Tried-and-True Techniques for Tackling Your Home's Clutter

From Better Homes and Gardens

Every room has its own clutter challenges. Use this guide to identify and then eliminate the worst offenders around your home.

Make a central command center.

In a centrally located spot such as a kitchen, a small stretch of wall can offer a precious few inches for a family organization spot. Give each person their own slot.

Make your organization systems fun and attractive to use.

It’s so much easier to maintain an organization system if it’s one that you love to look at. Invest in attractive clips and hangers; choose a color scheme; and spend time thinking how your organization can and should be part of your decor.

Clean up electronics.

Cords, wires, remotes, gadgets: all the technological stuff in our lives can quickly overwhelm a room and your organization systems. Try grouping like items—all the remotes, for example—in one bin. Frequently used pieces should be placed in open-top containers. Items with less-frequent use—a printer, perhaps—can sometimes be placed in a drawer or behind a closed door to reduce the look of clutter.

Organize by person or function.

Bins, baskets, hooks and containers all lend themselves to a simple but underused organization technique: labeling. Handwritten or computer-generated, labels can quickly help you and your family sort, store and find what you need. 

Do a daily declutter.

One of the best and easiest ways to stay on top of your home’s organization is to spend a few minutes on it each day. That includes both public and private areas, including your oft-used living room and the floor of your closet. Put shoes away, straighten furniture and clear countertops for a home that looks and feels more organized.

Clear the floor.

It’s amazing the change in the feel and function of a room once the floor is clear: the clutter factor clears, and the visual distractions dissipate. Lots of things can be elevated even a few inches off the floor—nightstands or shelves, for example. This is also a good one to try in the garage.

Add portability.

It's a hassle to transport small things, such as cleaning bottles and supplies, from room to room. But grouping them together in a tote has multiple organization advantages. For starters, grouping like items together serves as a visual reminder when you need a re-stock. Second, a portable tote helps to cut down on clutter inside a cabinet. Lastly, keeping items well-organized and together means that moving them where they're needed is an easy job.

Divide drawers by height.

Built-in or added-on drawer dividers that take advantage of existing height are good ways to increase your organization options. The more you divide the drawer, the more you’ll help to reduce clutter by making what’s stashed inside visible and easily accessible.

Increase visibility.

Staying organized depends on knowing what you have and where it is; that way, you won’t purchase duplicates or waste time searching for what you need. Putting items on display is a great organizational technique to help achieve this goal.

Hide it.

Everyone has lots of stuff that is odd-sized or not that pretty to look at, but simple organizational tricks can help. For starters, covered boxes are a good way to corral items that shouldn’t or can’t be left loose, or those that are awkwardly sized. 

Create zones.

Zones are often used to refer to work areas, especially in a kitchen. But creating organization zones is a good technique to use, even in smaller spaces such as drawers and doors. Group contents by color, function or size.

Mix storage types.

Organization options are much more limited if you have just one type of storage—all drawers or open shelves, for example. The most clean-looking, hardworking spaces have a little bit of everything: baskets and bins to hide less visually pleasing elements, open shelves for easy access and higher-up storage for things that aren’t used as frequently.

Rotate items.

Even if you have the space, there's no need to cram all your possessions into a designated closet or dresser. For clothes especially, rotate out what you aren't in need of during a particular season. You'll reduce visual clutter and make it easier to stay on top of your organizational system.

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