Add A 'Mess Basket' To Every Room To Help Eliminate Stressful Clutter

Modern life can be messy and chaotic, even in the best of circumstances. We all have varying levels of time, obligations, and cleaning standards, which can sometimes go out the window depending on what's happening in our homes and schedules. So if you find yourself struggling or feeling overwhelmed by the number of things that seem to somehow accumulate in busy spots in your home, like entry consoles, dining room tables, nightstands, and kitchen counters, creating a "mess basket" may be the perfect solution for regaining control (via Lifehacker).

This technique provides a place for tossing everything that would otherwise wind up strewn about wherever you or your family members happen to be. This can mean everything from literal trash that needs to be thrown out to things that have a place elsewhere in the house but are struggling to get there. Laundry items, hair brushes, empty dishes. Keys, grocery totes, books, and bills. Find a basket that's as stylish or utilitarian as you like, and you have a place to throw everything that would typically clutter up your floors and surfaces.

An effortless strategy for decluttering

To harness this decluttering technique, determine what size container you require. Bigger is usually better since large items can add up, especially clothes and toys. That being said, you can make yours as aesthetic or stealthy as you desire, with wicker laundry baskets and attractive storage bins being great options. Smaller baskets and boxes are also great if most of the things you find yourself picking up are small. You can put these in a central location or a more discrete locale, like behind a sofa or under a table or desk.

Throughout the day, place those items you might be otherwise tempted to leave lying around in the basket. If you live with children or others, you may need to do periodic sweeps of the room, or if the children are old enough, remind them to use the basket when they make a mess. Then, at regular intervals, select a frequency to empty the container — whether once a day, once a week, or once a month. If you choose a longer interval, this is a simple way to weed out things you never look for that can be removed from your home — an excellent strategy for decluttering

Sorting out your basket

When it comes time to unpack the "mess basket," sorting things into categories makes the task less stressful. First, discard any trash, including papers, magazines, packaging, or dead batteries. The next category would be laundry, which can be divided into "clean and ready to be put away" or "dirty and heading to the washer." Next up, dishes, which means returning to the kitchen and washing any coffee mugs, water bottles, or spoons that haven't made it back to the dishwasher. Then, determine which things have a place and need to be put there, followed by items without a designated spot. This last one is often the most challenging to deal with, but can help you figure out what you might need to find a spot for and what is better off being donated to a thrift shop.

This decluttering technique is perfect for busy families and hectic times, and great if you have a large multi-story home and want to limit stair runs and traveling from one end of the house to another. They are also perfect if you feel overwhelmed by the general untidiness of your space and want something that gives you a sense of control. Meanwhile, the rest of the room stays neat until it's time to sort the basket, which can be done quickly and efficiently.