Clutter control tips from our readers. Post your ideas!
Yup, that's me. I'm a 53 YO male packrat from a long line of packrats (on my Mom's side). This fact of course results in a lot of clutter. There are a lot of great tips here but one just occured to me and I intend to start today. The plan is this: set aside a certain period of time every day to methodically sort, store, donate, or toss the stuff.
The best place to start would seem to be the storage areas themselves; closets, the basement, attic, garage, shelves and pantry, etc. You can't put anything 'up' unless 'up' has room for it. Then perhaps by starting at one corner of one room and working out from there, my paths will expand until they're not paths anymore, but large areas of open space.
I'll probably start with an hour a day and see how that works out. Since there is no one here but my cat and me, blaming it on the kids (or getting them to help clean up) is not an option. However, an advantage to this is that it doesn't matter how long it takes to do it. Nobody suffers from my clutter but me (and the cat, who doesn't seem to care).
Turn your "clutter" into cash by selling clothes, collectibles, etc on ebay! Too much trouble? Set a goal of a major garage sale at least once a year and donate remainder to charity. I make a LOT of money selling "junk" each year.
When shopping, live by the mantra "Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without".
Egg cartons, tops cut off, make good organizers in drawers for little things. Earrings, safety pins, jewelry, keys, etc. For larger things, entirely fill a drawer with cut-off cereal or other boxes. Makes nice compartments and you can customize them to whatever you plan to put in them. Underwear drawer--just cut cardboard "dividers" fit to size. The clothing will keep them upright. Also you can use bowls from the thrift store for the "junk" drawer. One for keys, one for bread ties, one for popsicle sticks, whatever you save for later use.
Zip-lock baggies make nice organizers for your purse, suitcase, briefcase. Baskets are nice too, for catch-alls in the bathroom or on your dresser, such things as hair barrettes, small bottles of cosmetics, clippers, things like that. I keep a plastic desk drawer organizer on TOP of my desk. A little slot for paperclips, staple puller, note paper, calculator, etc. On the countertop, a large vase holds your most-used utensils. Only keep the ones you use frequently in here, the rest go into the drawer, so they don't just sit around and get dirty. I built a little shelf, VERY simple, top & 2 sides, to give myself more room over my kitchen countertop. Now there's 2 layers there with more workspace.
Some of your stuff looks good organized into a "collection". This way you get to show it off and enjoy it instead of considering it clutter. For instance, a pile of books on a coffee table. Keep them dusted. Maybe tie them with a ribbon and a silk flower on top. Baskets of yarn are especially nice to look at. Seashells too. Green or blue glass. and you can store smaller things in jars and make an arrangement. Hang shoe pocket organizers on the backs of bedroom doors, or make some out of fabric like old jeans, they're not hard to make. Boxes, shoe boxes especially, can fit into the most amazing places, like under the bed or behind the couch. Label everything if you do this. Mostly, just go around your house and see what's causing you the grief, then figure out what it would fit into, and whether you need to hide it or not. Now go have some fun, you have lots of work to do! LOL.
Put hooks on the wall near your door for keys. You will always know where to find them. Or you can keep a small tray near the door to put your key, change and wallet.
If you save magazines or catalogs, a great way to keep them neat is to save laundry detergent boxes. Clean them well, Cut them off at an angle. I remove the lid, make a mark that goes from the top of the box on one side to about the middle of the box on the other side. Make a mark on each side, and cut this section out of the box. You can spray paint them or cover with Contact paper. I make one for each magazine or catalog company and sort them. One box will hold several magazines or catalogs. Set them up on a bookshelf for neat storage and easy access.
Harlean from Arkansas
Before you buy something- analyze the reasoning behind the purchase.
Just a great deal?
Mad at spouse?
The 'in' thing to have at the moment?
Just feeling blue and need a pick me up?
You can honestly use it/need it?
Then go home. Go back the next day and purchase if the item is really a valid purchase. Then go home and get rid of something that you don't really use/wear any longer. Believe it or not, this kind of thinking will help to control the clutter and the budget!
One word - Flylady!! As she says - you can't organize clutter, you can only get rid of it. I can't say my house is clutter free but just reading the daily reminders helps me do a little at a time. Check out the website.
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