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Tips for Getting a Handle on Household Clutter

Updated on February 13, 2012
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Has the approaching Spring season got you in the mood to start sprucing up around the house after a long, cold winter of accumulating stuff? If you are like me, you've looked around and said, "I need to get this place cleaned up and organized!" I hate clutter and I am a stickler for everything having a place. But, I do tend to get lazy, and before I know it, I have a pile of clutter that starts driving me crazy.

Being organized brings a sense of calm relief to a busy or chaotic lifestyle. Psychologically, when things are neat and orderly, we tend to feel much more in control of our surroundings and relaxed. Here are several tips to help you get a handle on the pile of clutter invading your home.

Closets

Most people don't have to worry about monsters hiding in their closets because there probably isn't enough space for one to fit. Closet spaces are notorious for accumulating clutter, and they should be organized properly for maximum functionality. No matter how big or small your closet, you will benefit from these closet organization ideas.

  • Start by getting rid of old clothes that don't fit anymore, as welll as those dated fashions from the previous decade. There are plenty of places to recycle and  donate these old clothes and you'll gain a lot of needed space.
  • If you don't have one already, install a second hanging rod a couple of feet below the main one. Hang the clothes you intend to wear most often on the top, and the less worn on the bottom. Using two rods basically doubles your clothing capacity within the closet.
  • Purchase a few cheap, plastic see-through containers for items such as shoes, sweaters and other smaller accessories. The reason for see-through is so that you can easily identify what you're after without having to pull out anything unnecessarily. A good rule of thumb is to position items you use most frequently somewhere between shoulder and waist high. Most major department stores carry several types of closet organizer kits that can range from simple plastic containers to complete organization systems that include shelving and drawer spaces.


Kitchens

Another clutter hotspot is the kitchen, and especially kitchen counters. Counters are wonderful for collecting just about everything from junk mail to hammers and nails. It's too easy to set something down there 'temporarily'. The problem is, we never pick the stuff back up and put it away. We simply continue to add to the clutter and it gets out of control.

Kitchens are a place for cooking and preparing meals. You need the counter space to be able to work. Set aside one specific drawer to be a "junk drawer". Even though you are giving up that small space, it is a compromise that will pay off by giving you back your kitchen counters and will present a more orderly appearance.

Kitchen cabinets can usually also benefit from a simple organization makeover. Putting like items together, such as glasses, bowls, pots and pans and tupperware, will make it much easier to find what you need when preparing meals or entertaining guests. You can also free up lots of cabinet space by trimming down stacks of bowls, plastic cups and coffee mugs. There really is no reason to have 20 coffee mugs and multiple stacks of plastic cups for the kids. Less dishware means having to wash dishes more often, which in turn, leads to less dirty dishes on the counters and in the sink.

Garages

I'm sure you have seen those garages that are so packed with stuff, it's nearly impossible to find anything if you needed to. Many families are forced to leave their cars outside in the elements because they have accumulated so much clutter, there is no way to get it in the garage. It's time to take back the garage for the car!

Garage storage systems come in many different styles and are an outstanding way to free up large amounts of space. Chances are, your garage is loaded with tons of stuff you never use. At least once every six months you should go through and weed out any unwanted, unneeded or damaged goods. You could probably make a few extra bucks by having a garage sale or selling it off on Craigslist.

Installing a simple shelving unit and a couple of pegboards will help you readily organize tools and yard equipment, and leave you with plenty of room for the family auto. The next time it pours down rain or the temperature drops below freezing, you'll be glad you did.

How to Declutter Your Home

Declare Your Home a Clutter Free Zone

Effective home organization can help to reduce stress, as well as bring on a sense of contentment when you know where everything is. The added bonus is the comfort of being able to get to what you need when you need it the most. Just like anything else that is worthwhile, it takes discipline to keep a clutter free home. If you are not as obsessive-compulsive as I am, then simply set aside a day or two each month to maintain your organization plan and tidy up any loose ends. Pretty soon it will become habit and you'll wonder why you didn't declutter much sooner!

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    • Lissa101 profile image

      Lissa101 

      8 years ago from New Zealand

      Thats a great hub, I especially like the information about the psychological aspect of it. I live with a total "clean freak", so its quite interesting to learn it can be a way of controlling your environment as I havent thought of it that way before. Thanks.

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