles.
To help you streamline your path to keeping a tidy home, we've compiled 5 of the best easy-to-remember mantras and tips for a clutter-free home, as advised by professional organisers.
5 rules for a clutter-free home
1. One in, one out
Starting it off simply, the first rule to keeping a clutter-free home is for every new item that enters your home, another must leave. Donate it, give it away, or sell it.
Craig is a proud, verified member of APDO (Association of Professional Declutterers & Organisers) and the owner of the decluttering service, A Tidy Mind London, which aims to transform people's homes.
He has a calm and supportive approach to working with clients that allows them to deal with the mental clutter while sorting through the physical ones, too.
Better yet, Amanda Biggs, APDO's membership director and founder of decluttering service, Professionally Organised suggests 'one in, two out', to help you further prevent the accumulation of clutter.
2. Everything must have a home
'Create a 'planting plan' for where each type of item lives in your home,' advises psychotherapist and declutter expert, Helen Sanderson. When you have a place for everything, you no longer have to wonder where to put it each time, in turn, making tidying up an easier and more streamlined task.
After all, when something is easy to do, you're more inclined to want to actually do it.
Helen is the author of The Secret Life of Clutter, a psychotherapist, interior designer, and one of the UK's most well-respected clutter experts, providing the ultimate holistic decluttering service.
Helen helps people create beautifully organised, clutter-free homes and live more mindful and meaningful lives. She works with her clients holistically, both to uncover what their homes reveal whilst supporting them to let go and move on.
3. If it takes less than 5 minutes, do it now
Oftentimes, the source of our clutter is a result of procrastination and the infamous 'I'll do it later' mindset. Newsflash: you probably won't get to it later, and will just end up with a bigger task to tackle later down the line.
Helen explains that one of the biggest things that leads to clutter is not completing. 'Instead of leaving things undone and letting them build up, ask yourself 'What is the next action?' and then take it,' she advises.
Therefore, to combat this enemy of a clutter-free home, Ava Wilson, Unclutterer's chief editor, says, 'If a task takes less than 5 minutes, do it immediately.' This includes sorting mail, putting away the dishes, or hanging up clothes.
4. Keep flat surfaces clear
Keeping a clear and organised kitchen worktop, dining table, and floor clutter-free is yet another thing you'll thank yourself for having kept to.
Not only do clutter-free surfaces help you fake the look of a tidy home, but Craig assures that practising this will prevent you from feeling overwhelmed and save you time having to tidy up once it gets too bad.
5. Only handle it once
Lastly, try to 'only handle it once' – or OHIO – if you enjoy a fun acronym to keep your motivation spirits up. 'Every time you pick something up make sure you put it away and not just put it down somewhere else,' explains Amanda.
If you don't have a home for that item, you can whizz back to rule #2 and create one for it. Simples.
While there's a plethora of rules and mantras we could exhaust you with, sticking to these top 5 is more than enough to get you started on your journey to tidy living and consistently maintain the clutter-free home of your dreams.
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Jullia Joson is Ideal Home’s Junior Writer. She’s always loved all things homes and interiors, graduating with a bachelor's degree in Architectural Studies from the University of Nottingham in 2022. Previously, she was an Intern Editor for ArchDaily. Now focused on news stories, Jullia can be found down the TikTok and Pinterest rabbit hole scrolling through any new and upcoming trends, hacks, and home inspiration.
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