You’ve worked so hard. You gathered up the extra things, followed along with all the advice and checklists. You cleaned, decluttered, even organized every square inch of your room. And now days later, it’s a mess.
And just like that, the wind has been knocked out of you as you stare at the mess in your home.
Does it help to know you are not alone? That more often than not, this recluttering of a cleaned-out area is happening in tidy rooms all over?
When we first start cleaning out our cluttered homes our focus is to just get it done. To create a neat and tidy room and that, just like magic pixie dust, that will fix everything.
When you are a clutter bug like I am, the cleaning out of all the stuff is actually the easy part. I know that might sound crazy where you are right now. And until I was on the other side I thought it was crazy myself. And yes, the gathering it up, bagging it up, and then getting it all out may seem so hard when we are in the thick of things. But then there you are just days later and you find maintaining a clean house might just be the hardest mountain to climb.
And maybe it’s not our room that needs decluttered at this point, it’s our mindset. We need to retrain how we look at our homes and how we look at our things. And that takes time. That takes intention. That takes practice.
Ugh. Clutter practice? Sounds just awful, doesn’t it?
But unfortunately, when we have spent the better part of our lives living with clutter, practice is just what we need to do. We need to teach ourselves to see our things differently. We need to create simple systems that will help us to keep things in order as we learn to do this on autopilot. And as we learn to only keep the things we need, use, or love we can put on our clutter-free badge and wear it with pride.
Okay, so I know I may have gone just a little overboard, but speaking as a former clutter bug myself, I understand how big this shift is. And once you make it, your life will change for the better. So, yes…clutter-free badge! Maybe only in theory but life-changing all the same.
The number one complaint I get from folks that have just cleaned out and organized a room in their home is, “How do I keep it that way?” And with our overwhelming habit of not putting things away, this can be a pretty tall order. Let’s face it, keeping things neat and tidy all the time sounds pretty dull and boring and a lot like constant June Cleaver work.
And who wants to live like June Cleaver? Apron always on. Dust mop always in hand. Cleaning all the flipping time?
Luckily, over the years I learned a few tricks that have helped me keep my home clutter-free. Easy and super simple tips that keep me from taking 5 steps back into old and frustrating habits.
Today, I want to introduce you to my number one tip. The key to a neat and tidy home and one so simple most folks skip it altogether.
It’s what I like to call a Room Reset.
A room reset is super basic. It’s resetting the room to its original state. That place where it was when you first decluttered.
Every. Single. Day.
But why? Why is it so important to keep a room clean and tidy?
To answer this question, let’s think back for a minute. Remember your room when you finally decided enough was enough. That feeling of frustration, overwhelm, and maybe even anger. Maybe coming home was not something you looked forward too and maybe your family felt the same way.
Then you got busy. You dug your heals in and got to work. You clean out, cleaned up and organized your messy room, maybe your entire home, into a neat and tidy one. And as you stood there admiring the hard work you felt amazing, right? You felt so good and so at peace and you found you actually wanted to spend time in that space. To soak up it’s calm and serenity.
That feeling. That peace and joy you felt in that room is why you need a room reset.
So you can start your day out on the right foot every single day.
When should you do a room reset?
When is entirely up to you. It can be at the end of the day before you head off to bed. Or first thing in the morning when you get up. The trick is to do it daily so it’s a quick and easy task instead of an annoying chore.
How many rooms should you reset?
You can do this in one room, a few main ones, or all of them. The choice is up to you. If you are just starting out, I would suggest one room until you get the feel for how things go then you can add on others. Remember we are learning a new habit here and for that reason, you will want to start small and work your way up. Build up your clutter-free stamina and work your way towards staying organized on autopilot.
Before you know it, you can reset your entire home daily and keep everything neat and tidy without having to devote hours each week decluttering all over again.
What exactly is a Room Reset?
A room reset is putting a room back to start. Back to the way it was when you first decluttered and cleaned it. You are probably already doing this without realizing it.
Think of your bedroom. I am sure you make your bed each morning when you get up. You may also gather up the laundry as you do and straighten up any chairs or dressers as well. Removing what doesn’t belong and putting away what does. That is a room reset. My secret to keeping a clean house. And with a few tools, this new daily chore will become a simple habit that your entire family can chip in on.
