While the craze of decluttering may not dominate conversations anymore since the season one finale of Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, keeping a tidy house shouldn’t be a mere trend. Learning how to stay organized in your home is said to reduce stress and depression and lead to a more balanced life. From discarding items you no longer need to buying and labeling special storage bins, here are some steps to keep your house and your life tidy.
According to Kondo, when decluttering your home, you should keep the items that bring you cherish and let go of the rest with gratitude. Take time to sort through items in your home that you no longer use, need, or cherish. If you let go of a belonging you never use, it teaches that you have no purpose for something like this in your life. Meditating on each item you discard will affect how you live and how you acquire new things moving forward. If you find it difficult to let go of items, especially sentimental items that are taking up too much space, you might find it useful to create a ritual out of it. A gratitude jar will allow you to jot down what you’re thankful for and store it for later reflection.
Give Everything an Assigned Home (With Labels!)
Once you’ve let go of the things you no longer need or cherish, it’s crucial to give each item you do cherish its assigned place. If you like to keep your keys by the door so you don’t lose them, install a hook in the entryway or buy a special basket for keys. You might also want to keep your shoes on their own designated shoe rack so you don’t trip over them every time you come through the door. If it helps, use a label maker to designate particular shelves, drawers or cupboards for easy-to-lose items. Labels will also come in handy in kitchens, which are notorious for misplaced items.
Put Things Away
Once every item has its home, be sure to return items to their places after you’re done using them. It’s easy to tell yourself you’ll put an item away later, but too often this habit only leads to an unmanageable pileup of clutter — and stress. Put things away now so that later doesn’t become something to dread.
Use Storage Bins
Whether you use plastic storage bins, baskets or under-bed organizers, having extra storage space helps to keep your home organized and free from clutter. Store toiletries, kitchen utensils, toys, and other items that quickly pile up throughout your home to keep them accessible yet out of the way for a more organized living space.
Tidy Daily and Assign Chores
Get into the habit of tidying daily — loading the dishwasher before you go to bed and unloading it first thing in the morning, folding clothes straight out of the dryer, and keeping mail organized. You may also find chores more manageable if you tack them onto pleasurable activities, such as listening to your new favorite audiobook or binge-watching a Netflix series. And there’s no rule that says you have to handle household chores all by yourself. Enlist the help of other family members, using a family organizer to assign chores so nobody — especially Mom — feels the weight of household duties alone.
Make Your Bed
Make your bed daily. According to U.S. Navy SEAL William H. McCraven, making your bed can “change the world” because it provides momentum for you to take action throughout your day. By completing that one task, he says, “by the end of the day that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed.” So, make your bed — and the rest of the tidying might just come naturally to you.
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Erica Garza is an author and essayist from Los Angeles. Her writing has appeared in TIME, Health, Glamour, Good Housekeeping, Women’s Health, and VICE.