Systematic tidying up: how to keep your home tidy

Dusty CDs, old magazines and decorations that you no longer like? If you want to bring your home into shape, you should start with a system.

Systematic tidying up: how to keep your home tidy

Dusty CDs, old magazines and decorations that you no longer like? If you want to bring your home into shape, you should start with a system.

Just put something here and thrown something there - it already looks messy in your own four walls. What helps against chaos is a system. But where do you start when cleaning up and where do you get the motivation from? Michael T. Wurster gives tips. He wrote the book "30 minutes. Tidy up forever" and knows what's important when it comes to decluttering.

Change the angle and take photos of each room

"If you want to get rid of clutter as quickly as possible, the best thing to do is grab your smartphone and photograph each room from different angles," Wurster recommends. Then you should look at the photos very carefully and pay attention to what you notice. How so? "By looking at your own four walls through photos, you get a certain distance that can make decluttering incredibly easy," explains the author.

Incidentally, future progress is also visualized. "And if pictures are taken while taking pictures that you would like to delete immediately, shock therapy will start, which will fuel the big cleaning out," says Wurster.

Digitization creates a lot of space

Wurster points out that you keep many items even though you hardly ever use them anymore: "Although today you can stream films, series and music via various providers such as Netflix, Disney or Amazon Music, pretty much everyone still has a collection of DVDs and CDs on the shelves." The honest question is therefore: "Do you still need all this in the age of digitization?"

The tidying up expert has a tip for everyone who isn't sure what should go and what should stay: "Mark each DVD case with a small dot sticker as soon as you put the film in the DVD player You can do this with CDs or other media. After just a few months you will be able to see from the number of stickers whether you are still using all the DVDs and CDs at all."

Enlarge the recycle bin

Wurster also advises using a box for paper waste. "This box should be large enough to allow A4 sheets of paper to be put in and stacked," he explains. "After all, a stack of paper saves a lot more space than crumpled balls of paper." If you want things to be particularly tidy, you can also elegantly hide this paper box in a drawer. "In this way, all the paper waste is no longer in sight."

Throw away on trial

"The instincts of hunters and gatherers are dormant in most people. True collectors quickly feel emotional pain when they have to give away or even throw away things from their collection," says the expert. He recommends a compromise to these people: throwing them away on trial. Wurster explains: "All the things that you can't seem to part with go in a box. Most likely there will be several 'sample' boxes together, which will all be taken to the basement or to the attic after they have been cleaned up."

The advantage: This means that space can be created immediately - without losing anything. "At least for now," adds the author. The sorted boxes should be labeled so that you can keep track of them. Wurster recommends writing this information on the boxes: "Who is the box from? What date was it created? When is the throw away date?" The throw away date is in the future. "By that date, throw away the entire 'sample' box. Provided, of course, you haven't had to open it for any important reason by then." And he has another tip: "By providing these boxes with consecutive numbering and at the same time creating a table of contents for each box, you always have an overview."

Work strategically and involve others in the clean-up process

Start somewhere, end somewhere? Wurster doesn't believe in haphazard moving back and forth. That's why he recommends: "Prepare the tidying up process with sticky notes. To do this, stick individual notes on doors or shelf elements and number them consecutively." What then needs to be done is recorded on a to-do list. The expert has some advice for anyone who likes to avoid work: "To make sure that your 'future self' is really concerned with the matter, you can enter appointments next to the to-dos, which will then appear in your calendar."

In a multi-person household, the tasks could be divided between different people. "The big sorting is broken down into very small steps in this way. These can be implemented extremely quickly," the expert is convinced. In some cases, it could also make sense to fix the notes with adhesive strips so that they don't fall off shortly afterwards. "But be careful: Be careful not to damage sensitive furniture surfaces," warns Wurster.

Get rid of clutter permanently

"If you want to get rid of clutter permanently, you have to develop an eye for the big picture: Get rid of all the ballast and create space," explains the author, adding: "You then have to set clear rules for the home. " According to Wurster, it is necessary to do "permanent optimization work" and stick to it "with a high degree of discipline".