Minimizing Clutter

It can really be annoying if your home is cluttered and you want to tackle it, but have no idea how to organize clutter. If you let clutter get the best of you, basic cleaning tasks like dusting and vacuuming often get neglected. If you’ve let clutter overtake your house, then trying to de-clutter it will be a chore in itself, leaving no time or energy to clean everything else. That said, some clutter-control methods can be a pain to keep up with.

The number one source of household clutter is paper. There are several different types of clutter, such as newspapers, work you’ve brought home, or homework, but it can all be organized with a bit of creative thinking. Sort your mail as soon as you receive it. Put a trashcan at the entrance to your house so you can trash junk mail before it even enters the house. Make sure bills get paid by placing them in a special “to do” file immediately after retrieving them from the mail. This “to-do” basket should be conveniently located near whatever it is you use to pay your bills, be it a phone, computer, or envelopes and stamps. Put important papers in a special file right away rather than leaving them for later, because life has a way of making sure you won’t get back to them until they’re a huge pile of clutter. If you bring your work home, do the same thing. Separate important papers from the rest right away and put them in a special “to do” area. Some people use garbage cans that can be stored out of sight in a kitchen cabinet. Placing a bin for old newspapers beside the garbage pail is an excellent idea. That way, you can take care of the garbage and recyclables in one trip.

Parents are well aware of the endless stream of paper that comes home with their kids. It is just as important to organize clutter coming from your kids as your own. Parents face a dilemma: keep all their child’s creations, or get rid of them like they would any other clutter. Keep a plastic storage bin or closet handy when you empty your child’s backpack each day so the contents go directly into storage without cluttering your home. Use this designated area for important stuff, then trash the other things you’ve decided not to keep. Get a large bin that can be used as a long-term storage location for your child’s precious creations.

If you want maximum control of other types of clutter, follow these simple guidelines. Do you plan on using this item again? Don’t lie to yourself. If a year has gone by without the item being used, strongly consider getting rid of it. If it’s still in good condition, you might want to sell it or donate it to charity. If you don’t use an item often and you’re not sure whether to toss it, put it in storage for six months. If you haven’t used it by then, you probably never will, so toss it. Put seasonal items in a convenient storage space such as an attic or basement. Stackable storage bins are a great investment since they can be used as drawers. I really hate it when I buy an out-of-season item on sale or fail to put away a seasonal item with everything else; then I have to sort through all the junk to put it away properly. Also, having clear drawers makes it easy to locate seasonal decorations when the time comes. Broken, damaged, or stained items should be trashed immediately. Do this for everything you own, not just seasonal items. You’ll most likely just spend time and energy avoiding something that ought to have been thrown out anyway.