You don’t have to be Marie Kondo to want a simpler, less cluttered life.
If you look around your house and all you see is stuff—and you’re not sure why you even have it any more—it might be time to take a step back and reevaluate.
There are three main types of people who tend to get cluttered:
- Too Busy = Too Many Extras: Buying items you already own because you don’t have a system for them or the time to search.
- Constant Worrier = Must Save Everything: Concerned you might need something in the future, so you’re always keeping stuff just in case.
- Overwhelmed in Life = Overwhelmed at Home: Not sure where to begin and just living with the chaos.
No matter what group you fall into, you can make progress on your clutter problem with these handy tips:
1) Use Organizers
Baskets, containers and organizers can help you get that random loose stuff that bugs you and place it in a neater, more compact space. Different spaces around your house can use different types of organizers to help you corral the mess.
Your entryway getting cluttered with shoes?
Invest in a big basket where you can store all of them. Bonus points if it can slide under a nearby table or sit out of the way neatly. It’ll help your entryway look way tidier for visitors while still allowing.
That home office starting to overflow with papers? Get a multilevel tray system so you can put paper in the categories it should be in, instead of sitting in stacks everywhere. Go up, not out.
What about the kitchen? Old tin cans, mason jars and other cheap and available containers are easily used to sort out extra kitchen gadgets.
Or the bathroom and closet, where plastic containers of various sizes can help you keep things sorted and clear. When in doubt, find a container. It’ll help you keep stuff out of the way, organized, and ready for use.
2) Take an Objective Look at Your Stuff
The first step in ridding yourself of things you don’t need is figuring out what you actually use.
Think about it …
- Have you used the item in the last year?
- Are you using it right now?
- Are you saving it because you think you might need it in the future?
- Do you like it, or do you no longer have interest?
- How is it adding value?
- Is it weighing you down?
- Is it broken or unusable?
If you’re not using the item, you’re not going to use it, and you don’t love it, it’s probably time to pitch it in the garbage—be ruthless.
The chances that you’ll actually have to use that jar you’ve been saving for two years or fix that old iPod are slim and none. Get rid of them and see how much more space it opens up and how much cleaner your home looks.
3) Do the ‘Trash Bag Tango’
Peter Walsh, organizing guru and author of Lose the Clutter, Lose the Weight, recommends this method to help you actually get rid of the items that are causing the clutter.
Every day for a week, get two trash bags, then take a walk through your house.
In one bag, put things that you need to throw away. In the second, put things that still have some use—maybe for a garage or yard sale, a local thrift store or a friend who could use those old clothes that no longer fit you so well.
Only spend about 10 minutes.
If you do that every day for a week, you’ll begin to see a notable difference in how cluttered your home is. Longer than that, you’ll start to really be on top of things.
Assuming the problem is more the amount of stuff you have than the way it’s organized, this will help you make a big dent in the trail of extraneous stuff that tends to build up behind us over time.
4) Check the Pantry Before You Shop
This sounds like a simple idea, but you’d be shocked how much of a difference it can make.
If you’re not paying attention, you can pile up a ton of food that can either spoil or just never get eaten by not checking the pantry before you shop. If you’re planning your meals ahead of time, this can help too.
Keeping too much food around in the pantry or out on the counter can be a significant contributor to kitchen clutter, and it’s a waste.
Cut back and you’ll see it pay dividends in how clean your space is.
5) Look for Extra Space Storage
Self-storage companies can be a great way to get some of the clutter out of your house.
The Salt Lake City-based Extra Space Storage is one of the biggest operators of self-storage facilities in the country, and they’re safe and secure.
There are locations everywhere around the United States and one’s sure to be near you.
Getting some stuff out and into self storage if you’re not using it much any more can be a great way to get the clutter away from where you live and into a place where it doesn’t bother you as much. Old books, files, whatever—it’s a great solution.
Clutter is a constant and vigilant enemy in your home, but you can overcome it. Use these tips to help you control the creep of clutter and keep your home clean and tidy.