Keeping your home tidy can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. The secret to a neat home is to develop habits that prevent it from becoming a mess in the first place. Whether it’s keeping your bedroom or bathroom clean and decluttered or having a Pinterest-worthy pantry, here are seven habits that will keep your home tidy all year round. Even if you can’t commit to all of these, try at least one or two. You’ll be surprised how much tidier your home will become.
Declutter as You Go
Is the thought of a major decluttering project every season too intense? Instead of dreading doing a big whole-house declutter every season—simply declutter regularly. You can schedule according to what makes sense for you. Do your garage on the first rainy day of every month. Spend fifteen minutes going through your pantry every third Saturday. When your bathroom cabinets start to look a little messy, spend ten minutes getting rid of old and expired products. Or simply commit to decluttering as shelves and drawers start to fill up.
Spend 10 Minutes Tidying Every Day
Life can get busy, but we all have ten minutes a day to tackle messes. Set a timer on your phone and pick an area that needs the most attention. No matter what space you choose, things can stay neat if you devote just a little bit of time every day.
Edit Your Closet Seasonally
Commit to editing your closet quarterly. Try to get rid of things that no longer fit, are worn out, or you simply will never wear again (like those trendy jeans you bought 10 years ago). This can also save you money, because by taking inventory, you won’t end up buying yet another white button-down shirt.
Gather Items You Reach for Often
“Lounging on the couch? Gather your craft project, nail file, charger, and fave snack. Tidy them up in a cute basket for quick grabs and zero chaos,” says Amy Cha, professional organizer and founder of Everyday Organized. When the must-haves you reach for every single day are all in one spot, they will never go missing and you’ll save time on searching.
Manage Your Mail
Do you have piles of mail everywhere? Hate looking at those stacks of paper? Cha recommends setting time aside to open mail only when you’re truly ready to go through each item. “Sort and open just a couple days weekly. No more home-hogging piles or missed to-dos.”
Get a Handle on Those Reusable Bags
Do you have so many reusable bags you could open up a store? Start by limiting your stash to ten. “Carry reusable bags in your wheels to curb the bag barrage inside your home. Five’s the charm per car,” Cha says.
Limit Seasonal Decor
Do you have boxes of Christmas, Halloween, and Easter decor? This can make your closet or garage a mess. Cha suggests capping your decor to one bin per season (exceptions for your favorite festivity). “Sort by season, not holiday. Transition from Halloween to Thanksgiving with ease by keeping the current season’s bin open and accessible while stowing the rest in deep storage.”
Refuse Things You Don’t Want
We all get things we don’t want sometimes. Whether it’s from that friend who brings over a stack of books, free reusable bags, gifts with purchase, and other things we never asked for—if you don’t want it in your house, don’t take it in the first place.