Hopefully you are up to speed on the previous 10 clutter control rules, and are almost done decluttering your home! Rules 11-13 are here and ready for you to finish up in time for the holidays. We hope you’ve enjoyed decluttering with us…but if it hasn’t been a breeze for you, we know you’ll really enjoy your home once you’re finished!
Don’t do things “later.”
Here is a partial list of things NOT to do later:
- If you brought stuff into a room, take it back out the very next time you leave that room (after you’re done with it, of course).
- Take things upstairs if you are going there anyway.
- Take things downstairs if you are going there anyway.
- Take everything out of the car that was added this trip.
- Pick up things when they drop.
- Wipe up spills when they happen.
- Vacuum up messes when they occur.
- Wash dirty dishes and wipe off the counters before the food dries on them.
- Fold the clothes when they emerge from the dryer.
- Iron clothes while they’re still slightly damp.
A lot of the clutter in your home will disappear if you follow this rule. It’s not much more than leaving a room the way you found it. This rule solves clutter problems without adding one second of time or one ounce of work to anyone’s overwhelmed schedule.
We’re not talking about putting a label on the kids’ gym shorts, although that’s a prudent idea. We’re talking about labeling things around the house – things that people don’t label because they don’t think of it or because they think it wasn’t necessary. Here are some things you should be labeling:
Storage boxes: Label all storage boxes to avoid spending 45 minutes going through six cardboard boxes looking for the item you want. Avoid the label “Miscellaneous.” Even if you end up listing every item in the box, do so is still simpler than looking through your entire collection of boxes.
Frozen food: Everything starts to looks alike after a few days in the freezer. Put a roll of masking tape and a pen in a drawer next to the freezer, and label everything you freeze. Don’t forget to add the date to the label.
Label cupboards sometimes: Labels on the inside of cupboard doors can help keep your cupboards from disintegrating into chaos about as fast as you can get them organized.
Call in a professional.
A whole new profession has arisen of saintly people who make their living solving other people’s clutter and organizational problems. They will come into your home and – working either with you or by themselves – will clean out the closets, install the necessary organizers, set up a filing system for you, and generally encourage the calm you’ve longed for to emerge from the chaos that’s been driving you crazy. There’s a catch to this rule, hoowver: We insist that you use it only if you promise to follow all the other rules once the professional has come and gone. He or she will leave, and the clutter will return almost immediately unless you modify your behavior. Implementing this rule does not reduce the number of rules to just this one, in other words.