In the quest for a clutter-free home, the “one touch rule” stands out as a simple yet powerful strategy. This rule suggests that you handle items only once, putting them away immediately rather than setting them down temporarily.

By adhering to this principle, you can effectively prevent clutter buildup and save time in the long run. This article explores the one touch rule in detail, offering practical organising tips and insights into how this rule can transform your home.

What is the One Touch Rule?

The one touch rule is a straightforward concept: when you pick something up, you deal with it immediately and properly. This means if you pick up a piece of mail, you either file it, trash it, or deal with it right then. This approach prevents items from being set aside, forgotten, and ultimately contributing to clutter.

The Origins of the One Touch Rule

The one touch rule is often attributed to productivity consultant Ann Gomez, who emphasises the importance of immediate action to prevent clutter and boost productivity. Similarly, professional organiser Peter Walsh incorporates this rule into his decluttering strategies, while Marie Kondo’s KonMari method aligns with the same principle of immediate organisation.

The Benefits of the One Touch Rule

Eliminating Clutter

By ensuring that every item you touch is put away immediately, the decluttering process becomes more manageable. This prevents the accumulation of unnecessary items on countertops, tables, and other surfaces.

Saving Time

Implementing the one touch rule can save you significant time. Instead of repeatedly moving items from one place to another, you deal with them once and correctly, streamlining your home organisation efforts.

Reducing Stress

A cluttered home can contribute to feelings of stress and overwhelm. By maintaining a tidy, organised space through the one touch rule, you create a more serene and comfortable environment, promoting a sense of calm and well-being.

How to Implement the One Touch Rule

Start Small

Begin by applying the one touch rule in a small area of your home, such as your desk or a single countertop. As you become more comfortable with the practice, gradually expand it to other areas.

Create Designated Spaces

Ensure that every item in your home has a designated place. This makes it easier to put things away immediately, as you know exactly where they belong.

Set Clear Intentions

When you pick something up, make a conscious decision about what you will do with it. This mindfulness helps reinforce the habit of dealing with items immediately.

Organising Tips for Success

Declutter Regularly

Regular decluttering sessions can complement the one touch rule, ensuring that you only keep items that are necessary and loved. Consider using Mobile Skips’ services for larger decluttering projects to efficiently remove unwanted items from your home.

Simplify Your Space

Adopting a minimalist living approach can make it easier to maintain a clutter-free home. By reducing the number of possessions you have, you simplify the task of keeping everything organised.

Use Visual Reminders

Place reminders around your home to reinforce the one touch rule. Sticky notes or visual cues can help keep the principle top of mind until it becomes a habit.

Common Challenges and Solutions


One of the biggest challenges in implementing the one touch rule is overcoming procrastination. Combat this by setting small, achievable goals and rewarding yourself for progress.

Lack of Designated Spaces

If items don’t have a designated place, it can be difficult to put them away immediately. Take time to organise your home and ensure everything has a proper spot.


It’s easy to revert to old habits. Use alarms or reminders to prompt you to follow the one touch rule, especially in the beginning stages.

Case Studies: Success Stories

Transforming a Busy Household

One family in Melbourne successfully implemented the one touch rule in their busy household. By teaching their children to put away toys and school items immediately, they significantly reduced daily clutter and created a more organised home environment.

Streamlining a Home Office

A freelance writer from Sydney transformed her cluttered home office by adopting the one touch rule. By immediately filing papers and organising supplies, she created a productive and serene workspace.

Practical Applications of the One Touch Rule

The Kitchen: A Hub of Activity

The kitchen is often the heart of the home and can quickly become a cluttered mess. By applying the one touch rule here, you can maintain a clean and functional space. For instance, when you unload groceries, immediately put them away in their designated spots. When cooking, clean as you go by washing utensils and wiping counters after each use. This not only keeps your kitchen tidy but also makes it more pleasant to work in.

Managing Paperwork

Paperwork is a common source of clutter in many homes. By following the one touch rule, you can prevent piles of paper from accumulating. When you collect your mail, sort it immediately. Recycle junk mail, file important documents, and address any urgent items on the spot. This approach ensures that you stay on top of your paperwork and avoid overwhelming stacks.

