If you have been following along using my Once-a-Week Organizing Calendar, then you know this is our final week focusing on de-cluttering flat surfaces. Print or re-print your free calendar here Once you clear the table or counter how long does it take for clutter to re-appear? In my house, it might take as long as an hour but most days it only takes a few minutes before someone puts something down. This is promptly followed by someone else putting something else down. And then something else and something else until all my work to clear the clutter seems wasted. If you’ve experienced this frustrating cycle then keep reading, I have a few ideas to help you keep counters clear! Imagine the success you’ll feel when you clear your counter and can keep it that way! Idea #1 Set the Table Setting the table with dishes for dinner can break your habit of putting things down. Plus, you skip the step of putting clean dishes in the cabinet, you can simply set the table. Although you run the risk of putting your mail in the gravy boat. Idea #2 Leave a Reminder Make yourself a note – it might say something like “Don’t put it down – put it away!” You are trying to create a new habit and that can take a few weeks; so, a gentle reminder can be helpful. Idea #3 Give Things a Home Chances are clutter piles up because you don’t have an easy place to put it away. If it was just as easy to put it where it belongs as to drop it then you’d put it away. So, create the storage right there. The “home” might be a bookcase or baker’s rack or some other place to drop stuff on your way in the door. Idea #4 Drop Box A drop box might be the solution for all those little things that get left around – chap stick, charging cables, odd and ends. Toss them in a decorative box and every so often sort through the box. Idea # 5 Rolling Cart If you need to spread out projects on the flat surface you might try a rolling cart. This allows you to roll the cart with your supplies up to the table where you can work on your project. Then you can easily put the supplies away so you get your table back. A perfect idea if you are sorting photographs, clipping coupons, or for any other project that needs space. Idea #6 Just Decide I don’t know about you, but lots of my dropped items are things I leave to decide about later. If we all just decide in the moment, we will avoid a lot of clutter! Idea #7 Maintain the System Any system you put in place requires maintenance. Every so often you need to tidy, purge, sort and re-align. Otherwise the system can get out of hand. Maybe the system you had still works – you might just need to freshen it up a bit. Whichever of these ideas appeals you give it a go! The key is to choose a system and keep it going. I know you can do this – I can’t wait to hear how it works out!