Do you wish you were just a little bit neater around your home on a daily basis? While you can definitely make successful, long-lasting tweaks to your weekly cleaning schedule, you can also do a little bit of cheating to make it look like you're neater, too. Here are five favorite cheats to be a bit more neat.
1. Take a photo
Feel like you can't throw away that thing? Need to save that other thing so you have that small piece of information written on it? Don't want to toss that other thing because it's serving to remind you to do that other thing? Nope.
Harness the power in your hands and life by whipping out your smart phone (that hopefully has some cloud storage connected to it) and taking a photo of whatever "things" keep accumulating around your house but you feel like you have to save for some reason or another. Consider creating a folder in your cloud storage or smart phone that is labeled "Reminders" for a digital and visual flip book of fliers, notes, empty prescription bottles and more so that you keep the important information but are able to toss the "stuff" that could be making you look less neat than you actually are.
2. Embrace the tuck-away spot/box/drawer
Allow yourself one small spot in one room of your home — a junk drawer, basket, closet, box, trunk — that is your tuck-away spot. It's the spot that you throw everything that is making your home look messy into (not trash though, that just gets tossed) on a daily basis so you save your sanity.
The way that this becomes a helpful tip and not a crutch or unhelpful? You follow two rules. 1) You only put stuff in your tuck-away spot that can't be easily placed in its original storage home quickly (in other words, if mail gets stored in a neat folder in the entryway, don't toss envelopes in your tuck-away spot). 2) You commit to cleaning out your tuck-away spot (and putting things back where they belong) at least once a week.
3. Hang it on a hook
Hooks are instant sanity makers; you can hang a wide array of home and fashion objects on them, instantly picking stuff up off the floor in your home, making your home look neater and more organized. The tricks to really using them effectively? Have more of them around your house (ideally in not-so-obvious, center-stage spots). And keep the hanging of them uniform (so a evenly spaced line of hooks rather than a random array of them hung on a wall) to help bring structure and intent to whatever it is you're hanging on them.
And lastly, use them as a temporary station. In other words, you can have a few spots in your home where your hooks are used as permanent storage for bags, coats and maybe a few leashes, but use other hooks around the home like tuck-away spots — they're there to quickly get stuff off the floor and out of the way, but then once or twice a week you clear them off to move hanging objects back into their more permanent storage homes.
4. Add more trash cans/recycling
Would you throw things away more if you have more trash cans in the home? Maybe. But more importantly, you might throw things away more quickly if you have more around the house, giving you easier access to tossing or recycling unneeded and unnecessary objects.
5. Minimize your horizontal space
Horizontal space is a clutter crutch. It is a magnet for stuff and practically whispers at us to "just put this down a minute" or "you can set that right on top of here for now." Don't let it whisper to you. Plainly get rid of any horizontal space that you don't really need but that you keep filling up. Or fill up your horizontal space with decorative objects so you can't put anything down. Or just take a U-turn next time you try to place anything down on a table or counter.
Re-edited from a post originally published 10.27.15-NT