If you’ve been reading my blog or following me on social than you know I’m always purging and being organized. I definitely don’t consider myself a minimalist, but clutter drives me crazy. I’m 100% that person that can’t go to bed with a dirty kitchen.
I don’t strive for perfection, and I’m fully aware that not having children makes it much easier for me clean and stay organized than if I did have kiddos. But I am a busy person with a never ending to-do list, so being able to quickly and efficiently do things to keep my space looking nice is key to keeping me feeling calm as I run through my busy days.
I’m confident that there are small things that anyone can do to easily keep, up and keep their home tidy and organized. When you let things pile up the tasks often seem daunting. However when we make new habits that fit into our everyday routine we can eliminate so many of the overwhelming home upkeep items and use our free time to do the things that we truly enjoy doing.
Below are 15 things that I have personally made habits that have keep me feeling ahead of the curve on my house to-do list:
1. Do the dishes right after dinner
This is a big one for me. I eat, I wash the dishes (or put them in the dishwasher), and then I relax. I have my parents to thank for this habit. We always did the dishes and cleaned up right after dinner, so having piles of dirty dishes that no one will clean gives me a bit of anxiety. The moment I moved out of my parents house and into a my dorm room I was cleaning up right after I ate, and at 35 I can say I’m SO glad that this is engrained in me. To be honest, I don’t know that I could actually relax after dinner knowing there were dirty dishes in the kitchen.
2. Label your cords
You know you have it – the dreaded cord drawer/basket. We all have one, and when we moved a few months ago it was the perfect time to go through all those cords and pitch phone chargers from long long ago (looking at you, Blackberry charger from 2006). And while getting rid of so many unnecessary cords felt great, we still had lots of cords. From kindles to phones to printers, everything these days comes with a cord, and it wasn’t until I bought my first set of AirPods a few weeks ago and realized that the charger, though identical to our iPhone chargers, couldn’t be used on anything but the AirPods, that I decided to label our chargers.
I hopped on Amazon and bought some cute little chalkboard labels and twist ties, and I sat down one night and condensed each cord together with a twist tie and gave it it’s own label. Now that it’s organized, it’s really easy to go into the cord basket and quickly grab the one you need, and this small change has made a world of difference.
3. Use baskets and hampers
Baskets are one of the key magic ways to make your space tidy. They look nice, there’s plenty of affordable baskets, and they make you (and your guests) feel like everything has a place.
I use baskets for our throw blankets in the living room, our DVD’s, our laundry, our cords, my favorite cookbooks in the kitchen, dog toys, and in the medicine cabinet to keep travel sized items. You’d be amazed how different your space looks when you put your throw blankets in a basket instead of leaving it them all laying out.
4. Make your bed every morning
This is also one thing I must do that I have my parents to thank. We’re not talking hospital corners here, but just pull your blankets up and quickly make your bed. Much like having a dirty kitchen gives me tinge of anxiety, so does walking in my bedroom and having messy blankets. It’s so calming for me to just put the bed together and because the bed is the focal piece of the bedroom, it transforms your room from messy to tidy in an instant.
Little pro-tip: We just started updating our bedroom to Parachute bedding I’m obsessed with the linen. Not only is it super comfortable, but linen has this beautiful crinkly look; the subtle creases are meant to be there, so you can half-heartedly throw the blankets over your bed in the morning and it looks natural when you have linen.
5. Fold your laundry right after it comes out of the dryer and put it away
Dylan is king of taking his laundry out of the dryer, throwing it in his laundry basket and leaving it in there. And you guys – I don’t get it. AT ALL. What is the point of drying your clothes and getting them all nice and neat just to throw them into a basket and have them get wrinkly? You either have to iron them (who wants to iron?!), or throw them BACK in the dryer to get the wrinkles out.
Do yourself a favor and save yourself a lot of time and just fold them when they come out of the dryer. I mean, you can literally take your laundry basket in front of your TV and keep binging that Netflix show while folding. No excuses. Bonus points if you put your folded laundry away to stay organized and tidy!
6. Hang your clothes back up or put them in the hamper as your change
This is admittedly a new habit that I’ve been working on, as I’ve been notorious for using the chair in our bedroom as a place to throw my clothes. The minute I get home from work I change into comfy clothes, and for years I went through the back-and-forth of throwing them in a pile on a chair, eventually spending 30 minutes putting them all away, swearing I was going to just hang stuff up or throw it in the hamper when I changed, and then doing it all over again.
Since moving I kind of felt like I had a fresh start, and I admittedly got back into my old habit, but the last 2-3 weeks I’ve really been making a conscious effort to put my work clothes where they need to be after I change into my comfy clothes, and not having that pile of clothes laying on the chair makes our bedroom seem so much more tidy and organized.
7. Use a mail organizer
When we lived in our house we didn’t do this and I was always taking the pile of mail that was on the kitchen table and having Dylan and I go through it and figure out what needed to be done – pitch it? Pay it? File it? Those piles would drive me crazy and he was always patient with me when I got in my “ahhh this pile needs to go!” frenzy. When we moved into our new apartment we had the perfect place for a cute entryway console table, so I went out and bought a cute mail organizer from Target, and now we’re both really good about putting the mail in it’s place, eliminating the disorganization of paper everywhere and keeping our place organized.
8. Clean as you cook
Another big one for me is cleaning while I cook. I developed this habit after I moved out of my parents house, as my apartments and eventual house always had the tiniest kitchens. Coupled with my love of cooking, it was the only way for me to have the counter space I needed, and my new habit of cleaning while I cook was born. The best thing about doing this isn’t that you have the space, but that after you eat you have much fewer dishes to do, so cleaning up after dinner is usually quick.
9. Pick up while your coffee brews
I get it; I’ve been a zombie that stares into space mindlessly trying to wake up while my coffee brews, so this one is perhaps easier said than done depending on how much of a morning person you are. While I’ve always been much more of a morning person, since I’ve been in my 30s it’s intensified, and since I started working out first thing in the morning I’m awake and feeling good after my workout as I brew my first cup of coffee, and picking up is quick and easy while that breakfast blend brews.
10. Wipe countertops down after you clean up after dinner
I was taught to wipe up spills right away, so that’s always been a habit of mine, but when you’re prepping and cooking it’s easy to get crumbs or small food stuff on the countertops. After you eat and do those dishes just do a quick wipe down of your countertops. 30 seconds tops, and you have no spills or food drying on the surface of your kitchen.
11. Take out trash and recycling as you leave the house
This one is so so easy to do. When we lived in a house we had cute plastic bin outside the side door that we’d throw the recycling in to. Our garage was detached, so when we’d leave to go somewhere we’d grab the bin on the way out the door and dump everything in the recycle. Now that we live in an apartment, and on the 5th floor, we’re pretty far away from the trash and recycling. With regular trips out it’s easy to grab boxes to recycle or the trash and pitch them.
What are your favorite tips and tricks that help you keep your home tidy and organized?