The One Touch Rule to Organize Your Space For Good
In a small room, apartment or dorm room, things get messy… fast. Just a few out of place items and the entire room feels off. And more often than not, something is left lying around. The problem is, it’s hard to have everything in its spot at all times. Learning how to declutter is one thing, but learning how to declutter for good is something completely different. Just because everything is put away once doesn’t mean it is going to stay that way, but with the one touch rule, your stuff will actually stay in its place.
What is the one touch rule?
One touch. That’s it, as simple as that. Whenever something enters a space, only touch it once. That being said, if you throw a shirt on the floor or pile papers on a desk, you broke the rule.
Whenever you walk into a room, simply put away anything you are holding, right away. Without having to put it down and wait for the mess to build up. It becomes much easier and more manageable when all you have to put away is one piece of clothing, or one notebook, as opposed to your entire closet piled on the desk chair.
What’s the point?
The purpose of this system is to maintain a functional space. Yes, you might deep clean your room once a week or once a month, but if that’s all you are doing, your space is always going to be a mess. Say for example you clean your bedroom once a month. That means that during that one day, plus maybe the next 3 or 4 days, your room is clean. But after 5 days, your space gets messy again.
That’s only 5 days out of the entire month. That means that your room is a mess 83% of the year (yes, I even did the math for you!). Now you might be thinking, well, if I clean my room once a week then it will be clean for almost the entire week until I clean again the next week. And while yes, that would be true, it would also be a HUGE waste of time.
I love to clean and organize, but cleaning my room once a week sounds extremely annoying even to me. Personally, I clean my room about once a month (if that much) and yet my space is still always clean. How?! The one touch rule.
Ever heard the expression, “A little goes a long way.” Just doing a little each day eliminates the massive clean-up projects that feel overwhelming and stressful. Putting things away before they become a mess is the key to a happy and stress free environment. Walking into a tidy and clutter free room is a better sight to see after a long day than a room with more stuff than floor space.
The one touch rule in action
It seems simple in theory, so why does every room seem to always be cluttered?
Imagine your space like a mailbox. You get new mail every day. Person A goes to get their mail every day from the mailbox and then immediately puts it into its place—filing the papers and throwing away the junk mail. Person B also gets the mail everyday. But, she put it into a pile in the corner. After 2 weeks, I bet you can guess what’s going to happen. Person A took 5 minutes every day to deal with the mail, leaving her with no mess and no stress. Person B has a pile of mail a mile high and eventually has to deal with it. Physically, this would be an exhausting project that could take hours or even days. Mentally, it would be extremely daunting and stressful to build up the strength to even start on such a difficult project.
Not only does it take less effort to deal with your stuff as you use it, it will save you a lot of time in the long run. In the mail example, person A spent 5 minutes a day dealing with her mail. That’s only an hour and 10 minutes during the two week period. However, person B had to deal with all of her mail at once, which could take upwards of three hours for only two weeks worth of mail. In just this one instance, person A saved herself over 2 hours of work! And that’s just for her mail. Imagine the time you could save if you could apply this system to every aspect of your life.
On top of the time you save by dealing with things using the one touch rule, you will also save yourself a lot of stress. Having a cluttered space, whether you realize it or not, is like a weight on your shoulders. Just having to walk into a room and see stuff everyone could set off more stress. This system helps you avoid all of that and you don’t even have to do any more work than you usually do.
By doing a little bit each day, person A avoided all of those problems and more. Hopefully now you see the point in this system. If you gain one thing from this article, just make sure it is to never put your stuff down, unless it is in its place. Touch it once, and never more.
Exceptions to the rule
Now of course, everything you own is not going to be in its place at all times. For me to tell you that would be unfair. I don’t want you going into this system thinking your stuff is magically going to be organized all the time. You have to understand that clutter is always going to be there, but if you are actively dealing with it, you can significantly limit the amount of clutter you have.
If you can’t put something away every single day, it’s alright. Try your best, but always remember it is okay to slip up a few times. The most important thing you can do if you forget the rule is to keep going!
If you slip up and need help getting back on track, click to learn How to Speed Clean Your Bedroom in 5 Simple Steps or learn about My Perfected, 5-Step Guide to Organize ANY Space! These two systems are perfect for getting your space back in shape to start using the one touch rule!
Try out the one touch rule
I am challenging you to try the one touch rule for only 1 week in only 1 room. I would suggest choosing a room that things are constantly being brought into. For me, this would be my bedroom. So, for just one week, try applying the one touch rule to your life and see if it makes a difference.
After a week, I promise you will fall in love with the system and over time, your space will slowly return to a clean state. The best part is, it will actually stay organized and decluttered. Say goodbye to hour long deep cleaning every week/month!
If you are looking for more easy organization systems, you are going to love this article: 5 Daily Steps to Keep Your Space Organized,