Author Charles Duhigg, in the book The Power Of Habits: Why We Do What We Do In Life And Business, defines something known as the “habit loop.” According to this loop, you need three things to form a habit: a cue, a routine, and a reward.
The cue is when you see something or perform another activity, and this triggers in your brain the need to start practicing your new habit. The reward is something that strengthens your desire to stick to the new habit and keep repeating it day after day.
The cue and the reward are easy to reach. It’s the routine that’s the hardest, especially when you’re starting out. If you’re someone looking to build a habit of decluttering your space so you can live a more organized life, this article is exactly what you’re looking for. It discusses six simple steps you can adopt right away to become a more organized person.
1. In and out
When you get a new piece of clothing, give something else away. When you buy a new mantlepiece, throw the old one out. When you get a new notebook, trash another notebook from your desk.
This is a great habit that will prevent you from becoming a hoarder and buying more than you need. If you know you need to throw something out to be able to buy a new item, you’ll be less tempted to get something new in the first place.
This habit also ensures that after all the transactions are done, the total number of items in your closet or on your table remains the same.
2. Be consistent
Pick a periodic routine for yourself and stick to it religiously. Whether you choose to unclutter five days a week or if you’d like to turn to this new habit every day is entirely up to you. What matters is that you don’t break this new habit.
3. Turn to technology
Get help from people who have experience dealing with your problem of not being able to declutter as frequently as you’d like. You can hire an accountability coach who will share helpful tips and tricks and also hold you accountable for your promise of becoming a more organized person.
You can also get a habit tracker and mark each day on the calendar where you successfully uncluttered your room or your workspace. Gamifying your habits can be a helpful way to get the most of this challenge and adopting a more disciplined lifestyle.
4. Make a “goodbye day” every week
Toss out at least three items you don’t need every week.
Most of the time, our houses get cluttered because we keep hoarding clothes we will never wear or items we will never use. To avoid falling into that trap, designate one day each week as “goodbye day” where you throw out three items.
5. Tidy up for fifteen minutes after dinner
You might make excuses to yourself that you don’t find time to tidy up. But if you clean up for as little as fifteen minutes after dinner each time, you’ll get a lot of tidying done over time.
The small efforts will compound, slowly seeping into your schedule and making you more organized. It will become an almost unconscious habit where you don’t have to think too hard to start cleaning your house.
6. Attack one pile of clutter every weekend
While you do your regular cleaning every night, there might be corners of your house that are so cluttered, you have no clue how to even tackle it. To stop feeling overwhelmed, start a rule of attacking one clutter pile every weekend.
That way, your clutter piles will be over soon. Also, working on one pile a day will help you get more done in less time and make you realize that most of the resistance to cleaning is in your head.
For more information and some inspiration, you can read from our experts at Better Humans. They write the best personal development stories centered around proven advice that works: