Habits, the things we do repeatedly each day, form the goals we achieve and create the life we have. If you aren’t achieving your goals or if you aren’t living the life you want, you need to change your habits and the systems you’ve put into place.
If you’re like most people, you have a deep desire to be more organized. You know the benefits of a clutter-free, organized home, so what’s getting in the way?
Old habits. Let’s take a look at six habits that are getting in the way of your success. Rather than try to change all at once, focus on one a week. It can take about 60 days for something to become automatic, so don’t expect perfection overnight. Small improvements lead to lasting change.
- Tossing keys on the kitchen counter
- As soon as you get home, it can be tempting to toss the keys on the kitchen counter. Although keychains are fairly small, they can add to the counter clutter. Good news––this easy-to-form habit is one of the easiest to break. Do this instead:Designate a home for your keys. This could be as simple as a decorative dish on the counter, wall hooks by the door, or in a drawer organizer within a drawer. If you’re someone who comes and goes frequently throughout the day, you have lots of opportunities to practice!
- Leaving items in their bulk packaging
- As we unpack the groceries, it’s easy to toss big boxes of chips or containers of soda into our pantry. Leaving the potatoes bagged and all of the fruit in plastic containers is the easy way out. However, this can end up causing us problems in the near future––food can spoil more quickly, and it can be hard to see what we have on hand. This increases the likelihood of buying duplicates. Do this instead: If you’ve purchased items in bulk (kid snacks, beverages, family-sized packs, paper products), remove the extra packaging and place in bins or baskets. Your kids can easily see what you have on hand and can get their snacks independently. Wash and store fruit and veggies in sealed containers which keeps your food fresher longer and promotes healthy snacking.
- “Organizing mail” by dropping it in a pile to deal with later
- Similar to the “tossing keys” habit, mail can quickly add to the counter clutter we all despise. We do this because we don’t have a system. We know that we’re going to need to take action when we go through the mail (pay bill, RSVP, shred, etc.) and most of us don’t want to deal with it at that time, hence the pile.Do this instead: Create a mail system, so you can quickly sort mail as soon as it comes into the home: recycle, shred, or deal with later. Designate one day a week to take care of the “deal with later” pile. Check out my Complete Paper System which walks you through how to set up your system and say goodbye to paper clutter once and for all!
- Bringing home more than you have room for
- When we see something we like or we see a good deal, it can be tempting to add the item to our cart. Whether it’s groceries, furniture, or clothing, more is not always best.Do this instead: Before you make purchases, consider your space. Ask yourself if you have the room. I like to think of things I buy as “problems to solve,” and not all problems are bad! Just know that you’re going to have to find a home for that item and if you don’t have the space, you’re going to have to address that issue. You’re either going to need to clear space or know that something is going to add to the clutter. It’s up to you.
- Leaving clean clothes on the floor
- Sometimes we change our minds about our outfit for the day or we wear something for a short while and can’t justify throwing in the laundry. Instead of putting these items back, we leave them in a pile on the floor. When this happens, our clothing gets wrinkled and we can’t remember if it’s dirty or clean, so we end up having to do the exact thing we wanted to avoid in the first place––more laundry. Do this instead: Immediately rehang or refold the article of clothing. This extra 10-15 seconds will save future-you significantly more time. If the idea of hanging half dirty clothing back in your closet weirds you out (I get it), designate an area of your closet for these clothes. Use hangers of a different color or use a divider that marks this area of your closet.
- Saying yes to free items you don’t need
- We love free stuff! When we get something for virtually nothing, it just feels better. It feels like we’re getting a reward. However, most of the stuff we get for free we don’t actually need, and these free items end up taking up precious space in our home.Do this instead:Say, “No thank you.” Simple, I know, but it really does take practice. Sometimes we feel bad for saying no to the lovely lady handing out free totes at the Farmers’ Market. Remember, you’re setting a boundary for what’s coming into your home. Remind yourself that you don’t need that free mug or pen because you have others at home that you love.