One Simple Tip to Reduce Clutter

“The weather is going to be just as snowy tomorrow, so I’ll just leave my winter boots in the foyer.”

“I’ll leave my makeup out on the bathroom counter; I’m going to be using it again tomorrow anyways!”

“I might head back out later today. No need to put my coat away in the closet; I’ll just leave it over the dining room chair.”

These are all real-life examples of thoughts I’ve had this week. These thoughts are made with good intentions and meant to be time savers. I’m sure there are many others that you could think of too. Daily-use items, like coats, boots, makeup, bags, and favorite foods could easily save us a few minutes if they were left out in easy reach.

I had a busy week. I got a handful of last-minute substitute teaching jobs, the weather was bad so my car had to be scraped off every morning, and some afternoons I was so exhausted that I left chores undone. So my boots made puddles in the foyer, my makeup stayed on the counter, and my coat stayed in the dining room. By the end of the week, I was picking up my things all over the place and spending a good deal of time returning them to their homes.

There are very good reasons to keep daily-use items in easy reach, but the reality is that items out of place, even useful items, are still clutter. And I can’t tell you the number of times when, even when I leave yesterday’s items out, I reach for something different the next day. Double the clutter! So my one simple tip for reducing clutter is this: live for today.

Living for today means you’re not thinking about what to leave out for tomorrow; you’ll decide what you need when the day is fresh the next morning. Living for today means ending it gracefully by putting away what you used. There are fewer loose ends, less frustration in the morning when you can’t remember where you left your things, and a calmer environment.

It’s helpful to save time where you can, especially for small matters. However, it might be time to judge the scales and ponder if that time-saving is taking peace from your space. This week, I challenge you to pick five items and use them one day at a time, putting them away when you are finished using them. For me, mine will be:

  • My coat
  • My winter boots
  • My makeup
  • My coffee fixings
  • My office supplies, like my pens and post-it notes

What will you choose? Let me know in the comments if you try this little experiment, and how it made you feel at the end of the week.

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