Now that summer is over (boo) and you’re getting into the busy routine of Fall, are you feeling overwhelmed by clutter and general disarray at home? Do you find yourself skipping the walk with Fido because you can’t find his leash? Are your mornings spent running around looking for lunchboxes and missing permission slips? If this sounds familiar, try these 10 simple tips to cut the clutter and calm the chaos.
- Employ a Household Calendar
Whether electronic, paper or white board, keeping a family calendar helps keep everyone in the loop and reduces entries in a work or personal calendar. Separate work and household calendars can work together nicely with blocked out time on the work calendar and details on the household calendar. Outlook and Google have good options for shared calendars. Cozi is a great app to manage the household schedule and to-dos. Cozi.com
- Create a Chore Box
Color coded index cards in a index card file work great with the colors representing how long a certain chore should take. For instance:
Yellow cards = 15 minute jobs- spray and wipe down bathroom mirrors and counters.
Blue cards=30 Minute Jobs-sweep or blow leaves off of sidewalk and walkways.
Purple cards+ Big jobs (2hours+)- organize the shed
Household members may be required to grab a yellow card each day and a blue card or purple card on the weekend. Move the cards to the back of the colored stack when a job is done and have the do-er initial and date the card. This way fairness can be evaluated every so often.
- Assign Each Household Member Their Own Put Away Bin
Give each household member a small bin or box with their name on it near the main living area. Put anything in it that needs to be taken to their rooms or put away elsewhere. Designate a certain time each day, perhaps before screen time, as “put away time” where everyone empties their baskets. Maybe there’s a small reward for the person with the least amount of items in their basket.
- Create a Donation Box
Keep a donation box or bag in a convenient location and as you see things around the house that are no longer useful or loved, drop them in the bag. When the bag is full, drop it off at a donation site.
- Designate a Going Out Box
Use this for items that need to go out when you’re doing errands—library books, borrowed items, movies to return.
- Categorize Your To Do List
Separate your To Do list items into the following categories and focus on one category at a time.
- At Computer
- At Home
- Set up a simple Action File System for household papers
Create 3 files with the following labels and keep in a vertical file holder where your papers tend to pile up. Sort mail and incoming papers into the appropriate files. Most times you don’t even have to open thigs to know which category they fit into. Schedule time in your calendar every other day or several times a week to manage your Action Files.
- To Do
- To Read/Decide
- To File
- Get in the habit of doing a 10 Minute Tidy Up each evening
Do a quick sweep of the main living areas each evening, placing items in each person’s Put Away bin, things to be returned in the Going Out Bin and papers into the Action Files. Add items to the calendar and To Do List that are associated with the Going Out Bin or the Acton File papers.
- Make a Tolerations List
Walk through your house with a clipboard or notebook and make a list of the annoying little things that you tolerate around your home that are bugging you or impeding efficiency. Lightbulb out in the hall closet, broken gate latch, shortage of to go coffee cups, mismatched Tupperware.
See how many tolerations you can check off the list in a week. You’ll be amazed at how easy and quick most of the items are but how relieved you’ll be when you’re not tolerating them anymore.
- Beautify Your Most Common Clutter Collection Zone
If your dining room table is a dumping ground for backpacks, mail, etc, try setting the table. If your coffee table gets stacked with newspapers and catalogs, try adding a beautiful centerpiece. Most people will be less likely to drop their things on top of something beautiful.
There are about 10 weeks between now and Christmas. If you’re SUPER motivated, you can tackle all of these items right away and finesse them between now and Christmas or you can tackle and perfect one per week from now until Christmas. What a great holiday gift to yourself and your family to have your household under control and running smoothly.