The (Practically Free) Organizing Staple You’ll Find in Every Always-Clean Home

published Jan 27, 2020
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The January Cure is an Apartment Therapy tradition, helping you clean and declutter your home for the year ahead. We’re in the final week, but it’s never too late to sign up and join. Or you can begin your own journey any time with The Eight-Step Home Cure book.

Despite what organizing stores who sell thousand-dollar shelving systems want you to think, good habits will get you 90 percent of the way to a tidier home.

Think about the power of being a person who hangs their worn clothes in the closet at the end of the day, knowing that if they’re clean enough to wear again, they’re clean enough to dangle next to the other garments. Or being a person who deals with the mail as soon as they walk in the door with it, making sure no needless paper takes more than one minute to make it to the shredder. Or just being someone who puts their shoes in the shoe rack, every day, without fail.

Tiny habits make a big difference. And you can set your home up to support good habits, without hardly spending a dime.

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Credit: Anna Spaller

Today’s Assignment: Set up a “landing strip” by the door.

Set up a welcome zone—we call it a landing strip—near the front door (or garage door, or wherever you most often enter your space).

You can compile this together from pieces and things you already own. Raid the kitchen for a bowl, for example, or borrow decorative items from other rooms.

The components of your landing strip might include:

  • A rug or mat to wipe off your shoes
  • Wall hooks, or usable space in a coat closet to hang your outerwear and bags
  • A dish or hook for your keys
  • A bowl or container for change and your wallet
  • A surface—like a shelf or side table or small corner of a console — to sort the mail and other items (newspapers, books, magazines, purchases) as they come in
  • A small wastebasket and/or recycling bin to hold your discarded incoming mail and other stuff to be recycled (you can also consider a shredder here)
  • A mirror for last minute check ups before you walk out the door

It doesn’t matter how you orient or style these things. They can be clumped in one stop-and-drop area, or scattered around a small space. All that matters is that you can easily unload your things when you walk in the door. Then you just have to make it a habit.

If you’ve done the Cure before, you may already have a space like this set up. If that’s the case, use this time to assess how your landing strip area is working for you.

Credit: Apartment Therapy

We’re in the home stretch! Here are a few ways to participate in the Cure: