How To Control Clutter

Clutter is a homemaker's worst enemy. Not only does it give a disorganized and messy look to your home, it also wastes valuable time and space. Few of us have the time to be sorting through all the clutter on our desks, in our purses, and in our living areas, every time we try to go somewhere or do something. A few minutes of organization will go a long way in saving your sanity and tidying up your home. Here are a few tips to help you eliminate clutter and get back on the right track.

  1. Determine your clutter areas and the things that generally collect in that spot. Is your clutter by a telephone or by the computer? Do you have a certain drawer that catches everything? What sort of things are you finding in the bottom of the drawers, on window ledges or stuck in the gap between the canisters? Is it old mail, burned out Christmas lights from last year, or finishing nails for the project that is still undone? Knowing what it is that causes your clutter and where it accumulates will help you figure out what is needed to correct the problem long-term.
  2. Sort through the trouble spots and throw out anything that you don't need. Be ruthless about this. You do not need to save Junior's soccer shoes from two years ago. That old calendar with the pictures you like so well is only taking up space. Throw it away along with all the sticky notes with the scribbled phone numbers that have no names beside them. Once you have gone through everything and have a clear idea of what you need to actually keep, it is time to move to the next step.
  3. Determine what you will need to organize the hot spots.
    • Baskets are lovely for holding most anything. You can buy them in colors to match your decor or you can get them lined in linen for a clean, fresh look. Children's books, current magazines, and toys all store nicely in baskets. You can use little baskets for your desktop. A small basket for pens and another for bills is a great way to keep the desktop organized while still giving it that decorative touch.
    • Purchase some inexpensive letter holders, and drawer organizers to keep things aligned and in their place.
    • Buy picture frames for those stray photos and to display the children's awards and certificates.
  4. Get creative and think outside the box. This part is the fun part. Do you have a beautiful old cookie jar that has never held a cookie? Display it by your kitchen stove with cooking utensils inside.

    That cloth basket you thought you had to have to hold all your scrapbooking supplies now rests unused on the shelf. Reinvent it by using it on your desktop. The slots that used to hold your scrapbooking paper can now be used for school forms and household bills. The many pockets lining the outside can now house pens, the stapler, calculator, scotch tape and sticky notes.

    The turnstile utensil holder in the kitchen can be used to organize your sewing supplies.

    That beautiful makeup box that your daughter got for Christmas can be used to store Polly Pocket clothes and accessories. With all its little drawers and flip out compartments, it makes an excellent storage place for all those tiny shoes, pillows, and rubber clothes.

  5. Put collectibles in glass cabinets. This will not only protect them from breaking, but it will also save time when it comes to dusting the pieces. Things stored behind glass don't need to be washed or dusted nearly as often as things set in the open.
  6. Make use of shadow boxes for displaying your old things. If your dresser drawers are cluttered with your grown child's baby shoes, your hospital bracelet from the birth, and that monogrammed child's tea pot, then a shadowbox becomes the perfect place to put these things. Arrange them on the little shelves, gluing them in place with a glue gun or tacking them down. Then give the shadow box to your adult child for a Christmas present. She will be delighted and you will have found a beautiful use for those baby items. You can also use this idea for storing and displaying your wedding bouquet, garter, and invitation.
  7. Lastly, stay on top of things. There's nothing worse than spending time and energy organizing only to find things all mixed up and out of place a week later. If something isn't working, change it. Arrange and rearrange to find the best fit for the way you live and use the space. Don't be afraid to organize and reorganize until everything works for you.

You will be surprised at how easy it is to get organized and to stay organized when you spend just a little time and money on the things needed to control clutter in your life.


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