Clearing Surfaces: The Easiest Way to A Minimalist Household

October 23rd, 2009 § 0 comments

Yesterday, I discussed some of the fundamental problems that are associated with clutter. How we get it, where it comes from, why we have it, and how to get rid of it.

In today’s post I’m going to keep it simple and just discuss my favorite time-tested method to improving your clutter situation.

Clearing surfaces, a simple way to combat clutter.

Everyone has a number of surfaces in their household, how many varies by how big your house is. The most important ones are usually your kitchen counter, and your desk. If either of these spaces are cluttered, you’re bound to have trouble being productive making food or doing your work.

Ideally you want every surface in your household clear of things, except maybe intentional ornamentation. Like a tiny potted plant, or a picture of your cute girlfriend.

How to combat this clutter:

1, Start small. If you’re overwhelmed by the clutter, pick a small corner of your surface and start there. If you’re clearing the kitchen, do the dishes first, dry them, put them away. If you’re doing your desk, start by clearing objects blocking your mouse movements, and then move to the junk behind your monitor.

2, Find everything a home. Every object that is sitting out needs to have a place where it gets put. If it doesn’t have a place, you need to find it a place. If you can’t find a place than seriously question whether you need the object.

3, Get rid of things. If you don’t use it, you probably don’t need it! Don’t be afraid to recycle, donate, or trash objects that aren’t useful to you.

I have a one-month rule, if I don’t use it at least once a month than I probably don’t need it. Ask yourself whether or not you use each and every object, if the answer is ‘yes’, then keep it. If the answer is ‘someday’ than perhaps you should reconsider whether or not you need the object.

4, Try a thirty-minute cleaning spree. Sometimes I like to just go crazy, and I’ll set aside thirty minutes to just blow through cleaning a space. I usually do this by throwing everything into a bin and just making the surface completely clear. Then I use a dishrag to clean it, and then I deal with what’s in the bin.

5, Aim for absolutely clear. At the end of the day, your surface should be absolutely clear. Everything is put away, ideally where you can’t see it. I promise you that you’ll really enjoy looking around your house at all of the cleanliness.

Here’s a more comprehensive article on uncluttering over at Zen Habits.


Let me know how you’re tackling clutter in the comments! (yes, I have comments now. Yay!)

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