Simplify Your Stuff and Organize Your Home’s Clutter Hot Spots
Imagine you walk in the door with an armload of groceries and trip over several shoes. Red-faced, you vow, “That’s it! I’m going to get organized!” It’s the same promise you had made the previous month while searching through your kitchen junk drawer for the “good” pair of scissors. But, now you’re determined. The clutter must go. Fast forward one year. You still can’t find the “good” scissors.
Many of us want to simplify our stuff. But even with the best intentions, it can be tough to get started on tasks like cleaning out closets. In this post, we guide you through a practical plan so you can finally declutter, organize, and maintain your home’s messiest places. We start with simple steps you can use to declutter any area. Then, we focus on specific tips for each clutter hot spot.
First, a word of advice: Simplifying takes time. You didn’t get disorganized in a day, and you won’t get completely organized in one day either. Tackle one spot at a time. You’ll feel more confident as you complete each space. Trust the process and stick with it. You’ll love how wonderful being organized makes you feel.
Step-by-Step Plan to Tidy Any Cluttered Area in Your Home
- Decide how you want the space to feel—for example, relaxing.
- Realize clutter doesn’t fit into your vision.
- Take everything out so you can process it all.
- Make three piles: keep, donate/sell, and trash.
- Think about what you haven’t used for a year or more.
- Move things that belong elsewhere.
- Sort and store like items together.
- Stand back and admire your accomplishment.
- Create a weekly cleaning routine to keep clutter from piling up.
Tips to Tidy the 7 Most Cluttered Places in Your Home
The kitchen is the hub of family activity and a high-traffic space. Therefore, it’s often the most cluttered room in the home. If you’ve ever had to move something from one flat surface to another just to start supper, you need to rethink how much stuff you’re storing in your kitchen.
First, clear everything off your counters except for a few items such as the coffee maker and knife block. Put away or eliminate everything you removed off of the counters. Throw away junk mail and put important papers on your desk. Try to store items close to where you use them. For example, put cooking utensils and spices near the range.
If you walk into your pantry and see several boxes of pasta but there’s not a jar of sauce in sight, it’s time to declutter and get organized. In addition to food, the pantry is also the perfect place to store appliances you want but don’t use often like your electric roaster or food dehydrator.
- Utilize vertical space by installing sturdy metal or wood shelves.
- Place products in labeled clear food containers.
- Lower cabinetry with doors can eliminate visual clutter.
Paper clutter piles up quickly and causes a lot of stress. Discard junk mail immediately. Put bills and other important documents into your inbox (this can be a simple cardboard box to start) and deal with the contents weekly. File papers and receipts into labeled folders so when tax time rolls around, you won’t be dealing with a year’s worth of stuff in several really long days.
Families tend to dump (and stumble over) everything in their entryway. Since your entry is the first place people see when they walk through the door, it makes that critical first impression. Make it a welcoming, safe space with these tips:
- Keep the floor clear and clean with a shoe rack and a drip tray underneath.
- Take advantage of vertical space with hooks and shelves for coats and bags.
- Corral items like gloves, chargers, and the dog leash in baskets or bins.
Too many items on your bathroom counter can make it hard to relax after a long day. Go through your products. If you have multiples of the same items already open, combine them into one and get rid of the empty containers. Wind up cords and put hair tools away. Stash personal care items in baskets behind cabinet doors to keep your counters clear.
According to clutter organizer and bestselling author Peter Walsh, “We wear 20 percent of our clothes 80 percent of the time.” That means we’re all holding on to way too much. If you’ve ever dreaded opening your closet for fear of being consumed by a tidal wave of stuff, it’s time to clean your closets. Honor yourself and the items you surround yourself with by only keeping things that give you joy.
- Remove any items that no longer fit, you’ll never use, or you do not love.
- Donate items. Think about how happy the things will make someone else.
- If it’s sentimental items, like photos, select your favorite and frame it.
When you’re organizing your garage, think about the space like a grocery store. Make the most of the perimeter. Designate the center of your garage as off limits. There’s a lot of storage space on those walls: think ceiling hooks, shelves, and pegboards. Putting limits on your storage space helps you let go of the things that no longer serve you.
Clutter slowly piles up until it’s out of control. By taking small, deliberate steps, you can clear the chaos from your home. We discussed seven of the typical clutter-prone places in your home. But, since every home and family is unique, your clutter challenges may be different. Stuff also tends to accumulate in the bedroom, playroom, laundry and family rooms.
We hope this post gave you helpful tips on how and where you can start tacking your clutter. It won’t be easy, but we have faith you’re up for the challenge. Best wishes for an organized home that brings you joy.
Walsh, P. (2007). It’s All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff. New York City, NY: Free Press.