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Unless you`ve perfected the art of tidying up like Marie Kondo has, your house probably gets messy just a little too easily. Even after a spring cleaning sweep, it seems like your place returns to its default disheveled mode in five days flat.
But we have some advice that will save your sanity: There are a few places around your house that attract clutter like a magnet, so focusing on those spots will keep your place looking immaculate all month long, with minimal effort.
After all, a clean home is a happy home, and we could all use a little more happy in our lives.
Keep an eye on these 11 things that are secretly making your home a mess.
1. The random piles of paper, mail and newspapers
No matter how many times you file or throw them away, stacks of paper, mail, newspapers and magazines somehow magically appear on random surfaces around your home. Stop this nonsense by organizing your mail or paperwork as soon as you receive it and throwing away old newspapers and magazines.
2. Your unkempt bed
You`ll be surprised at how your messy room will completely transform after you make your bed. It is, after all, the focal point of your room.
If you want to make the act of making your bed easier, Jolie Kerr, author of the column Ask A Clean Person, suggests keeping your bedding limited to the basics: a comforter, bottom sheet and pillows.
3. Your kitchen shelves
If you open your kitchen cabinets to stacks of mismatched cups and plates and the contents of your pantry are all over the place, it may be time to overhaul the innards of your kitchen.
Matching tableware and an artfully organized pantry can make your cupboards look like they belong in a magazine.
4. The jungle of tangled cords
They`re hiding behind your TV, desk and entertainment center. You may have stopped noticing them, but they`re making your space look more like a jungle of electronic vines. Hide them in plain sight with these ingenious cord hacks.
5. Your disorganized bookcase
You may want to show off how cultured you are with a bookcase filled with your favorite reads, but you achieve the opposite when that bookcase is cluttered with mismatched hardcovers, magazines, and yes, even more stacks of paper.
To turn your bookcase into a beautifully crafted part of your home, organize the books by cover color, use a small plant as a bookend and treat each shelf like its own display.
6. The trash bin reserved for recycled items
Because you`re a good person who cares deeply about the planet, you set aside your soda cans, cardboard boxes and plastics to be recycled. But because these items are bulkier than normal waste, they stack up in your kitchen and sometimes sit obnoxiously on top of or right next to your bin.
Do your space a favor and take out your recycled items often. Your kitchen trash can deserves to be clutter free.
7. The old clothes and shoes you refuse to throw away
You may have heard that denim skirts are making a comeback, but it`s probably not that denim mini with frayed edges you`ve had tucked away in your closet since 2010.
To keep your closet tidy, toss anything that you haven`t worn in the past two years. That includes that decaying pair of Converse, the excess of old college T-shirts you keep calling "pajamas," and anything that hasn`t fit in the past five years.
8. The dirty dishes
Whether they`re in your sink or sitting on your coffee table, the dishes have got to be the first things to go. Those old cups and dirty plates are the first thing your guests will notice, so do your dishes and do them often! When done "mindfully," the tedious chore just might make you a happier person -- according to science, of course.
9. The post-shower towels you`ve hung up to dry
No matter how exquisitely color-coordinated your bathroom is, a wet towel hanging from the shower curtain or worse, hanging haphazardly from the towel bar, will make your porcelain palace look messy.
Be mindful of where you hang your towels to dry and set aside your prettier towels strictly for hand-drying. Used towels are also some of the dirtiest things in your home, so as a rule of thumb, wash them after three uses to keep them feeling and smelling clean.
9. The myriad of knick-knacks you call "decoration"
Sure, that ceramic rooster you bought in Spain propped up next to your succulents looks simply bohemian. But if your shelves and tables are overcrowded with candles, picture frames and travel memorabilia, they can appear simply overwhelming.
Be selective when choosing which of your beloved trinkets to put on display. It`ll keep your counters clutter-free while still reflecting your personality.
10. Your laundry pile
After a stressful day at work, it`s all too easy to come home, strip down to your undies and toss your clothes into that ever-growing pile in the corner of your room. But looking at that slop pile might be secretly triggering your stress.
Keep your laundry under control by sticking to a weekly laundry schedule. It`ll instantly make your room feel a lot more comfortable and may even help you sleep better at night.
2016.03.20 / 15:48