How to do a Room Reset and Keep a Clean House
Step #1. Decide When
This will all depend on a few things. First, are you a morning person? If so, you may want to do your resets in the morning before the chaos of the family gets up.
Are you a night owl? Then this might be the time to do your room resets.
For me, I am an early morning person and that means I go to bed before the rest of my crew. Because of this, I like to do my resets in the morning before everyone else wakes up. I find I can quickly reset a room in just a few minutes and it’s just easier for me to travel around from room to room putting things back into place.
Step #2. Gather Your Tools
To do a quick reset you will need just a few items.
- A basket – I like to use a clothes basket for my resets and find them to be incredibly useful in so many areas other than laundry. This is used to hold any items that belong in another space.
- A trash bag – This is used for trash. You can also have a second bag for recyclables.
- Cleaner and rag – This is used to do a quick wipe down of any surfaces.
Step #3. Tackle One Room at a Time
In the beginning, I would suggest picking one room to reset. The main area in your home would be a great place to start, such as the kitchen or family room. As you turn this new task into a simple daily habit you can add on more rooms.
For the rest of our list, we are going to tackle the family room.
Step #4. Trash and Recyclables
It’s amazing how much trash we create in a day. And before I tackle any project I like to remove the trash before I start. Simply walk around the room gathering up any trash as you go. Don’t forget any recyclables as well. Newspapers, magazines, napkins, empty food bags, water bottles.
Step #5. Put Away What doesn’t Belong
Gather up any dishes and take them to the kitchen along with any food containers as well.
Next, using your basket, collect any items that belong in another room. Clothes, toys, pens, books, whatever you see that belongs somewhere else put it into your basket.
Step #6. Put Away What Does Belong
If you see any items that do belong in this space put them away. Since we are working in the family room you may have blankets and pillows out of place. Toss the blankets into a large basket and put pillows back on the couch.
Tidy up end tables and coffee tables straigtening any books or other items you keep in these areas.
Step #7. Do a Quick Clean
Before you head out of this room, take just a few minutes to wipe things down. This will not only make this room sparkle and shine it will also keep you from having to clean as often as you were before.
Just a gentle multipurpose cleaner and cloth will work to tackle most areas in your home without risk of damage.
Step #8. Put Away Your Basket
When you are finished in the room you may find yourself with a basket full of random things. To make this step easier just take a stroll throughout your home. As you walk into a room look into your basket for items that belong there. Be sure to put those items away and don’t be tempted to just set them on the first open surface you find.
The key to a clutter-free home is putting items where they belong. Work to train yourself to do this without thinking and you will be surprised at how neater your stays is with little to no effort.
Step #9. Move on to the Next Room
Now that you have the basics, just repeat the steps in the next area you want to reset.
A few things to remember.
#1. Don’t leave a room until it is done. If you are anything like me, then distraction is a real problem. Try to stick with a task until it is finished before moving on. This will really help you to get more things done instead of having a few dozen half-finished projects all over your home. This habit will also help you to streamline your daily schedule.
Start to finish is a great habit to have and by being intentional you will retrain your mind to think this way more often.
#2. Do not be tempted to clean a room from top to bottom. If you see that larger tasks need to be done such as washing the windows or vacuuming the carpet, simply add it to your weekly cleaning list. A room reset is meant to be quick and simple so try to not overthink it. Save the heavy cleaning for cleaning day.
#3. Try to do your room reset in the same order each time. This will really help to create a habit you can incorporate into your day without stressing out about “yet another thing you have to do.”
#4. Call in the troops. Teach your family to gather up their things when they leave a room. This will make your job much easier to do. Before my kids headed off to bed each night, I would remind them to take their things with them. This reminder eventually became a habit that they took to their own homes. Again, a simple way to keep things put away.
I know in the scheme of things this is such a small and minor tip, but when you worked so incredibly hard to declutter a room why not do all that you can to keep it that way? By doing a room reset every day you will learn the secret to keeping a clean house and get a chance to enjoy those feelings of satisfaction and accomplishment again and again.