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5 Fast Tips for a Tidier Home and More Generous Giving

While spring cleaning may get your house sparkling clean after the long, stuffy winter, an annual scrubbing isn’t all your house needs to look neat and tidy. Clutter can accumulate in one day ― or in one hour, if you have kids ― and hide all the hard work you did with the vacuum and sponge.

Fortunately, the accumulation of clutter is a habit rather than an inevitability, and with the following five strategies, you can kick the habit and have a tidier home in no time. Plus, being more organized allows you to be more effective with your charitable contributions, which means you can do good in two ways at once.

1. Look to Your Mail Pile

Unopened letters are easily some of the worst clutter culprits. When you know that most of your mail is junk or bills, it is natural to want to put off looking at it. Thus, stacks upon stacks of letters accumulate on kitchen counters, desks, end tables, bookshelves, and anywhere else with an open space that will fit a handful of mail.

Instead of succumbing to the temptation of procrastination, you should open your mail as soon as you get it ― which may mean outside at your mailbox. You can sort through your letters for the important ones, like bills, personal notes, or charity requests, and immediately toss the rest in the recycling bin when you get inside. Then, there is no time for you to make clutter with your mail.

5 Fast Tips for a Tidier Home Image 22. Never Use the Floor as Storage

You have cabinets, closets, and a number of other storage spaces ― but the floor should not be one of them. Every member of your family should understand and abide by this rule, picking up and organizing as necessary. Common items that usually become stored on the floor include: toys, shoes, dirty clothes, books and movies, and even loose change.

You can encourage your family to pick up every day by promising that anything found on the floor will be donated to the charity of your choice. Come evening, the floor should be free of anything that isn’t furniture ― and if it isn’t, you will have a healthy donation pile. Follow through or your family will never believe you in the future.

3. Increase Your Space & Donate Large Items

While many decluttering guides sweat the small stuff that accumulates and causes untidiness, you should try to look at the big picture, as well. Large items take up more space, making rooms look smaller and more cramped. You can increase the amount of space both inside and outside your home by ditching certain large items you never use, like huge, uncomfortable couches or the old family boat you haven’t taken out on the water in years. Plenty of charities welcome large item donations, so you don’t even have to wait until trash day to see more space in your home.

However, you might initially have the urge to fill that space with more junk. Instead, you can decorate with placeholders that don’t require much space, like rugs or hanging art. If the new space is in a storage area, like a closet or garage, you can build shelves or other organizers to keep your existing items even neater and tidier.

4. Fill Your Garbage and Recycling Bins

You are paying for garbage and recycling pick-up every week, and you should use it to your full capacity. Before every scheduled garbage day, you should go through a box of junk from the attic or garage. More likely than not, you will find plenty of fodder to fill up your garbage and recycling bins, as well as a few valuable items to give up for donation that are still in decent enough condition.

You can also search through places like the kitchen pantry (for old, expired food) or the office (for old, unneeded paperwork) for stuff to stuff in your bins. Sorting through small amounts of junk for trash day, which is at most twice a week, is more manageable than attempting to tackle your entire house in one weekend, so you are more likely to get it done.

By not attempting to tidy up the whole house in one weekend, you’re also likely to take your time, which will help ensure you’re actually productive in your cleaning and will help you identify used items you might have otherwise thrown out if you were in a rush.

5. Fold Your Clothes in the Laundry Room

Similar to leaving unopened mail around, allowing unfolded laundry to sit and stay for days on end causes massive amounts of clutter. For some, dirty clothes are the primary problem, while for others, clean, dry clothing is an issue. The best solution ― as with mail ― is to develop a habit of handling your clothes as soon as you stop wearing them.

Most worn clothing should go straight into the laundry basket or dry cleaning bag. Anything you believe can be worn again should be folded and placed back in dresser drawers. Meanwhile, once the basket is full and laundry is clean, you must stand and fold your clothes before leaving the area of your washer and dryer. Then, it is harder for everyone to ignore the need to put away the neatly folded clothing.