In the home and office departments, clutter translates into chaos. While there are varying degrees clutter, at its core clutter is the stuff around your environment that hasn’t quite found its home. Whether it’s a million knickknacks sitting on a shelf or old newspapers piled floor to ceiling, clutter screams disorganization and mess.
Removing clutter is the first step in good housekeeping. With clutter present, it makes it difficult to organize and clean. Clutter in excess can also pose safety hazards and make navigating the home or office difficult. It can also attract bugs and pests, since it’s nearly impossible to properly clean cluttered areas.
Clutter can be cleared in several ways but once it’s cleared, the organization and cleaning can begin.
To effectively clear clutter create three piles. Pile one should be designated the trash pile, pile two, the giveaway pile and pile three, the keep pile.
The Trash Pile
The trash pile should consist of items that need to be thrown away. The items may actually be trash or could be papers and other items not suitable to give away.
The Give Away Pile
The giveaway pile should consist of items will be given away. These items could be clothing that no longer fits, books, trinkets or other items that are taking up space where they don’t belong.
The Keep Pile
The keep pile will have items that you want to keep but commit to putting away in an appropriate place. These items could include important paperwork, new items that never got properly put away or select sentimental items you’d like to appropriately display.
It can be tempting to put everything in the keep pile, but don’t. A good rule of thumb is that if you haven’t used an item in a year and you haven’t been missing it or actively looking for it, designate it to another pile.
Once your trash pile is complete, take it to the trash. When you have your items together that you’ll be giving away, make arrangements to do so quickly. Once you have the items together you plan on keeping, the next step is to store or display them appropriately.
Tackling the clutter in a home or office can be a tremendous task. Instead of trying to get it all done at once, commit to taking it one room at a time. If one room seems like too much, commit to clearing the clutter from a specific area, like you’re desk or kitchen counter.
10 Commonly Cluttered Areas
While clutter can accumulate in every area of the home or office, there are definitely a few places it’s more commonly found. Evaluate these areas in your home or office and commit to clearing the clutter one area at a time.
- The kitchen counters. Kitchen counters can be a dropping zone for just about anything. Mail, newspaper, shopping bags and just about anything you carry into the home may find its way to the kitchen counters. Keep an easily accessible trash can in the kitchen and place a decorative basket on the counter or anywhere else that’s convenient. Before you drop everything on the kitchen counter, throw away the trash and toss items you need to deal with later in the basket. Clear the basket before the end of each day.
- Your office desk. Anything paper is likely to call you desktop home. A simple filing rack can quickly fix that. Label each level and toss each piece of paper into the appropriate level. Levels can be simply labeled in and out, indicating things you need to deal with and things you’ve already dealt with or can be labeled more specifically like bills, mail, receipts and letters.
- The entry way. The entry way is likely to be filled with stray shoes, jackets and bags. An entry way storage system can solve most of your clutter troubles. Opt for a bin system that hangs on the wall and has coat hooks or go for a standalone coat rack and storage bench. If that’s too fancy, opt or a simple basket to toss shoes into. Keeping the entry way clear not only looks good, doing so can prevent trips and falls.
- Bathroom cabinets. If everything you open your bathroom cabinet something falls out, it’s time to address the clutter. Remove expired medications or personal care products and toss anything you simply don’t use.
- Nightstands and tables. Books you really want to read but never have the time to, slips of paper from your pockets and other items that you meant to deal with, but never got around to, are likely to land on your nightstand. Take action and clear your nightstand off and out.
- The kitchen table. If you haven’t been able to sit around the table and share a meal with the family because clutters overrun it, sort the items on your table into trash, give away and keep piles and deal with them accordingly.
- Closets. If you can’t find your favorite pair of slacks or your closet looks like a tornado went through it, there’s too much going on in there. Remove items you don’t wear or that don’t fit and hang your items by outfit or garment type. Use plastic storage bins with lids to store seasonal clothes. Write on a piece of paper what’s in each bin and slide the paper down the side of the bin for easy identification.
- Hall tables. Hall tables are asking to be filled with content. Try placing a decorative bowl to catch keys or placing a basket underneath the table to toss things that need to be brought to their rightful place.
- Laundry rooms. From missing socks to tools, laundry rooms seem to be a natural place to clutter up. Hooks to hang items, shelves to organize materials and baskets to sort clothes can help prevent the laundry room from becoming unmanageable.
- Windowsills. Windowsills seem to scream decorate me, especially ones that house bay windows. Instead of cluttering them with miscellaneous trinkets, opt for a simple decorative piece that’s easy on the eyes.