Messy or neat, cluttered or organized. Yin or yang.
It was always clear to me that you were either born one way or the other. The minute you breathed air for the first time, the world marked you as either a messy or tidy person. I used to tell people that my house was an organized mess. I liked to call myself the most organized cluttered person out there. Funny to some people but for others, maybe you even, it makes perfect sense.
Sure, I had paper clutter in my kitchen but those papers were always in neat and tidy piles and not simply strewn about, and that, at least in my mind, meant I was organized with my clutter.
And since I was born a messy person, that was as good as it was going to get.
Cleaning, although the way I preferred to live, was not something that came easily to me. I remember when I was a teenager. I knew I would rather have a bedroom that was put together all the time but instead my room often resembled an apocalyptic event. It always looked like I was either quickly moving in or quickly moving out.
Yes, I was and still am a messy person. And the fact that my house is now neat and organized is baffling to me. How I could completely change my clutter mentality to one of an organized super freak is worthy of a mic drop. Especially when I think back to how I used to be just a few years ago.
Super simple clutter-stopping tips that I am able to use as shortcuts for keeping my home neat and tidy.
And since I just love a good shortcut, these hacks are much more tempting to me than simply putting my stuff into precariously tall piles all over my home.
First, let’s back up just a bit.
What is exactly a messy person?
To me, a messy person is someone who doesn’t put things away. Sure, we will get the supplies out to make a 4-course meal and even present it on a beautifully decorated table. But expecting us to completely clean it up when we are done is probably asking a bit too much.
I can’t tell you how many times I would clean the family room only to leave the vacuum cleaner sitting in the hallway for a week before my Hubby finally put it away.
I guess you can liken a messy person to one without enough follow-through. We can do things like crazy but finish them? Completely? Maybe, probably, not going to happen.
For the longest time, I lived like this. My family was forced to live like this. Until one day I realized something.
I was messy because it was easier. I didn’t follow through because it was hard.
If I could make the finishing up easier. The putting things away in the fewest steps possible, then maybe just maybe I could have a home that was organized and clutter-free.
Decluttering Hacks for Messy People
Store things were you use them.
This was a game-changer for me, seriously. Before I used to keep my crockpot in the basement pantry because I used it just once a month. The problem wasn’t the fact that I had to go and get it when I had a roast to cook for dinner, the problem was putting it away when I was done. Usually, it sat on my kitchen counter for so long it was right there the next time I needed it a month later.
I finally made room for my crockpot in a seldom-used upper cabinet in my kitchen pantry. Now when I am done, I can just put it away without a second thought. Right there in the same room I use it in.
Remember the vacuum that sat in my hallway for a week after I cleaned my family room? Now I store that vacuum in the corner behind a bookshelf. Yes, I store my vacuum in my family room. Now, when I vacuum which is usually a few times a week, the cleaner is right there. Super easy to get and even easier to put it away again.
Bottom line? Store your things where you use them the most so they are much easier to put away when you are done with them. This is going to make it so much easier to declutter a messy home.
Use catch all baskets wherever possible.
This may just be one of my favorite messy home hacks. What is a catchall basket? This is a basket that you put out in high clutter traffic areas. They are used to toss in clutter and hold it until you have time to take the basket and put everything inside of it away. Call it batch decluttering that takes the guilt out of putting your things away each and every single time.
Some high clutter traffic areas are:
- The stairs – Place a stair basket at the bottom of the stairs to toss in things that need to go up. Each time you head upstairs, grab a few things out of that basket and put them away.
- The kitchen counter – Keep a basket at the end of the counter to hold mail and other important papers. Go through this basket each time you pay the bills. This one decluttering hack alone has saved us hundreds in late fees from lost bills and overdue payments.
- The family room – A large basket is perfect to toss in toys and stray socks that always seem to end up in this room. Each time you clean have your family take what is theirs from that basket and put it away.
Strategically place decluttering bags and boxes in your home.
This tip will help you to keep the clutter from getting out of control and allow you to incorporate decluttering throughout your day. A great way to keep large decluttering tasks off of your to-do list.
To make this work, simply hang a few of those annoying plastic shopping bags throughout your home. I am not suggesting you decorate with them, simply keep them out so you can see them but any unexpected company won’t.
A few examples are.
- In your closet hanging off the doorknob. – Toss in any clothes that you see as you are getting dressed for the day that you no longer love.
