I have good news and bad news. The bad news first: Maintaining an organized home is an ongoing process that requires consistency and effort. It’s not a one and done thing. While decluttering and organizing your space is an essential first step, the real challenge lies in keeping it that way.
The good news: Your systems are designed to make maintenance EASY once they are set up! And establishing daily and weekly routines can help you maintain order and prevent the clutter from creeping back into your life.
Below are seven tips to help you sustain your systems:
Start Fresh Each Day
One of the simplest and most effective habits for maintaining an organized home is to start your day with a quick tidy-up session. Spend just a few minutes decluttering surfaces like countertops and tables. Empty the dishwasher and make your bed. This small effort can set a positive tone for the day and lets you come home to a clutter-free space!
Implement a Nightly Routine
Before going to bed, do the same thing. Tidy up common areas of your home, ensure dishes are washed or loaded into the dishwasher, and put away any items that have been left out during the day. (Or at least make sure they make it to the catch-all basket!)
Practice the “One-In, One-Out” Rule
To prevent your home from becoming cluttered with new items, implement the “one-in, one-out” rule. This means that for every new item you bring into your home, whether it’s a new shirt, kitchen gadget, or decoration, you should let go of one similar item. This rule ensures that your possessions stay in check and discourages impulsive purchases. It will also help maintain your systems if you aren’t constantly having to find homes for new things.
Keep a donation box or bin in a common area, so you always have somewhere to put your “one out” items.
Weekly Decluttering Sessions
Set aside time each week (put it on your calendar) for a more thorough decluttering session. Choose a specific area of your home to focus on, such as a closet, a drawer, or a room. Evaluate the items in that space and decide what to keep, donate, or toss. If you have a “catch-all” basket in the living room or at the bottom of the stairs, this is a good time to empty it. Maybe add this task to your Sunday reset.
Meal Planning and Grocery Shopping
A well-organized kitchen makes busy weeknights a lot less hectic. Plan your meals for the week and create a shopping list on Sundays to restock essentials. When you get home from the store, set up an assembly line to wash and prep fruits and veggies for meals and snacks all week. Prep any other ingredients that will stay fresh ahead of time, too.
DAILY + WEEKLY
Paper clutter is a common issue for many households. Implement a daily system to quickly organize incoming mail, bills, and documents. Add action items to a tray or file and recycle anything you don’t need to keep. Then, during your weekend reset, take care of any to-do items and sort, file, and/or digitize important papers.
TWICE A YEAR
As seasons change, so do your storage needs and the items you use frequently. The first day of spring and the first day of fall are great times to schedule closet clean-outs (don’t forget the one near your front door!). If you’re working with smaller storage spaces, rotate seasonal items in and out to keep your spaces clutter-free and functional.
Don’t forget the garage, your drop zone, and your car. You need different tools in the summer than you do in the winter. Keep those “prime real estate” spots near the door (or in your trunk organizer) stocked with seasonal items.
Get the Whole Family Involved
Maintaining an organized home is a team effort. You do not need to do this all yourself. Encourage your family members to participate in daily and weekly routines. Kids are great at unloading the dishwasher each morning (mine do this!) and at putting away items in the catch-all basket. Assign age-appropriate tasks to each kiddo and incorporate them into morning or after-school routines.
Remember that maintaining an organized home is an ongoing journey, and it’s okay to have lapses. I don’t do all of the above in my own home all of the time. Ideally it’s best to develop and stick to these routines consistently. Set task reminders on your calendar so you get notifications sent right to your phone. Over time, these tasks will become habits. But, also give yourself some grace when life gets busy and you have to skip some resets. Do what you can with the time and energy you have. And if you get overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Those busy seasons don’t last forever and maybe you just need a helping hand for a “season” or two.
If you need a jump start on setting up systems or an accountability partner to keep them functioning well, consider our Maintenance Plan. Previous clients of ours can sign up for maintenance sessions at a discounted rate; and for new clients our membership plan is a way to get your entire home organized or refreshed over the course of a year, spreading out the investment.
Maintenance sessions can be scheduled at any time; reach out to us at email@example.com to get on the calendar. Membership will reopen at the end of November; get on the waitlist today to ensure you are the first to know when sign-ups begin.
Each of my career choices-wedding coordinator, event planner, and teacher — gave me the creative freedom to organize everyone and everything. I have always thrived on to-do lists, planners, and systems! Now, I lead a team of organizers to help me on my mission. Read more…