25 ways to clear clutter
Getting organized can sometimes seem like an insurmountable task. Turn messy areas into tidy, stylish spaces with this list of 25 tips that are guaranteed to help clear clutter and keep it away.
1 Identify problem areas: Take "before" pictures of each room to help identify exactly what needs to be cleared away and which storage solutions might work for each space.
2 The linen closet: Tame trouble amongst your linens and things by organizing and separating items with the help of canisters, baskets and adjustable shelving. Folding all items neatly and arranging each shelf according to room will also help clear clutter in the linen closet.
3 Organize your mind: Trying to keep the clutter under control is hard enough for even the most organized individual. Add the extra stress of life-on-the-go and it's easy to lose your mind. Keep a pocket-sized notebook handy and jot down daily to-dos, thoughts and plans. At the end of the day, revisit what you've written and organize appropriately, adding items to a grocery list or activities to a calendar for example.
4 Be prepared: Arrange areas based on need and what activities and tasks take place on a regular basis. For example keep hats, gloves and slippers in a basket in the closet near the front foyer so you'll be cold-weather ready in a jiffy when you head out or come inside.
5 Extra storage: Create storage space in areas that were previously unused. Under the bed and in the front hall will benefit from space-saving additions. Consider a bed frame with shelving underneath in the bedroom and a seating bench with built-in cupboards in the foyer.
6 Baskets: Versatile and sturdy baskets can help you clear clutter on the cheap. Buy a few in the same size and colour to be displayed in multiples.
7 Jumble of jewelry: Untangling your necklaces and bracelets or hunting for that matching earring can be tedious and tiresome. Use artful hanging jewelry stands and beautiful boxes to organize your special sparklers. Separating expensive and cheap pieces as well as silver and gold items will further cut down on the clutter.
8 A family affair: Get the whole family in on the act by assigning individual, stackable cubbies in one designated area. Any random, out-of-place items you may come across can be placed in the appropriate cubby. Once a cubby is full, it's time to clear it out and get organized.
9 Declutter keepsakes: Artfully organize small mementoes like pictures and cards by creating a pretty wood and glass display box. If you prefer to conceal your keepsakes, an organized file folder with appropriately labeled tabs is a handy place to keep these memories.
10 Bonus storage: Hang hooks and over-the-door organizers to the backs of cupboards and doors to create extra room for accessories, towels, etc.
11 Donation hamper: Keep a box or bag handy and place gently used items, as you come across them, inside. When it's full, donate it!
12 Inbox: Whether it's in the kitchen, office or front hall, the mail can pile up. Create a central inbox for all the mail to keep around-the-house paper clutter to a minimum.
13 Paperless recipe: We all love cookbooks but how many recipes do we really need? Scan your favourite recipes and find others online, create a folder on the computer and save them all in one handy place. Not tech savvy? No problem. Print or tear out your favourite recipes from books and magazines and store them in clear plastic pockets in a binder. Voila! Your own homemade, unique-to-you cookbook. Don't forget to donate or recycle the old books and magazines when you're done.
14 Regulating receipts: A tabbed wallet or envelope is a useful tool to help conquer the clutter associated with bills. This keeps your bag free from all those loose bits of paper that always seem to float around and helps with budgeting.
15 Sustainable shopping sacks: Reduce your dependence on plastic by diligently remembering to bring a reusable bag with you when shopping. Place concealed hooks close to your keys or grocery list, to hang your eco-friendly carry-all.
16 Wonderful white: Buy all-white linens and towels. A stack of white towels creates a sophisticated spa look in the bathroom. Plus, white is easy to match and clean.
17 Multi-task cleaning: Watching TV is usually a relaxing time but who likes to sit through all those annoying commercials? Stay on top of organizing by sorting through drawers during commercial breaks.
18 Chaotic cords: The areas underneath the desk in the home office or behind the entertainment unit are often a snarl of cords. Take the time to figure out which cord belongs to what and use colour-coded ID tags to sort through the confusion.
19 Holiday decor: Organize holiday decorations by boxing items by holiday. Instead of dismantling centrepieces and wreaths, carefuly wrap the item in tissue or bubble wrap and cover with a plastic bag. Label each box and store in one location.
20 Neat nightstand: Declare clutter hot spots such as front entryways and nightstands a clutter-free zone. Limit the number of books, magazines and accessories vying for space and attention. If you don't have a nightstand with a drawer, use a basket or tray to keep organized.
21 Routine clean: Set aside a few moments, whether it's five or 45 every day, to clear clutter. Set a timer or alarm so you don't forget and concentrate on one area per daily session.
22 Fresh freezers: How often do you clean your freezer? Sometimes we banish food to this cold oasis, then promptly forget about it. Keep an updated list of your freezer's contents so you know what you need, what you can keep and what needs to go in the garbage.
23 Be realistic: Know your organizing style. If you're naturally tidy then a lot of hidden, compartmentalized storage and minimal displays will be right for you. If you're more comfortable living in organized chaos then don't be afraid to show off what you've got. Spend time styling what you've organized, getting rid of and moving things around until you're satisfied with how everything looks.
24 Just say no: With the advent of the Internet you don't need to be taking in all those extra papers that create clutter. Resist the temptation to pocket brochures, flyers and menus. Instead, record the name and number on your phone or in your agenda book.
25 Laundry loss: Use a basket or bag to house single socks in the laundry room. At the end of the month, empty it and reunite the missing pairs.
Lead image courtesy of West Elm.