- Hanging from the back of the chair in your bedroom. – Toss in any magazines from your nightstand that you are finished reading. Don’t forget to remove the address label before you donate it.
Don’t like bags? Try a box instead.
- In the kitchen by the counter. – Toss in any extra measuring cups or coffee mugs that you no longer love.
- In the family room off in a corner. – A great place to put DVD’s you no longer watch or extra blankets that are becoming a bit ratty.
D/M PRO TIP: Donate worn blankets to your local animal shelter. They can always use these for the inside of the cages. Dogs love to snuggle up as much as we do.
- In your child’s bedroom. – You can put inside any clothes you kids may have outgrown or toys they no longer play with.
I am sure you get the picture of how helpful this tip can be. By having a donation box in each cluttered room you can slowly weed out the mess without any of the overwhelm that usually tags along for a project like this.
Break down the things you hate to do.
I hate to clean and I am pretty sure that you might just have the same feelings on the matter. And for me, if it is something I don’t enjoy doing then I usually avoid it like the plague. I have found that by breaking big projects down into small and simple steps I am more likely to do things. And that is exactly how I approach cleaning.
I used to clean my home one day a week, usually on a Saturday and that pretty much killed the only family fun day we had planned. Now, however, I break that one big cleaning job up into rooms. Rooms I can instead work on one day at a time.
Breaking things down is the very best way to get things done especially if you are a messy person. Big jobs are overwhelming whereas small steps are completely doable.
Here’s how it works.
For each day assign a focus room in your home. This will need to match up to your schedule for the week so that you are setting up a more realistic plan. So, for example, if you have an eye appointment on Thursday then errands would be your focus area rather than a room in your home. The key is to partner up your schedule so your week flows together more easily. This will keep you from running around willy nilly instead, putting your focus on the task at hand.
A typical week may look like this.
- Monday – Bathrooms
- Tuesday – Errands
- Wednesday – Kitchen
- Thursday – Bedrooms
- Friday – Family room
- Saturday – Outside
- Sunday – Office/Planning day
By spreading things out you will have a short cleaning task instead of an all-day chore.
But this idea works for anything. Want to declutter and organize your closet? Break it down into sections for each day.
- Monday – Go through and declutter pants, shorts, and jeans.
- Tuesday – Go through and declutter shirts and tops.
- Wednesday – Go through and declutter pajamas and personals.
- Thursday – Go through and declutter shoes and misc.
- Friday – Organize all hanging and folded clothes.
- Saturday – Organize the floor and shelving.
Rather than an all weekend and overwhelming project you can now look to spend just 30 minutes or so per task. Easier to do, and easier to deal with.
Add in a few more clutter hacks for a messy home.
More often than not the amount of time a cleaning or decluttering project looks to be, the more difficult it is for a messy person to want to do it. I have found that if you can set time distractions this will really help you to keep your focus on the job allowing you to accomplish quite a bit in a short amount of time.
This is how it works.
Take a look at the project you have ahead of you and guess how much time you feel it will take to complete it. Next, divide it up into more reasonable chunks that better match not only your schedule but your motivation as well.
For each pocket or time chunk, set up a playlist of songs that matches. So, for example, if you have a four hour decluttering and organizing project and you plan to break it up into one hour chunks then you can expect a playlist of 15-16 songs will last about one hour. Pick your favorites and download them all to your phone. Call those songs your 1-Hour Decluttering Burst. Each time you have an hour you need to work you can put on that playlist and go!
This one hack has helped me to tackle not only small projects in my home but even bigger ones like cleaning out our attic. You may just be surprised at how well time distractions work.
Not a fan of music? Here are a few more options you can try.
- A Favorite Podcast.
- Audio Book
- Ted Talk
- A Motivational Book
- A Spiritual Talk
Whatever you feel will allow you to shut off the negative thoughts that may just come along with a project like this and put your focus where it needs to be, on the project. This will really turn your messy person procrastination into getting things done. Something that will just grow and grow as you fill up your win column.
Sure, most of these hacks are ones you have heard before but sometimes a small reminder is all you need to see the magic in them. As a messy person, I know we need all the extra help we can get. And since my home has gone from cluttered chaos to neat and streamlined I can assure you that you can get there too. You just need a little nudge in the right direction.
Try these home decluttering hacks and tell me what you think!