Find a home for everything: When it comes to keeping a clean, clutter-free home, it’s important to find a designated resting or display location for everything you own. And if it’s a functional item that you use regularly, put it away once you’re done with it to avoid a growing mess. Even when shopping, think about where you’re going to put an item at home -- whether it’s a piece of furniture or a piece of art – before you bring it home, think it through and have a plan.
Carve out zones: Overall, each room in your home will serve a purpose, so think about your home’s design and carve out zones. This allows you to set up each room in the way you use it. Sometimes the function is obvious (think: kitchen and bath), but many rooms serve multiple purposes. For instance, a young single male who lives in an apartment may want a man cave to double as a media center. In these instances, use room dividers, such as a bookcase, open cubbies or a couch, to delineate the space.
Buy less stuff: This goes hand in hand with our tip to find a home for everything –don’t buy it if you don’t have a home for it! Some people are minimalists. It’s okay if you’re not. But never grab something because it’s on sale or free. Hidden costs come into play for maintenance of the item (i.e., cleaning it) or the guilt of wanting to get rid of it. Be conscious of your purchases and only buy it if you really need it and know where it’s going to live in your home.
Choose multifunctional furniture pieces: Everything these days does double duty, so why shouldn’t furniture? Look out for storage ottomans that can corral magazines or books, a coffee table with drawers, or a bookcase that can double as a nightstand. The more storage space your pieces provide, the better you’ll be at keeping a clean, organized home.
Keep everyday items within arm’s reach: Place frequently used items (like keys, cell phone, or day planner) up front or in an easily reachable spot in a cabinet or closet. Things you use less often, you can put up high or way in the back.
Look back: The back of the door is another great place to stash items. An over-the-door pocket shoe organizer can hold everything from jewelry and scarves, to mittens, household cleaners, hair care products and accessories -- and of course, shoes. Utilizing a door organizer is the equivalent of adding another shelf into your closet, so get to it!
[Related: How to Organize Your Closet]
Check out a recent episode about how to take some stress out of cleaning.