Have a “catch-all” basket in each room of the house. If your home tends to have many different clutter hot spots, create a designated clutter catch-all basket where things can be thrown in throughout the day. Place these baskets wherever your main clutter hot spots are. At the end of the day when you’re tidying up your home, be sure to empty those baskets out. At the very least, do this once a week.
Create homes for the things you find in your catch-all baskets. If you find yourself leaving certain items in the basket because you’re not sure where to put them, it’s time to create homes for those items. If you have family members who don’t like putting things away and just like throwing things down somewhere (ahem, my husband), a good alternative is to keep baskets in cubbies where each family member has their own cubby and can throw whatever they want in there. Believe it or not, this has actually eliminated my husband spending 20 minutes looking for his keys and wallet!
Set up a temporary storage station in your home. If you find it difficult to say goodbye to certain items, a good way to make a final decision is by setting it in your temporary storage station. This can be a bin, a box, or a trash bag, just make sure it’s not see-through! Label it with a date exactly one year from the day you set it up. If by that date nothing has been taken out of the bin, take it to a donation center. Don’t open it! I guarantee if no one has opened that bin in one year’s time, they won’t even remember what’s leaving the house, let alone miss it.
Put things back. The best way to keep clutter at bay is by putting things back where they belong immediately after you’ve used them. I know it’s easy to say you’ll do it later but eventually, a ton of little things add up to one enormous project that you avoid as much as possible. So save yourself the time and headache and just get into the habit of putting things back.
Take your time. A lot of people find decluttering one of the most awful, overwhelming experiences of their lives. If you try getting it all done in a day, you’ll find yourself not wanting to get rid of anything. You’ll be so overwhelmed by all the decisions you have to make that it will seem impossible. Don’t stress yourself out over this and just take it 15-25 minutes at a time. If it helps, put on some happy music to make the whole process a little more enjoyable.