One of the worst things about cleaning up is knowing that it isn't going to stay that way. It can be really frustrating to spend hour after hour "cleaning". I say "cleaning" because you aren't really making anything better if you are just shoving all of your belongings into the closet to help entertain house guests. In fact, this can just make things worse.
So what if you could have your home looking organized, clean, and pristine- for good? What if this last time was the final time you had to do this? This is possible, if you dedicate some time to changing bad habits and learning to declutter your whole house.
First, let's talk about what clutter is. Obviously there is the dictionary definition, but in the context of this article, I am going to take the word to mean anything in your home that is junk, unimportant, or doesn't have a home. Take a look around you. Heck, just turn your head up and down your computer desk. You probably were able to find a lot of items that fit that description. Don't feel bad, I was once far worse off, and if you really want to rationalize that it isn't too bad, go watch an episode of Hoarders. It's possible to come back from this mess. Here's how.
The most overwhelming part of most tasks is just starting at all. This is also true with decluttering. So try out this technique. Pick out 10 items around you right now, and either throw them out or create a brand new home for them where they will always stay.
This doesn't have to be anything drastic. It could be as simple as an old receipt and pair of broken headphones you chuck in the garbage, a book you put back on the shelf, some old socks that get thrown in the hamper, etc. After you do your 10 items, you're done.
Get in the habit of doing this Pick 10 thing often. Maybe it's every hour, on the hour, you quick do it. Maybe it's every time a commercial comes on TV you do another 10. After all, it doesn't take very long at all to do this. Once you do this for a while you will want to do more items because you realize how easy it is.
Evening Clean Up
Where do you spend time at night before bed? For me, it's at the computer desk. For you, it might be in the living room with your feet kicked up. Or lying in bed reading next to a light. Regardless, these areas of the house (computer desk, coffee table, nightstand, etc.) are likely to be problem areas.
What this means is you spend so much time there that they are constantly getting new clutter, new random little things that just sort of end up there. Maybe it's a bottle of water, some chap stick, a pack of gum, a book, a lighter, etc.
Since you spend so much time in these places of the houses, it's impossible to keep them spotless. So don't try. But get in the habit that before bed every night, no matter what, this area gets cleared off. Trash is thrown out, papers are put in their place, and before you go to bed the only object left sitting on that coffee table is the remote.
I read this tip on a blog recently, and am really excited about trying it out. Like the "Clean Backwards" tip you will read about below, it gets you to consider what of your possessions is really important.
What you do is simple. Start picking up objects around the house. Ask yourself when the last time you used it was. If it was not within the last year, either sell the object, or throw it away. If it's something that isn't used often, you make up an expiration date for one year away.
Should you use the item within the year, the expiration date goes away. But if you pick up an object unused after it's expiration date, then it also is either sold or thrown away.
I've noticed a lot of people have this habit when they are cleaning up. They will clear everything up, let's say at a desk. They wipe down or dust the desk, and then put most of the objects back on. What was good in that? You're just going to have to waste your time again!
Take that same desk and start over again. What you want to do is clear off everything. Now there's nothing sitting on that desk but a monitor and your lucky pen. Put everything else away. Seriously. Find a new home for everything.
Now that everything else has a new home, you want to avoid bringing it out. Obviously if you need to look at an old paper or it's absolutely urgent that you staple a few papers together, you get those belongings out. The idea though is that you only take something out when it needs to be used, and it's put away when the task is done.
What is good about this technique is that you find out what you really need and use. It's easy to decide that you need everything when you are cleaning, and not really consider how infrequent your use of many items is. By following this tip, you get to learn just how few things you really need.
Sell Your Old Crap
Lastly, if you are still looking for encouragement to clean up and get yourself organized, how about the promise of money? It is easier than ever to sell your old items online, and there are tons of guides out there for maximizing the amount of money you get. Everyone is into selling online these days, and it isn't hard to get your items noticed.
If you have never tried this before, now is the time. You manage to further declutter your home, you'll learn a lot of new things, and at the end of the day, it's like getting paid to implement the tips outlined here!