Tidying used to ALWAYS be on my to do list. It wasn’t that I was never getting around to it, I was constantly tidying my bedroom, living room and workspace.
The problem was I could never seem to keep them clean and organized for any length of time.
Having clutter everywhere was distracting, I wasn’t able to find things when I needed them and my messy workspace began affecting my productivity.
I had read countless articles on organization, which helped, but ultimately didn’t solve the issue.
Just when I had thought I had tried every method, and was ready to give up, I came across this one hack that would allow me to keep my space tidy forever.
And that hack is a system.
So What Is A System?
A system is a set of actions you do on a regular basis that allow you to move towards your goal.
I came across this from James Clear in his book Atomic Habits. He says that “Goals are about the results you want to achieve. Systems are about the processes that lead to those results”.
In short we need systems in place to achieve our goals.
Why Do Systems Work To Keep Your Home Clean & Tidy?
Goals are an end destination, a final outcome, but having a tidy home isn’t something you just want to happen once.
If you make yourself tidy up you will have an organized space. But if you keep up the same habits that led to a messy room in the first place, in no time you’re going to be looking at a messy room again.
You’re left feeling discouraged and chasing the same goal because you never changed the system behind it.
I was frustrated that I never seemed to have a tidy home but once I put in place a suitable system I was able to maintain my desired outcome by regularly completing small manageable steps that make me feel productive and motivated.
Benefits Of Having A Tidy Home
There are many benefits to living in a tidy and clean space, here are just a few:
1. It lessens distractions and increases focus
2. You’ll be happy to have guests over
3. It’s easier to dust and vacuum clean
4. It reduces stress
5. You can find what you need straight away, increasing productivity
The 5 Step System
Step 1. Declutter
Having a big clear out is so important for keeping your home or room tidy.
One of the main reasons we fail to keep our space organized is that we simply have too many things! This makes it impossible for everything to be accessible while still having it neat and tidy.
To keep our home organized it’s really important to regularly clear out all the junk we never use.
The task of decluttering can seem very daunting in the beginning but the most difficult part is actually getting yourself to start!
My top three tips for getting rid of junk are:
1. Tackle one small area at a time
2. Take everything out of the space
3. Be ruthless about getting rid of stuff
The GOLDEN RULE: If you don’t love it, if it doesn’t actively serve a purpose or if it hasn’t been used in the past 6 months IT GOES
Step 2. Find a Space for Everything
After tackling the clutter, the next step in the system is to find a place for everything you’ve decided to keep.
If I had to choose, I would say that this is the KEY to maintaining an organized space.
Every single item needs to have its own designated place.
Most of the time it’s the things that don’t have a space that get left lying around because you don’t know where exactly to put them. It’s more of an effort to tidy these things away because you have to find somewhere for them to go.
I can guarantee you that if it’s early in the morning or late at night you will leave these things lying around instead of trying to find somewhere to put them.
Step 3. Identify & Eliminate Clutter Zones
Next we need to tackle the areas that gather things, the clutter zones.
Mine is my desk. I leave pens, notebooks, my water bottle, keys, lip balm, earphones and a lot of other things that I use everyday on my desk.
You might not think there is a problem with leaving things out that you use everyday, but when a space isn’t clean to begin with we are a lot less likely to put other things away.
On the other hand if your room looks spotlessly clutter-free you are more likely to decide to hang up your clothes or put away your shoes so that the room stays looking tidy.
Once the clutter-zones have been identified we need to come up with a solution to deal with them.
I’ve found that just telling myself I won’t leave stuff on my desk doesn’t work. So instead I put a box or a basket in the area where things usually get left.
Putting items into the box or basket doesn’t take any extra effort, they are still easily accessible, but at the same time it looks tidy and clutter-free!
Step 4. Apply the 2 Minute Rule
The fourth step in the system is to introduce the 2 minute rule. This rule works great for a lot of things including cleaning and tidying your home.
The idea is that if something takes less than two minutes you have to do it immediately.
This helps in situations where you procrastinate doing something that’s really quick and easy, for example hanging your jacket up when you come home.
You might not think doing something as small as hanging up your coat will make a difference to how tidy your space is but not doing small things like this really add up and before you know it your room is messy again!
Step 5. Repeat
The last step in the system is to simply continue to repeat the system regularly.
1. When you notice clutter beginning to build up again get rid of it.
2. If any new things come into your space, find a place for them.
3. As clutter zones start to appear, tackle them.
4. Continue following the two minute rule and reward yourself for it.
And that’s it, using this simple 5 step system will make you feel productive and motivated rather than overwhelmed, and help you to keep your home tidy and clutter-free forever!