A Decluttering Tip that Works Every Time

If you want to declutter quickly, you need to pay attention to this tip. So here it is: As you move about your home, take one thing and put it in its proper place.

Clutter develops when we don’t put things away or dispose of them properly. We put off making any decision about stuff until it’s too late and the house is a mess and we can’t even find the stuff we need. We need help before it’s too late!

The trick to decluttering is to make it a habit. When we move from the living room to the kitchen, we should just grab one thing and put it away or toss it out. If the item belongs in the kitchen, it takes less than a minute to put it in the proper place. If it goes elsewhere, it may take an additional minute or two to put it away in the proper place.

For real junk the proper place is in the garbage or recycling bin. For stuff that is in pretty good condition, we can keep a box in the back closet for items to give to local shelters and charities. Stuff we use belongs in a specific place that should be clear to everyone in the family.

Whether you are cooking or doing laundry, putting things away as you work makes the job easier. Most of us hate to face a pile of dirty pots and pans after a family dinner. As you prepare the meal take a minute or two to rinse off your bowls and utensils and put them in the dishwasher. If you don’t have a dishwasher, just soak the stuff in hot soapy water or get one of the kids to help you.

Coping with laundry is where the take on thing system really shines. Try to get everyone in the household accustomed to moving dirty clothes and towels to the laundry basket. Even little kids can understand and get excited about the “take one thing” approach.

Using a timer can help you handle laundry more efficiently. When you start the washer, set the timer so you will remember to move things to the dryer instead of letting sit in the washing machine for hours or even days.

You can go beyond just dealing with one thing. For example, you can use a timer to challenge your kids: how much clutter can they deal with in a 5 or 10 minute period.

If you have a home office, the take one thing approach will help there too.

Keep in mind that the basis of the system is not that you focus on just one thing at a time, but that you make quick decisions about how to deal with any item that is out of place in your home.

The take one thing system is primarily a maintenance system. If you your home resembles a hoarder’s hovel like you see on reality television, then you need professional help. But a normal amount of clutter can be easily dealt with by just picking up one thing as you move from room to room and putting it in its proper place.

That’s it. If you are looking for a fancier or more complicated solution to household clutter, you will have to look elsewhere. Just start putting one thing away and you are on the right path.

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