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When you hear “bad habits” you usually assume something negative—eating too much, staying up too late, skipping out on exercise, and so on.

But bad habits can start to creep into otherwise ‘positive’ activities too, like cleaning. Even if you’re a frequent tidy-upper, you can start making things into a habit that you shouldn’t.

We’re not saying you need to totally revamp your cleaning methods, but if you’ve found yourself starting to fall behind a little during your cleaning projects, you might want to make sure you’re not doing any of these:

 

Making a mess of your “junk drawer”

Even if it is mostly a Midwestern invention, we think the junk drawer is something everyone should have – but you can’t use it for everything. A lot of people get in the habit of just chucking something straight into the junk drawer if they don’t immediately have a better idea of where to put it, but this can lead to things getting lost or discarded before they can find their actual home. Purge your junk drawer, see what actually needs to be kept in there (batteries, keychains, loose change—you know, the usual stuff), put everything else in its rightful home, and use drawer organizers to make sure it doesn’t get that bad again.

 

Not sorting mail as it arrives

Especially these days when so much of the physical mail we get is junk mail, a lot of people get in the habit of considering mail to be “junk mail” or “not junk mail” and tossing it out accordingly. The problem with this approach is that it can start to leave a pile of mail in the entryway that doesn’t get attended to, contributing to the clutter and making a bigger mess elsewhere. Get a mail organizer to keep right by the door, on the kitchen counter, or wherever else your mail usually ends up and stop this mess from getting worse by sorting it right as it arrives, even if it’s not going in the “throw away” pile.

 

Not organizing your cleaning supplies

It’s a great irony—the idea that products purchased to keep your home cleaner wind up contributing more to the overall mess. This happens more often than you may think, though, and eventually you may need to find a new home for all the cleaning supplies you buy. Find something that can stand up to the sort of products you’ll be storing on it, like wire shelves, and use them to organize your cleaning supplies by type and/or how often you use them. Try to keep them somewhere outside of the usual spots (like in that cabinet under the sink) to keep them out of the way and free up space for stuff you might need more often.

 

Not being able to throw stuff away

This is one of the trickiest steps in cleaning, but being able to know what to throw away during decluttering can go a long way. A lot of people fall into the “well what if I need that later?” trap but it’s safe to say that if you haven’t used it in six months to a year, you might not ever need it. Start with stuff that’s easy to get rid of and get more in the habit of throwing stuff out when you clean—it’ll all add up and you’ll find yourself with a lot less clutter in the long run.

 

Not finding a home for everything

We all have that one chair in the front room that winds up being a home for coats, sweatshirts, and accessories. A great way to get in a better habit of putting everything away is to not let yourself do that anymore. Even if you set something there for a second when you get home, try to make a rule for yourself that nothing is allowed to stay on that chair overnight so you can get in the habit of putting things in their rightful place, even if it’s less stressful than needing to put it away the second you get home.

 

Have you had to break any bad cleaning habits lately? Let us know in the comments below!

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