Creating New Habits

Have you moved forward on your New Year’s resolution to declutter and organize your home? It is said that very few people follow through with their resolutions. That’s probably because they don’t have a plan in place or even know where to start.

The first place to start is to recognize and acknowledge the bad habits that got you in this mess to begin with. Clutter and disorganization doesn’t happen overnight and all by itself. It happens over time due to bad habits on your part.

So if the root of the problem is bad habits then the solution would be to have good habits instead. Studies show that the best way to get rid of a bad habit is to substitute a good habit in it’s place.

An example of a bad habit that contributes to the clutter in your home would be bringing in the mail and dumping it on the kitchen counter to “go through it later”. Later may come in a couple of days or longer. By then the pile is toppling over and in the way. Now you feel overwhelmed by the pile and don’t know when you’ll find time to deal with it. In your mind it will take forever so you put it off for a few more days when you may have more time. This bad habit creates a vicious cycle.

Now a good habit to substitute for the bad one would be to deal with the mail on a daily basis. That doesn’t mean you will take care of paying the bills that day or reading the magazine before cooking dinner. What you want to do is set up a plan to organize the mail as soon as you bring it in the house.

You’ll want a file folder or basket on your desk for bills and items that need action taken right away. You’ll want another folder or basket for items that don’t need immediate action and can wait a few days for you to look at. You’ll also want a place to keep the reading material, maybe a basket by your favorite chair.

As soon as the mail comes in take a couple of minutes to separate it into piles according to the categories above. Have a fourth pile for trash that needs shredding. All other junk mail can be recycled or thrown away immediately. Take another minute or two to put the piles into their proper folders or baskets.

Do this 2-5 minute routine everyday and before long you will have substituted a good habit for the bad one. No more piles of mail cluttering up the counter!