Hi my name is Vickie and I’m the messiest declutter coach you will ever meet.
WHAT? No way, is what most people say who know me on an acquaintance level but let me tell you my husband sometimes gets confused how I do what I do but can’t seem to put my dirty pants in the laundry basket! LOL, not a great sales spiel is it?!? But it is why I am so good at what I do. So why do I do what I do? What makes it ok for someone who is messy to come into your house and tell you how to get your shit together? Well I guess I can because I have been on both sides of the fence. And I can definitely tell you that the decluttered side is waaaaay greener.
WHY? Clutter creates more clutter. It helps encourage procrastination and doesn’t hold anyone accountable. Have you ever noticed that if a space is already messy, chucking another thing onto the pile is easier than chucking a pair of socks, lunch box or backpack onto an empty space? If the pile is already there what’s one more thing? You won’t even notice it, so let’s do it, again and again, until the pile is no longer a pile but its own zone. But having clean spaces you're held more accountable because the lunchbox on the hall table looks out of place, or the socks on the kitchen bench look gross! How does decluttering your home and calendar help to combat this constant procrastination?
I think messiness and procrastination go hand in hand. I’m messy because I’d rather just chuck my pants on the vanity then take them to the laundry. My kids are messy because they would rather chuck off their shoes than open the shoe bin in the garage. The “I’ll do it later” mindset, I’ll put my pants in the laundry when I put on the next load, or I’ll put my shoes away after my snack is the life blood for clutter.
How do I stop procrastinating in order to stop the clutter? I have come up with a lot of little tips and tricks to help myself and my kids tackle this “I’ll do it later” mindset to help reduce the clutter. Some of the below suggestions may or may not work in everyone’s home but they have in mine and a lot of clients. I hope they will help you!
Never put a lid on anything! I know it sounds silly, how hard is it to take off the lid, but for someone like me it's just another step! So no lids, kids can chuck their pants into the laundry basket, they can empty their lunch boxes easily into the bin, they can just chuck their shoes into the shoe bin without a second motion.
Put the items that are consistently being left at the other end of the house as close to the location they are being used. My daughter’s hairbrush lives in the kitchen, (don’t worry, not in the cutlery drawer!) It's where we use it every morning. So instead of her chucking it on the kitchen bench every morning to be put back in her bathroom at some later stage (or left there all week), she can easily chuck it back in the drawer she grabbed it out of. Putting items in the spot they are actually used even if it’s not pretty, can downsize the mess drastically.
The age old saying, find a place for it. By this I don’t mean scream at your family “just find somewhere to put it” I mean actually find a spot for every single item in your home. Batteries, third drawer down, phone chargers, dad’s top bedside drawer etc. Have you ever noticed that your cutlery sections are probably the neatest spaces in your home? You know why? Because everyone in the house knows where the knives, forks and spoons go. It’s quite rare for me to go to a client’s home to have knives and forks and spoons all mixed and unorganised in their cutlery trays. So use your cutlery drawer for inspiration and start finding (and labelling) the spaces.
Quick 10 minute tidy up. I know, I know “nobody got time for that” but by doing 10 mins of an evening or afternoon you will be so surprised at what can be accomplished. Set a timer, put two of your favourite songs on and go. The first few times I suggest you get your whole family in the one zone (depending on size and numbers) and gather everything in a laundry basket that doesn’t belong. Then you all work as a family to put it away, if it doesn’t have a spot find one as a family. Label it, and move on to the next item. Start with one song, one room, one pile. You will be amazed at how much you can get done. And after a while you can all grab a room each and sort the whole house in minutes.
Depending on where your clutter is, you can add extra laundry baskets to your children’s rooms, bathrooms. Or rubbish bins in the areas where rubbish seems to pile up. Look at each zone and figure out the main clutter and see if by putting a container in that space you can help at least contain the clutter so when it's time to tidy its’ grab and go.
Make your bed. I was never a bed maker. My bed always looked untidy, which made my room look untidy so the pants on the floor or the basket of washing on the end of the bed never looked out of place. I am lazy and making a grand pillow laden bed with blankets perfectly strewn over the end of my bed each morning ate into my precious sleeping time, so just skip it right? Wrong! Making your bed every morning before you leave the room gives you a sense of accomplishment and makes you feel set up for the day. My bed is made every morning in 3.5 seconds, how? I have the pillows we use to sleep with a bottom sheet and a duvet. I literally put the pillows up the top and shake the duvet til it covers the bed. DONE. No extra pillows, not a perfectly unperfected end blanket, just plain old, tidy made bed. Ewwww some will say, it should look pretty. Well let me tell you my functional made bed looks nicer than an unmade bed with pretty pillows and blankets on the floor next to it. Find your sweet spot and start.
Set up routines. Like my bed making, set up routines. My morning is, wake up, use the loo, walk back past my bed, make it, get dressed, go and make coffee. Now that I have that super simple routine setup it's hard to not make my bed every morning. My kids have a routine of coming home unpack their lunchboxes and they instantly repack them and pop them in the fridge. It's simple little routines like this that make life easier and reduce the chance for mess.
My last but maybe favourite one is wipes! Whether you use disposable or reusable wipes, keep them under all bathroom sinks. While you’re brushing your teeth or helping the kids brush their teeth you can easily and quickly run over the sink, mirror bath tub etc. and do a quick tidy. It’s such a simple thing to do, and no time is wasted at all. Are there other areas where you’re able to do one thing while you’re waiting for another? I unload parts of the dishwasher while I wait for my coffee, or wipe over the counter while waiting for the microwave. You would be surprised how quickly you can do things when you have a limit on your time.
Simple tricks to help the mind from thinking “I’ll do it later” will help you reduce the mess in your home and help the messy members to keep it that way! Got any of your own tips and tricks to help fellow messers? Please comment and share below!