6 Ways to Avoid Messy Hot Spots

Yep, hot spots.

Every house has them. (and I am NOT talking about a wi fi hotspot!)

You might call them something different.

6 Steps to Banish Clutter Hotspots

A hot spot is that big chair in your bedroom–you know, the one with all of the clothes you wore last week piled on it.

Or, a hot spot is the corner of the kitchen counter right where you come in the house–the one with your purse, keys, a week’s worth of newspapers, an old cheese stick, and somewhere is the Visa bill that needs to be paid–TODAY!

Or, maybe in your house a hot spot is the basket by your favorite chair in the family room–it has five bottles of nail polish, a birthday card from last year, Real Simple Magazine from last September (the cleaning issue–Awesome!), some scribbled notes for next week’s meal plan, and the dead batteries from the Roku remote.

These hotspots serve a purpose–they temporarily house items that may or may not have a specific spot in your home. Hot spots add visual clutter to your home. Ultimately, they can be the “broken windows” that can be a cause of major dysfunction in your home.   (note: if you do not know about the sociological concept of the broken window–read up on it here. I think it has a lot to do with how we keep our homes.)

So, how can we tame these hotspots?

If you want to catch up on all of the posts featured in this challenge–go here.

Here are my 6 tips for getting organizational control over those messy hot spots:

  1. Include hot spots in a daily 10-minute tidy session.

    Set aside a time each day–perhaps after dinner clean up, in which everyone in the family participates in a brief tidying up session. Set a timer for 10 minutes.During this time do not allow TV or video games or glass of wine or anything fun until the house is tidy–or the timer goes off after 10 minutes. I tend to hit my hot spots during this time, while the kids pick up all of their trash all over the house.  I throw away junk mail, I hang up clothes and I neaten up my “nest” next to my favorite cozy chair.

  2. Eliminate the hot spot altogether.

    This one is tough, but it can work. If the treadmill is just becoming a place to store junk–get rid of the treadmill. Move the chair out of your bedroom and into a place that you actually plan on sitting. Tell children you will discard toys and books left on the stairs (and then follow through).

  3. Change your mind.

    Guilty. I cause most of the hotspots in my home.  I set things down “just for a minute” so that I can do something that is oh so much more important. If I change my mindset and take care of things right away–like throwing away the Roku batteries right after removing them from the remote–hot spots hardly get a chance to spark up.

  4. Add a distractor. 

    If you find yourself habitually setting things in the same hot spot, add a distraction. Place a houseplant on the end of your dresser where you pile clothes to hang up. Put a bowl of fruit where you dump the mail and your keys after work.

  5. Use a photo for visualization.  

    We are visual creatures. And, once you get a hot spot cleared up, take a photo. Admire how nice your space looks. Keep it in a spot (maybe even by the hot spot) to remind you (and your family) of how orderly this space can look.

  6. Don’t give up.

    Remember, your (and your family’s) bad habits will not clear up overnight. Hot spots will still happen–and you may find out that they crop up in other, new places after you get the current ones under control. But don’t worry! You know how to fight these hot spots! Be vigilant. Be assertive with your loved ones. And, above all, don’t be afraid to change systems that are not working. Often a messy hot spot is a symptom of a broken system. A messy mail landing area is a sign of not handling each piece of mail once. A pile of clothes on the end of a dresser is a sign of a broken dressing and un-dressing system. Use these hot spots to diagnose systems that need tweaking and go ahead and tweak them. You’ve got this!

Assignment: Take a walk around your home and Identify at least one hot spot. Plan how you will get the hot spot under control AND how you will train your family to do the same. then, come share in the Facebook group!




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Written by Dakotapam
I'm a Lutheran pastor's wife and mom to six kids, including young adult sons down to 8-year old twin daughters. My life is sometimes normal, and sometimes crazy; but through it all, I know that I am blessed! Some people say that I have my hands full, I prefer to call it living life with both hands full, and I love it!