The One Touch Rule Will Help Declutter Your Life & Home

The One Touch Rule Will Help Declutter Your Life & Home

One touch rule

It’s hard to argue with the “one touch rule.” I’ve tried to reason why it won’t work for me and, so, I’ve never truly applied it.

Recently, I was having a mommy lunch with a friend (no kids allowed – for the 1st time in 4 years) and we had the opportunity to talk about all kinds of things that we usually don’t. Sadly, cleaning was one of them.

Her home is gorgeous and clean all of the time. She says it’s not, but over the years I have seen no sign of that being true. So on this day I took the opportunity to ask how she does it (she has two little boys). She simply replied, “I use the one touch rule.” Could this really be the secret to keeping your home clean and clutter free?

The rule? Only touch things once. Take care of whatever is in your hands the first moment it is in your hands.

The idea here is not only to declutter your home at the time the “junk” comes in and not let it build up, but to not have to waste time thinking about it over and over, or moving it from one pile to another. Essentially, decluttering your mind and home.

I decided to start implementing the one touch rule myself and see if it helped me in maintaining a nice home without driving myself crazy all of the time. The very first day, I thought of a million reasons why it wouldn’t work for me. Then, as the day went on I found myself making a game out of it and considered it a new challenge. If I touched it (or saw it) I had to take care of it right away.

The girls had something broken? I fixed it right away. Papers from school? Signed them or put them where they needed to go. New recipe to try? I wrote it in my book or put it directly in my recipe box. Papers to file? They went right to the file cabinet. Things were working.

Of course, for me, it only lasted a day or two before I started slacking off again. I thought about it one night as I was trying to sleep and decided that I had partly implemented this idea all along. Months ago I had gotten rid of the “junk” basket it my kitchen so things do not build up in it. I had started fixing things as they broke (or soon thereafter). Bills and any other papers were dealt with right away and found their way right where they belonged. This helped keep my kitchen counters clutter-free and my end table (my kids call it my office) neater.

In my pursuit to simplify my life and home, I had already begun to implement the one touch rule … without even knowing it.

Although I can’t say the one touch rule always works for me, I do keep it in the back of mind and try to apply it each day. Some areas work better with this such as with the mail … I try to always put that where it needs to go right when it comes in. And other areas continue to be a struggle such as craft supplies that get left out because I know I will need them again soon.

I thought the one touch rule idea was a great one to mention because it really has helped clean up our space – at least a little, and anyone can use it no matter what phase of life you are in. I’ll keep trying to make this a way of life here. With a few simple words, my friend inspired me to maintain order with one touch.

How do you declutter your home? Do you use the one touch rule? If not, join me in trying to apply this to your life and see if it simplifies things for you.


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Wendi Hager About Wendi Hager

Wendi Hager is the Editor of and has more than 12 years experience managing and writing content for magazines, newspapers, web and marketing.


  1. I will try the one touch rule. Right now I have the kitchen cabinets torn apart and I am trying to toss stuff. How many plastic containers and lids does one person need. No longer can I reach the top shelves and I am rearranging canned goods, cereal boxes, etc onto lower shelves, for ease and safety. For incoming snail mail, I do not take any junk mail into the house. Magazines, catalogs, etc, are read when sitting on the front porch and then tossed into the trash bin. This stopped my mail from piling up on a table.

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