Skip to Content

“Tidying” my way into a clutter-free life


It’s so easy to say “I’ll do it tomorrow,” and put off the little (or big) things we need to do until the next day. Getting into the habit of being tidy will help you kick your procrastination to the curb, find some peace of mind, and clear out the clutter in your life.

Like everyone, I put off doing things because I’m tired or I don’t feel like getting off the couch or out of bed. I’ve learned, that “now” is a time-saver. Instead of letting myself get away with procrastinating, I made myself get into the habit of “now.” For example, when I get dressed in the morning and inevitably try on a few shirts or pairs of pants, instead of draping them chaotically across my bed like I used to, I force myself to put them away as I rule them out. That way, I am not faced with comparing the same two shirts and going back and forth on black pants versus jeans. I rule something out, and put it back. It helps me save time from agonizing over things and when I get home from work in the evening I don’t have a mountain of clothes to refold and put away.

These little things build up to much greater things, such as becoming more decisive and confident in my decisions. Rather than go back and forth on things, I have come to just being able to decide. The  “just put my clothes away, just wash the last few dishes, just do it now and it will save me from doing it later,” mindset has helped me become less forgetful. I’m also less stressed about things I need to get done because now I know I can manage it by doing it little by little instead of waiting to do things all at once right before I need to rush out to do something else. I don’t let things build up to an overwhelming pile anymore.

I’ve also learned to do the hardest things first. By keeping tidy, my room and apartment never get too bad, but when it comes time to tackle bigger tasks, such as laundry, I make sure to plan ahead and pick a time early in the day when I know there won’t be a lot of activity at the Laundromat and I get up and get it done. The next thing I know, I have finished my laundry, I have fresh clean clothes, and I have the whole weekend ahead of me. It’s so much better than waiting until I’m scrambling to find the last pair of clean underwear!

Here are some tips to help you train yourself to be tidy:

1. Don’t let yourself get away with “do it later,” catch yourself and change your later into “do it now.” The more you do it, the easier it gets and you develop a good habit rather than a bad one!

2. Take 5 minutes a day to make look around your room and assess: clothes to be picked up, towel to be hung up, bed to be made… what do you need to get done? Then, do it! 5 minutes here and now will be a lot better than 20 minutes later!

3. Jot down a list of things you want to get done. Then prioritize the list into what can get done today, what can wait until tomorrow, and what is a long-term goal to work towards.

4. Pick up after yourself! Don’t let yourself get into the habit of “later” with this. IF you pick up after yourself, you’ll have a more harmonious shared space, you will be less likely to lose things, and you will build a habit that will translate into your other facets of life.

How do you keep your space tidy? Any mental tricks you use to motivate yourself? Share with us in the comments! 

About the Author

Marina Crouse

With a B.A. in French and an MFA in Creative Writing, Marina is a Writing Coach and copywriter helping creatives bring their ideas to the page. In her free time, you'll find her reading, cooking, traveling, or binge-watching sitcoms on Netflix.