When you walk into your home, do you see more clutter than you see flooring and countertops? This is a problem a lot of people deal with, so you’re certainly not alone. The problem is, clutter can sneak up on you and soon take over your home without you even realizing it. A pile of clothes here, some coloring books there, and you’ve got a recipe for a messy home! So what can you do to get rid of this clutter and take back your home? Rather then shoving everything into any open drawer you can find, make a plan.
1. Keep, Toss, Donate
Every good cleanup starts with make three piles: keep, toss, or donate. Before getting started, mentally prepare yourself for getting rid of things you haven’t touched in a while. For example, you might want to get rid of that lamp that’s been sitting in the corner of your living room for a year because it doesn’t work.
2. Give Up Emotional Attachments
If you have useless junk lying around your home just because it belonged to a family member or was special a long time ago, give it up. It can still be a special memory, but too many of these items lying around can crowd your house.
3. Go Room-by-Room
Does this sound like too big of a task to do? It might take a while, but if you go room-by-room, it’s going to be a lot less stressful. Start with any room that you feel needs the most help, such as the living room or kitchen, which are normally the first places people go when they visit. If you divide the work between these then you won’t get as overwhelmed and will be much more likely to make it through!
4. Get Rid of Junk Drawers
It’s important to have a spot for things like scissors and paper clips, but there shouldn’t be “junk drawers” all around your home. Clear these out and think about everything that goes in them from this point on to help avoid junk from building up.
5. Create Organized Areas
Once you have your donation bins sent away and your trash out to the curb, it’ll be time to get your space organized. Here are some tips for cleaning up the clutter that you want to have stick around:
Scan and electronically file as many papers as you can. This might take a while, but it will be well worth it with the amount of space you save. For the things that you can’t file, either invest in a filing cabinet or place a filing system into an empty cabinet drawer that’s already in your house. The last thing you should have is a bunch of papers sitting on top of each other gathering dust and getting lost. You’ll thank yourself down the road if you take the time to organize these the right way.
- Small Items:
When it comes to things like toys, toiletries, pens, paper, etc., it’s beneficial to have small storage areas set up around your home. For example, in a child’s room you could have cubby holders with fabric baskets in them to hold things like toys, socks, games, and other small items. In your living room you could have a wood basket that holds animal toys or even magazines, which is easy to access but still hidden away on a shelf. You could also invest in glass bins for things like cotton swabs, makeup applicators, and other toiletry items in the bathroom.
- Big Items:
If you have larger things that need somewhere to go, consider using storage solutions that are hidden underneath regular pieces of furniture. For example, there are many padded benches that you can use for extra seating space, but that open up so they can be used for storage as well. There are also ottomans, chairs, and poufs that open up for storage as well, making it easy to clean up clutter in just a few seconds.
6. Give Everything a “Home”
When it comes to keeping anything in your home, it should have an established “place to go” from the very start. If the area in which it goes is starting to get full (think of a packed full junk drawer in the kitchen), then go through that and toss, donate, or keep what is necessary. This is a great way to eliminate clutter all throughout the year rather than having to deal with it all at the same time.
7. Keep Storage Organized
Everyone needs storage for things like holiday decorations or kids projects, but this shouldn’t mean tossing everything into one bin and shoving it in the back of a closet. Instead, try getting clear storage bins that are each labeled for what they are to be used for. If you stack these on a shelf in the garage, it will be easy to access them and it’ll reduce the amount of “stuff” you have lying around the house. Most bins can be found on sale all throughout the year, so they’re an affordable way to get organized no matter how much stuff you have.
8. Get Your Family on Board
If you have a family that is also guilty of allowing clutter to build up, then talk to them about changing how things work. Show kids which bins their toys go into, show your spouse where the nail clippers go, and give everyone a tour of how storage works. When everyone makes an effort together, it will be much easier to keep things looking great.
9. Design Your Home
If you take pride in the way that your home looks, then you’re much more likely to keep the clutter away then let it take over. So, once you have things picked up and looking good, take time to decorate! Put up pictures, clean things up, and style the room with pieces of furniture. Even in your closet you should clean things up by folding anything in a drawer, putting shoes into individual containers (or sitting them next to each other), and hanging clothing up nicely. You will have a great sense of pride once everything is finished, and you’ll be much more likely to keep things cleaned up as well.
Commit to keeping your home clutter-free so you know you want to stick with it. If you always think of it as an “I’ll do it later” type of thing, then your home will be packed full of things you don’t want or need within the next few months. It’s easy to stay dedicated if you make it a priority every day.