How to Control Clutter in 5 Steps

Don't let this happen to you.
Don't let this happen to you.

I'll be honest with you- I'm a total pack rat.

In every useless object, I see potential for a craft, a project, or a wacky utility (I once caught my neighbor throwing away a pile of landscaping rocks. I brought them home and made them into a CD rack). Despite my best intentions, clutter often gets out of hand and drives me crazy until I restore order. Here are my 5 favorite tips for more efficiency in the home:

Organized linen closet.
Organized linen closet.

1. Organize Your Linens

Get rid of your thin sheets that don't feel soft to the touch. Trim down your linen stash to two sets of sheets per bed. Keep sets together by stuffing a pillow case, a flat, and a fitted sheet into another pillow case. These "bags" are easy to see and grab without messing up your entire closet looking for a match.

2. Get the Junk Out of the Junk Drawer

Reserve the "junk drawer" for everyday items like scissors, rubber bands, and snack bag clips. Take out duplicates (you don't need 3 rolls of tape) and buy a compartmentalized tray to organize what's left into groups.

3. Tame Whatever's Living Under the Bathroom Sink

Take everything out and start anew. Add a shelf, which will enable you to see everything. Get a small back-of-the-door rack to store things like sponges, cleaning sprays you use a lot, and rubber gloves.

Clean and streamlined recipe book.
Clean and streamlined recipe book.

4. Weed Out that Pile of Recipes

This is my soft spot- I read so many recipes, then shove them in a box and forget about them. Take all of your ripped-out magazine pages, clippings, and notecards and organize them in a 3 ring binder, separated by tabs according to the category (eg. desserts, winter soups, summer salads, etc.). Use plastic page protectors to make them kitchen-safe.

Or: Take photos of the recipes with your digital camera or telephone and keep them in a folder on your computer.

5. Get Intimate with your Underwear

Throw out anything with holes, that doesn't fit anymore, or that you haven't worn in the past 6 months. Sort everything out by type- sportsbras, socks, hoisery, underwear- and keep them in open boxes designed specifically for that purpose. This will keep everything organized and allow you to see what you have. If you have space, dedicate one drawer to socks and underwear, and another drawer to bras, stockings, etc.

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