This was the year of more time at home. A microscope over our daily living practices that shed a little more light on what we really need — and what we really don't.
As we head fresh faced—and dare we say hopeful—into the new year, here are 6 tips for decluttering your space for a more clear-minded 2021.
1. Adopt habits that prevent accumulation.
We love a good habit, and there are so many practical and useful ones surrounding home organization. One of the smartest things you can do is create practices that stop the onslaught of accumulation. Here are two of our favorites that truly work (incremental) wonders:
1 In, 1 Out.
Simple as it gets. For every new thing you bring in—for example: a new shirt—an old one has to go out. No exceptions.
So often we get hung up on doing everything at once. But big bets aren't as sustainable as long-term, incremental changes. In one of the best new-year, new-you reads (Atomic Habits), James Clear says: "Goals are good for setting a direction, but systems are best for making progress.”
So if your goal is to declutter your home, adopt the Daily Dump system. Every day, find one thing in your home you're willing to get rid of — whether by trash or give away. Pile your selects in a bin and, at the end of the week, drop them off at your local Goodwill. By the end of the year, you'll have shed 365 items you didn't need and, bonus, you will have given many of those things to people who can actually use them. Weight lifted.
2. Invest in uniform storage solutions.
In some areas of your home (like the pantry or medicine cabinet) you might not be able to reduce quantity, but you can improve presentation. One of the most calming visuals is uniformity. Visual consistency represents order, and it can make "sense" out of the most chaotic stash.
Our go-tos. Dishwasher safe, stackable, sealable, and—of course—neutral toned.
This is an easy update. It cleans up your closets, takes better care of your clothes, and prevents the pesky shirt-constantly-falling-off-the-hanger syndrome.
Not all cleaning supplies are created equal. Some score high marks in performance and horrid marks on branding. Make them as such by moving your go-tos into uniform spray bottles. Label for visibility—and total organizational ecstasy. (See below).
3. Label everything.
Aside from the total joy of how beautiful everything looks when properly labeled, naming your boxes and containers helps massively with efficiency. You can actually find what you need when you need it rather than rifling through a thousand containers. (Been there, done that, resolved to do better.) Currently loving the P Touch Cube where you can create labels on an app on your phone and send to print.
4. Clear the Counter.
There is something so peaceful and calming about a clean slate, which is one of the reasons why it's so beneficial to keep surface space (from countertops to flooring) as tidy as possible in your home. Clear surface, clear mind.
You need a waste bin in most spaces but it's often ugly or impractical to pop one on the floor. For rooms where it's possible, install a wall-mounted waste bin. These can attach to surfaces like the inside of a closet or cabinet for our favorite thing: discreet cleanliness.
The kitchen staple that needs shelter. Install your paper towels inside your cabinet for easy access and open space.
We know your clothes really do look exceptional when thrown abstractly on the floor, but consider the possibilities of a laundry bin! This one is ideal when you need to tote your laundry to a different area of your home.
5. Create visibility for good practices.
What you see is what you focus on, so prioritize shelf and counter space for the habits you want to create. On the shelf: your daily moisturizer, vitamins, and green tea. Off the shelf: your killer stash of bourbons.
6. Hire the Cheapest Maid.
The average cost of a house cleaner is $175 per visit. If you can't spring for the luxury of personal home visits, invest in a Roomba for daily maintenance. While it's not cheap, you can get the mid-range for the cost of less than 3 cleaning visits. If you use it every day for a year, it's just $1.20 per day. That's smart math we can get behind.