Keeping a home together and tidy requires a daily effort, but how do you know which tasks to prioritize?
Do too much and you’ll notice the signs you are losing control of clutter. Do too little, and you’ll burn out.
Luckily, professional organizers have nailed their routines with a few simple daily tasks to help maintain order. Here’s how to pick up their habits for yourself.
Daily tasks professional organizers swear by
Home organizing doesn't always need to look like pulling everything from a cabinet and sorting it into containers. It can be as simple as putting a few drinking glasses away or planning tomorrow's to-do list.
The trick is to build sustainable habits, such as a closing shift routine to reset your home to ground zero, so waking up the next day doesn't feel overwhelming.
These are the six daily tasks professional organizers swear by to maintain order, and what you can learn from them:
1. Start the day with a tidy bed
There is a reason why you have always been told to make your bed when you get up in the morning – and it is not just because your parents wanted to annoy you as a child. Making your bed the right way each day helps to set an organized tone for the day and makes your space look neater, encouraging you to keep it up.
That is why Rachel Sicherman, professional organizer and founder of Tidy Made Easy, always makes time to tidy her sleep space when she wakes up. Even if the rest of the space is a mess, a well-made bed can make the space feel less chaotic, she says.
If you like to let your bed breathe in the morning to prevent odors or minimize dust mites, consider making it a habit to go back and make it when you have finished breakfast or have gone upstairs to brush your teeth. This helps to maintain an orderly space and your sleep hygiene.
Rachel Sicherman founded Tidy Made Easy after finding peace in tidying and decluttering. She believes that getting tidy and organized can truly revolutionize your life, and also focuses on design and aesthetics in her work.
2. Never leave laundry lying about
Laundry is produced in every room of our homes – from getting changed in the bedrooms and bathrooms to kitchen towels or throw blankets in the living room. As a result, it is easy for laundry to be left lying around the house, especially if we are getting ready quickly and leaving clothes strewn about a room.
Britnee’s passion for organizing started when she was old enough to store mechanical pencils in her Lisa Frank trapper keeper. Fast forward a few decades, and she now helps other busy women create beautiful, functional spaces in their homes. Her purpose is to help women (who have a lot going on in their day) simplify their homes and make them intentional and enjoyable.
3. Stop paper clutter as it comes through the door
Getting rid of paper clutter is one of the most tedious decluttering tasks, especially when a lot of important documents pile up and get muddled together. Britnee Tanner, professional organizer, makes sure to tackle paper clutter as it comes through the door so that it doesn't become overwhelming:
‘Paper clutter often seems to multiply. Help reduce how much paper is piling up on your kitchen counter by tossing junk mail right away,' she recommends. 'Organize papers that you need to keep temporarily in a small file folding system on the counter or in a nearby bin. Once you've taken action with those "pending papers," recycle them.’
4. Clean down counters every night
‘I clean the kitchen counters every night, even if I have to leave a full sink of dishes to get it done,’ shares Rachel Sicherman, professional organizer. This helps to contribute to an overall cleaner kitchen while also ensuring you have space readily available to make breakfasts in the morning so you are less likely to skip it, contributing to healthier habits overall.
5. Encourage children to get involved
You are not the only one that has to be responsible for the evening shutdown routine, especially if you have children, reminds Britnee Tanner. To help maintain order, organize your home with kids in mind and give them easy-to-reach containers to help tidy away toys and games when they have finished with them, she suggests.
‘Another task that can help maintain order in a home is to pick up toys and put them away in designated toy bins. This means all toys can be stored away and hidden out of sight– especially in places like the living room.’
Encouraging your family to declutter also helps by minimizing how much has to be put away at the end of each day.
6. Set up a plan for the next day
'One of the best ways to maintain order in your home is to reduce mental load. This can be done by sitting down to plan out a day in advance so nothing is forgotten to become overwhelming,' suggests Marcia Sloman, professional organizer and founder of Under Control Organizing.
‘Maintaining order at home is best accomplished by planning. I have nothing against spontaneity, but I know that planning works. Every evening, I decompress by making a plan for the next day, blocking out time for work and home tasks.
‘Of course, anything could happen the next day to challenge your plan. As all time management professionals know, our goals are accomplished when they are embedded in our hearts and minds. I’m committed to avoiding mess and clutter, so I find time between scheduled events to put stuff away and avoid clutter.
Identifying a place for everything is the simplest way to avoid mess. Deal with the minutiae that can accumulate by categorizing your things. Instead of having a junk drawer to toss in assorted items, define them or use the boundary method to get on top of this space. The ultimate goal is to have no homeless items.
Marcia Sloman has been a professional organizer for more than thirty years. By helping individuals during and after times of life’s transitions, Marcia is particularly well suited to work with those facing personal or professional shifts, as well as anyone coping with the avalanche of tasks and stuff. Her specialty focuses on help for individuals challenged by ADHD, anxiety, medical issues, or life changes such as job changes, birth, death, moving, or divorce.
How do you stay organized and keep track of your tasks?
If you struggle to keep track of your tasks, consider different ways of noting them down that are easier to go back to and check. For some people, having a physical list kept on their desk is a good way to keep track; for others, it may be more useful to have a digital list on their phone so it is always close at hand.
If you struggle to tick everything off or have lingering tasks, consider why that is. If you are procrastinating on this task, try doing a scary hour to help get them done quickly so they are out of the way, or even pen it into your planner like a meeting so you have to tackle it at a certain time.
Doing small chores like these every day and building positive habits to help stay on top of clutter and mess will inevitably help to avoid decluttering when you feel overwhelmed, without taking too much time out of your downtime.
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Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for a year, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.
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