Children’s Toys

Children’s toys can quickly take over a home if not managed properly. Teach your children the one touch rule by encouraging them to put their toys away immediately after playing. Designate specific storage areas for different types of toys, making it easier for kids to follow the rule. This habit not only keeps your home organised but also teaches children valuable skills in tidiness and responsibility.

Expert Tips for Mastering the One Touch Rule

Ann Gomez’s Insights

Productivity consultant Ann Gomez, who is often credited with popularising the one touch rule, emphasises the importance of immediate action. According to Gomez, the key to success is making quick decisions about where items belong and dealing with them right away. This reduces the chance of clutter accumulating and helps maintain an organised space.

Peter Walsh’s Approach

Professional organiser Peter Walsh advocates for the one touch rule as part of his broader decluttering strategies. Walsh encourages individuals to make swift decisions about items and put them away immediately. This approach not only keeps spaces tidy but also fosters a habit of continuous organisation.

Marie Kondo’s Method

While Marie Kondo, the renowned organising consultant, doesn’t explicitly use the term “one touch rule,” her KonMari method aligns closely with this principle. Kondo stresses the importance of having a designated place for every item and returning things to their proper locations after use. This ensures that your home remains clutter-free and organised.

Integrating the One Touch Rule into Daily Life

Morning Routine

Incorporate the one touch rule into your morning routine to set a productive tone for the day. For example, when you make your bed, ensure that all pillows and blankets are arranged neatly. When you finish breakfast, clean the dishes and wipe the table immediately. These small actions can have a significant impact on maintaining a tidy home.

Evening Wind-Down

Apply the one touch rule during your evening routine to create a peaceful end to your day. Put away any clothing, books, or electronics that are left out. By tidying up before bed, you wake up to a clean and organised space, which can improve your mood and productivity.

Family Involvement

Encourage your entire family to adopt the one touch rule. Create a culture of tidiness by making it a household habit. Hold regular family meetings to discuss the importance of the rule and how everyone can contribute. This collective effort ensures that everyone is on the same page and helps maintain a clutter-free home.

Overcoming Common Obstacles


One of the biggest hurdles to implementing the one touch rule is procrastination. Combat this by breaking tasks into smaller, more manageable steps. Set specific goals and reward yourself for achieving them. This makes the process less daunting and more achievable.

Lack of Storage Solutions

If your home lacks adequate storage, it can be challenging to follow the one touch rule. Invest in organisational tools such as bins, shelves, and hooks to create designated spaces for your belongings. This makes it easier to put items away immediately and maintain an organised home.

Habit Formation

Forming new habits takes time and consistency. Use visual reminders, such as sticky notes or alarms, to reinforce the one touch rule. Over time, this practice will become second nature, and you’ll find it easier to keep your home tidy.

Real-Life Examples

Cleaning the chaos in the kids bedroom.

Sarah’s Success Story

Sarah, a busy mother of three from Brisbane, struggled with maintaining an organised home. After learning about the one touch rule, she decided to implement it with her family. By teaching her children to put away their toys and school supplies immediately, Sarah noticed a significant reduction in clutter. Her home became more manageable, and her stress levels decreased.

Michael’s Home Office Transformation

Michael, a freelance graphic designer from Perth, faced challenges with keeping his home office organised. Papers, art supplies, and electronics often cluttered his workspace, affecting his productivity. By adopting the one touch rule, Michael began to immediately file papers, organise supplies, and clean his desk at the end of each day. This transformation not only improved his productivity but also made his home office a more pleasant place to work.

Tools and Resources

Mobile Skips

For larger decluttering projects, consider using Mobile Skips services. Whether you’re clearing out a garage or doing a major home clean-up, Mobile Skips can help you efficiently remove unwanted items, making it easier to maintain a clutter-free home.

Decluttering Guides

There are numerous online resources and guides available to help you implement the one touch rule and other organising tips. Websites like Apartment Therapy and Homes & Gardens offer practical advice and inspiration for maintaining an organised space.

Professional Help

If you find it challenging to get started, consider hiring a professional organiser. Experts like Ann Gomez and Peter Walsh offer valuable insights and personalised strategies to help you declutter and organise your home effectively.

