Put a ‘Mess Basket’ in Every Room

Put a ‘Mess Basket’ in Every Room

If you’re someone who gets home from work and drops your keys wherever, kicks off your shoes wherever, and leaves your dirty clothes wherever they may land, you may also be the type who dreads the day you inevitably have to clean it all up. Not everyone has a predisposition toward being tidy — but there is a way you can be a little scattered, but not be completely overwhelmed on clean-up day. You simply need a “mess basket” in every room.

What is a “mess basket?”

A basket or container in every room of your home can act like a series of giant junk drawers. You can use basic plastic totes or get a little fancier with decorative wicker ones, but they should be big. This is because you’re going to train yourself to drop anything you’d normally just toss on the floor or the couch or the coffee table or wherever else right into the bin.

You only need one container per room but it will likely fill up with some surprising and dissimilar stuff. Slippers, clothes, junk mail, hair accessories, books, and water bottles are likely to make an appearance (if you’re anything like me).

The rule here is that the basket can be as messy as you want. Anything you’d normally toss on the nearest surface instead goes right in the basket, keeping the space clear and designating a spot for the untidiness.

When and how do you clear it?

Every month or so, dump each basket onto the floor. Sort everything into five categories — trash, dishes, laundry, things that have a place, and things that don’t have a place — but also create a sixth category for anything you really don’t need or use anymore. If something was in that basket for a month and you didn’t think of it or go to retrieve it even once, you successfully put it in a purgatory that left it out of sight and out of mind. Consider if you really need to hold onto it, or if your life would be less cluttered without it. Either toss it in the trash or donate it. Then sort the other five categories, like so.

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