Got a messy dining table? When space is available without a clear purpose for how it’s used, it usually gets filled up with clutter. Have a rule that large flat surfaces, like tables and countertops, must be cleared off daily, or at least once a week. And if you have multiple compartments for paper on your desk, label them for envelopes, catalogs, bills, or other distinct purposes instead of letting them become a nest for whatever ends up there by accident.
Kitchen and dining room tables become a catchall for things, mostly because of a lack of organization and storage options. When children come home from school, the jackets and backpacks land on the kitchen table as kids head to the refrigerator. After doing several loads of laundry, clean clothes can end up on the dining room table. Mail, bills, books, phone chargers and accessories seem to migrate to this location over time. Cleaning off the dining room table can give your family back a space to come together and socialize without the presence of a TV.
- Organize the paper. Sit at the dining room table and create three piles of papers. Stack important paperwork and documents in the first pile. Put mail and bills that you need to keep in the second pile. Add coupons, newspaper ads or miscellaneous paperwork to the final pile. Toss any other scrap paper or wrappers in appropriate recycling bins or the garbage.
- Place the paperwork from step one in specific locations. For example, place mail or bills near the phone or in a special payment folder. Put the important documents in an exclusive drawer so the information is readily available. Insert the coupons and other miscellaneous paper items into a basket in the kitchen area.
- Put clothing away. Fold all the clean clothes on the dining room table. Separate the clothes into piles belonging to each family member. After the clothes are in piles and folded, put them away. Laundry sorters and bins can be a nice way to keep clothes from accumulating on the table. Hang coats. A coat rack can be more convenient than a closet for hanging coats, especially for children.
- Sort the remaining miscellaneous items. Put these items in their appropriate place or throw them away. Often clutter builds on tables because there is no designated spot for the items. If phone chargers tend to collect on the dining table, you might need a charging station. Charging stations also, often, offer a place to organize your mail. Put children’s toys away. If there isn’t room for the toys to easily fit, more storage bins and chests might be a good solution. Place backpacks and homework near the front door or in the children’s bedrooms. A storage chest or cabinet can help keep these objects from spilling into walkways. Put books on your bookcase or nightstand.
Now it’s time to enjoy your dining table. The trick to keeping it clear is to put things in their places at the end of each day.