The problem that most people have with decluttering their homes is keeping it that way. Make sure that you have a plan in place to keep clutter away…for good! You don’t want all of your hard work decluttering your home to be for nothing. There’s nothing worse than putting in the hard work to make a change only to have everything revert back to its original state.
You know that decluttering was absolutely necessary to get your time, space, money, and sanity back. Don’t let yourself go back to the place of insanity again! I know that you want to make the most of your life, so let’s create a maintenance plan that will allow you to put your priorities first for the rest of your life.
I decluttered, now what?!
So you’ve decluttered your home. Now you might be wondering, “how do I keep it this way?”
After all, there’s a reason that your home got cluttered in the first place. Most of us have a number of bad habits that created our cluttered homes. To keep clutter away…for good, you need to have a maintenance plan that includes changing those bad habits.
Without a maintenance plan, you will go right back into your old habits. Maybe you came up with excuses for why you needed so much. Maybe you had a hard time saying no to second-hand gifts from others. Or, maybe you have a problem with mindless shopping.
These problems don’t just go away after you declutter. You have to deal with the problem, or problems, that made your house cluttered with too much stuff in the first place.
How can I keep clutter away?
In order to keep clutter away for good, you have to focus on your new “less is more” mindset and the vision you have for your future. You need to deal with your bad habits that led to the clutter in the first place. You have to learn how to be more intentional. And, you need to edit your home regularly.
1. Focus on Your Vision
The first way to keep clutter away is to focus on your mindset, or vision.
Since you decluttered your home, you’ve probably already changed your mindset to “less is more”. That’s great! But, how are you going to keep your mindset from shifting back? In order to keep your mindset where you want it to be, find ways to remind yourself of your new priorities.
You could hang a quote on the wall or your bathroom mirror. You could plan to read a book or two this year that will help you with your minimalist mindset. Or, maybe you need to ask someone to hold you accountable who also has this mindset. Support from others can be a big help!
Another way to keep your mindset in check is remind yourself of your vision for the future. What do you want out of life? What is the real reason you decluttered? Don’t forget what motivated you to declutter in the first place.
2. Replace Your Bad Habits with Good Ones
The second way to keep clutter away is to replace your bad habits with good habits.
As I mentioned earlier, it is absolutely essential that we realize what made our homes decluttered in the first place. Without this awareness, you will fall right back into the clutter cycle.
Once you know what caused the clutter, come up with a plan to combat it. Replace your bad habits with good ones. And, train your kids to have better habits as well!
If the problem was that you were trying to keep up with the Jones’ before, you will want to focus on changing your mindset more than anything else for now. Prioritize people and experiences over things. Practice gratitude and share your blessings with others.
If the issue was that you had a hard time saying no to second-hand gifts from others, start by communicating your new mindset and lifestyle with others. Be kind and non-judgmental. Simply share why you needed to declutter, and why it is important to you to keep it that way.
If the problem was your shopping habits, decide what needs to change. Do you need to go shopping less often? Can you always go shopping with a list? If you love shopping as a hobby, can you learn to love window-shopping without having to buy?
Or, maybe you can find another similar hobby to replace it with such as checking out farmers’ markets where the products are consumable.
3. Learn to Be More Intentional
The third way to keep clutter away is to learn to be more intentional.
Being intentional is about being proactive. It’s about choosing ahead of time what you will allow into your home, how much you will allow into your home, and how you will handle items entering your home.
Don’t let things take control of your life again. Instead, take control of what’s allowed into your home.
There are a number of strategies for being more intentional in this area:
First, you could commit to only buying consumable goods from here on out (unless something needs to be replaced).
Second, you could begin to communicate that you only want consumable or experience-based gifts.
Third, you could decide ahead of time that you will turn down second-hand items from people you know.
Fourth, you could focus on buying higher-quality items that last longer and serve multiple purposes.
Fifth, you could limit items to a certain number.
How you decide to be intentional from here on out is up to you and your wishes for your life!
4. Edit Your Home Regularly
The fourth and final way to keep clutter away is to edit your home on the regular.
Have you ever thought you knew what you wanted, but when you got it you realized you were wrong? You don’t know what you don’t know.
For this reason, you will have to keep editing your life and home. It’s a little bit of trial and error to figure out what fulfills you…and what doesn’t. And, it takes even longer to learn what kinds of things are holding us back in life.
You might be surprised to hear that this probably won’t be the last time you declutter. Oftentimes, we learn more about how much is enough as we continue to live with what we kept. Because of this, plan to regularly edit your home.
Consider what is working and what isn’t. Think about what is adding to your peace and joy, and what isn’t. When you reevaluate, you will know what needs to be decluttered again or when you need to tweak your maintenance plan.
A good way to keep editing your home is to have a “one in, one out” rule for certain items. This doesn’t work well for everything (like food or collections you love), but it works well for a lot of things.
Take your clothing for instance. You probably don’t need two black blazers. So, if you buy a new black blazer, the old one gets sold or donated.
Another way to prepare for constant editing is to keep a spot in your home for donations. It could be a spot in a closet, the garage, the basement, the entryway…wherever. Just make sure that wherever you decide to place donations, it’s not so tucked away that you will forget it’s there.
The Simplify My Life! Starter Kit
The Simplify My Life! Starter Kit will help you simplify your life so that you can live the life you’ve always wanted!
This starter kit will help you:
- find a clear vision for your life and home
- declutter your home so that only what you love is left
- maintain and organize your newly decluttered home
- simplify household chores such as cleaning and laundry
- create a meal plan that’s simple and sustainable
- declutter your schedule and get your time back
- establish an effective routine that lines up with your priorities
- learn to use your time more wisely so that you can begin living the life of your dreams!
Once you declutter any area of your home, you need to have a plan to maintain it. You can keep clutter away for good by having a maintenance plan that includes renewing your mindset, dealing with your old habits, shopping intentionally, and editing regularly.
Theresa Bedford is a syndicated freelance home and travel writer with regular contributions to the Associated Press wire and MSN. She helps everyday people love the life they have through simplicity, organization, and prioritization.