Additional Tips for Mastering the One Touch Rule

Establish Daily Routines

Creating daily routines can help reinforce the one touch rule. For example, have a morning routine that includes making your bed and putting away any items used during breakfast. In the evening, spend a few minutes tidying up common areas and putting away any stray items. These small daily habits can prevent clutter from building up over time.

Declutter Seasonally

In addition to daily routines, schedule seasonal decluttering sessions. This can be an excellent time to assess your belongings and decide what to keep, donate, or discard. Using a service like Mobile Skips can make this process easier by providing convenient skip bins for waste removal. Regular decluttering ensures that you maintain a clutter-free home year-round.

Use Technology to Stay Organised

There are many apps and tools available that can help you stay organised and adhere to the one touch rule. Apps for task management, digital filing systems, and home inventory can keep you on track and remind you to deal with items immediately. Leveraging technology can simplify your home organisation efforts and make the one touch rule a seamless part of your routine.

The Psychological Benefits of a Clutter-Free Home

Reduced Stress and Anxiety

A cluttered home can contribute to feelings of stress and anxiety. By implementing the one touch rule and maintaining a tidy space, you create an environment that promotes relaxation and peace of mind. The act of putting things away immediately can also be therapeutic, providing a sense of accomplishment and control.

Improved Focus and Productivity

An organised space can significantly enhance your focus and productivity. When your environment is free of clutter, you can concentrate better and work more efficiently. This is particularly important for home offices, where a clear, organised workspace can boost your productivity and creativity.

Enhanced Well-Being

Living in a clutter-free home can positively impact your overall well-being. It creates a more pleasant and inviting space, allowing you to enjoy your home fully. The one touch rule helps you maintain this environment, contributing to a happier and healthier lifestyle.

Community and Environmental Impact

Encouraging Donations

One aspect of the one touch rule is deciding what to do with items you no longer need. Rather than discarding them, consider donating usable items to charities. This not only helps those in need but also promotes sustainability by reducing waste. Mobile Skips supports this approach by encouraging customers to donate items during their decluttering process.

Reducing Waste

By adopting the one touch rule and regularly decluttering, you can significantly reduce the amount of waste your household generates. Properly disposing of items and recycling whenever possible contribute to a healthier environment. Mobile Skips’ waste management services ensure that waste is handled responsibly, supporting your efforts to live sustainably.

Building a Clutter-Free Community

When you adopt the one touch rule, you can inspire others in your community to do the same. Share your success stories and tips with friends, family, and neighbours. By promoting a clutter-free lifestyle, you contribute to a more organised and harmonious community.

Overcoming Setbacks

Handling Sentimental Items

Sentimental items can be challenging to manage when following the one touch rule. Create a designated space for these items, such as a memory box or a special shelf. This allows you to keep cherished belongings without letting them contribute to clutter.

Staying Motivated

It’s natural to encounter setbacks when implementing new habits. Stay motivated by celebrating small victories and reminding yourself of the benefits of a clutter-free home. Regularly revisit your goals and adjust your routines as needed to stay on track.

Seeking Support

If you find it difficult to maintain the one touch rule on your own, seek support from friends, family, or professional organisers. Sometimes, a little encouragement and assistance can make all the difference in achieving your organisational goals.

Final Thoughts

Reflecting on Your Progress

Regularly reflect on your progress and the positive changes you’ve experienced by implementing the one touch rule. Take note of the improvements in your home’s organisation, your mental well-being, and your overall quality of life. This reflection can reinforce your commitment to maintaining a clutter-free home.

Adapting the Rule to Your Lifestyle

The one touch rule is versatile and can be adapted to fit your unique lifestyle and needs. Whether you’re a busy professional, a parent, or someone looking to simplify their life, this rule can be tailored to help you achieve your organisational goals.

Are you ready to transform your home into a clutter-free haven? Start implementing the one touch rule today and experience the benefits of a more organised, stress-free environment. For larger decluttering projects, consider using Mobile Skips to make the process easier and more efficient. With their convenient skip bins and commitment to responsible waste management, Mobile Skips can help you make room for what matters most.