10 Ways to Cut Clutter in Your Home
Mired in mess, fuss, and disarray? These quick hints for home organization can help you de-clutter fast.
Countless families are bedeviled by household clutter; the most common
clutter hot spots are children's bedrooms, home offices, attics, and garages,
professional organizers say. What does it take to create a clutter-free space?
Here are 10 key home organization strategies from three top organizers.
10 Tips for Organizing Your Home
Find a place for every item. One reason things pile up on
counters, tables, and floors is that they have no "home." "Make sure everything
lives somewhere," says Sharon Lowenheim, a professional organizer in New York
City. Storing items in the room where they're used helps ensure they get put
away when you're done, and usually it's best to store similar items together.
If it's something you use frequently, make sure the storage place is easy to
access. "If you need to reach to a high shelf and take down a turkey platter
just so you can return a bowl to its 'home,' odds are it's not going to get put
away very often," says Standolyn Robertson, a professional organizer in
Play clutter cop. The better you are about keeping things out
of your home, the less likely things will pile up inside. Take freebies. It's
nice to get a T-shirt or coffee mug, but will you really use it? Enjoy it? If
not, decline it. Or let's say you're a voracious reader. You could buy books --
but why not borrow (and return!) them from your public library? And take a
minute to opt out of mailings from credit card companies and other direct
marketers. Bottom line? Always look for ways to block unneeded items before
they cross your threshold.
Do some detective work. Periodically scan your home for clutter hot
spots, and spend some time figuring out why stuff accumulates there.
Often, it's not what you think. Take that pile of dishes in your kitchen sink.
"People often assume that dishes pile up because it's too much work to load the
dishwasher," says Robertson. "But lots of times it's that family members hate
unloading the dishwasher, and they hate that because it means having to open
the cabinet to put away plastic containers -- and those plastic containers
always rain down on them." Once you understand the problem, you'll find it easy
to devise a solution.
Hold off on container shopping. Clutter victims often think the
solution is to stock up on organizing products, so they head to the nearest
superstore and stock up on bins and boxes. Big mistake. "People love to go out
and buy containers, but getting organized does not start out with a shopping
trip," says Robertson. She recommends shopping for storage items only
after you've done some de-cluttering -- to understand the scope of the
problem, the specific cause, and an appropriate solution.