One of the best secrets for a house that stays clean, organized and clutter-free is to maintain clutter free surfaces. It’s an easy concept, but it might take a little bit more intentionality than you expect.
CLUTTER ATTRACTS CLUTTER
Have you ever heard the phrase “clutter attracts clutter”? It’s true. When we have decor or intentional clutter it can start to attract more unintentional clutter.
Maybe you keep decorative jaws on the kitchen counter. As you go about your day it’s easy for other items – utensils, pens, mail, etc to get mixed in with those decorative jars. The problem is, we don’t always notice those little pieces of clutter until they add up!
PUT IT AWAY
The best way to avoid “clutter attracting clutter” is to put everything away for a matter of time.
I know, you think you need your toaster on the counter. Or you can’t imagine your kitchen table without a runner & vase of flowers.
But for one month, put everything away. Your kettle, toaster, microwave. Even if you think you use it every single day, clear off all of your surfaces.
At first it will feel bare and empty. But eventually you might come to like the empty space.
After the month, reevaluate. Do you still miss those decor items? Was it actually that difficult to take the toaster out of the cupboard every day?
Use that new knowledge to decide what items you actually want to keep on your surfaces.
GIVE EVERYTHING A HOME
I don’t think I’ve written a single decluttering post without mentioning this concept. Everything in your home needs a home.
For those of us who do this, it seems obvious! But if you just tend to throw items wherever you feel like in the moment, or if you can never remember where you put things, you likely need to focus on this.
Give every item a specific home. Imagine if you were at work on the phone with your babysitter. Could you tell her exactly where to find any given item? Make that your goal!
If your kids always come home from school and drop everything on the kitchen table, they’re likely not going to change that habit just because you ask them to. Instead, they’ll need somewhere NEW to drop their backpacks. Designate a space for their backpacks to go when they get home from school. Whether that means adding a few hooks by the front door, creating a space in their bedroom or adding a basket somewhere. Create a new system so they know where their backpack SHOULD go.
This can apply to any area that tends to attract clutter. It might not be enough to just say “No more clutter on the kitchen island”, instead you’ll have to create systems for the itms that frequently find themselves there.
I’m a huge advocate for a 10 minute tidy at the end of every day. I get it – some days you REALLY don’t feel like it. But set a timer and speed clean for 10-15 minutes. It truly makes all the difference!
COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR FAMILY
If you’ve decided to embrace clutter free surfaces in your home you need to communicate that goal with your family! It’s not fair to anyone if you keep getting frustrated when your kids put their school work on the kitchen island even though you haven’t explained to them what you’d like them to do instead!
Don’t assume that your family members can read your mind and know what your goals are.
Explain to them why this new goal is important to you, and how you’ll be making changes to achieve it.
AREAS THAT ATTRACT CLUTTER
Basically any piece of furniture or any surface in your home is a potential magnet for clutter! Here are some specific areas to be conscious of!
This is a clutter hot spot for many of us! My kitchen table is right in the middle of everything. It’s where I’ll sit to work, where we drop the mail, and about 100 other things. Keeping it clutter free helps keep my entire home under control.
KITCHEN COUNTER / ISLAND
Having clutter free surfaces in the kitchen is one of the BEST ways to maintain a clean & tidy home. If you, like me, spend hours in your kitchen cooking every day it’s crucial that you have as much counter space as possible!
PIANOS / MISC FURNITURE
Honestly, these might be the worst. Surfaces that you don’t NEED to use daily (like the kitchen table or counter) are the most likely to collect clutter. It’s understandable to want to decorate these spaces, but just be aware how quickly clutter can accumulate!
TOP OF THE FRIDGE
The top of the fridge is such a tempting place to drop items that don’t have a home. Unless you’re 6’6, those items become out of sight, out of mind. Try to implement a no clutter zone on top of the fridge!
It can often be tempting to use items in the bathroom and then just place them on the countertop. But clutter attracts clutter and before you know it all of your personal care items are sprawled out across the bathroom counter. Maintaining clutter free surfaces in the bathroom is much more sanitary and tidy!