There are plenty of habits everyone should adopt to keep a home reasonably clean and tidy. Here are ten worth practicing in any size home, but especially vital for people living in small spaces when even a small amount of clutter can make your home look and feel messy.
- Make your bed each morning. In a small room, the bed may take up half the space or more so if it's not made it will look unkempt even if everything else is in order.
- Take care of your dishes as soon as you're done with them. If you have a dishwasher, put them in it. If you don't, try to wash them right away or, at the very least put them in the sink. Keeping counters clear in a small kitchen is key.
- Process your paper mail each day. Small space living is a constant fight against "piles". Try to deal with your mail soon after you bring it in—recycle, file, shred, etc.—so you don't end up with even a small pile (which is always a slippery slope).
- Digitize as much as you can. If you have a piece of paper that *might* be important, but you're not sure—take a photo of it and then recycle it.
- Straighten as you go. Get in the habit of straightening and returning things to their homes as you walk around your home. Gabbing on the phone? This is an ideal time to do some straightening.
- Put your coat and bag away as soon as you get home. Don't drape them on a chair or leave them on a table. As my husband likes to say "don't put it down, put it away."
- Deal with in-store or online returns as soon as you can. Don't let boxes or packages or items clutter up your space and don't take the risk that you will lose receipts and other documentation.
- Break down unwanted cardboard boxes immediately and take them outside to recycle as soon as you can.
- Cook from your pantry. How many half boxes of pasta are in your cabinet? Or cans of beans you bought for a recipe and never used? Be vigilant about using stuff up before your cabinets are a complete jumble.
- Put your clothes away each night before bed. Don't let them accumulate at the end of your bed, on a chair or, the worst, on the floor.
Do you have any useful habits in your small home to defend against clutter and mess?
Re-edited from a post originally published 11.18.15-NT