Common Clutter Areas to Consider
To help you meet your decluttering goals let’s look at some of the most common clutter areas and some tools to help you organize them.
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Garage, Basement, & Attic
These three are the most common areas where people collect clutter before it starts spreading to the rest of their homes. Most people do try to put the clutter out of the way at first. We put things in boxes and bags and tuck them away with the intention of “getting to them” at some point.
Often, tackling these common clutter areas first can give you more perspective about what you need in the rest of the house. However, (and this is a BIG but) for some of you, attempting to tackle these areas will fill you with dread and overwhelm and stop you in your tracks. OR it might send you down a rabbit hole of stuff where you spend a lot of time going through all the things, but not accomplishing anything.
You’re the best judge of yourself. You might be better off saving these for when you can bring in reinforcements.
Drawers, Cabinets & Closets
These are the next culprits in the clutter collection hotspots. Again, most people like to stuff the clutter out of the way, especially when we do a fast cleanup because we have guests coming over. We shove things out of sight. That makes these hiding spots ideal for the existence of clutter because we rarely go back to them and fix the mess we made.
Tackling these first is also a good idea because it offers you spaces to store things as you work on the rest of your house. Again, you don’t want to try to do all of them at once. Choose 1 closet or 1 set of cabinets and work from there.
When a kitchen becomes cluttered it is often due to the fact it has counters, drawers, and cabinets. I don’t know about you, but my kitchen is the hub of my house. People are always walking through or hanging out (even though it’s a small space).
In addition, most of us tend to buy more kitchen gadgets than we need or have space for. Clearing out the unused stuff (no matter how cool it is) will make it easier to be productive in the kitchen.
Here are some organizational tools to consider for the kitchen:
Rack for water bottles – I have one that I keep on top of my fridge. However, if you have a lot of wide bottles, you might want to skip the ones meant for water bottles and maybe use a wine rack instead.
Clear plastic bins for refrigerators – I don’t know about you, but I love to watch the organization videos on TikTok. I think those refrigerators with all the bins look amazing.
I know my fridge will never look like that. My refrigerator usually has a ton of leftovers taking up space, but I still like to imagine.
But if you want to give it a shot…When it comes to organizing the inside your refrigerator and freezer, you want to go for basic and practical. Clear plastic bins are the way to go. They allow you to see what you have and what’s running low. They will also keep you motivated to keep it clean because they look pretty and you can immediately see if there’s been a spill or anything.
Risers in the pantry or cabinets – Often, one way to create more space it so go up instead of out. You might already be doing things like stacking cans on top of each other, but you know how that can cause and avalanche. Risers give you more room without things toppling.
The one thing that I have to remind you of before you buy anything like this—measure first! As I said, I have a small kitchen and my cabinets are small. We’ve optimized space as much as we can, but a lot of the time, when I look to buy something to fit in the cabinets, it’s either way too big, or it’s too small and a waste of space.
Plastic bag holder – I know in many areas they’ve done away with plastic bags. For a long time, I used only reusable bags, but whenever I do grocery pickup (which is almost always), I get stuck with plastic. And man, Walmart gives so many. A pound of salami? Gets its own bag. A box of crackers? Yep, its own bag. I can buy 20 items and easily end up with 15 bags.
These bags can easily take over your kitchen. If you don’t use them, make sure you recycle them right away. We do use them for all of the small trash cans throughout the house. They’re perfect trash bags. So, if you use them, get a holder so they’re condensed and out of the way.
If you have a dining room or a dining area where the table is only used for junk, it’s time to reevaluate that room. Do you want to eat at the table? Would you rather turn that room into something else?
My dining room table is huge. There is often a pile of junk on it. However, we do routinely clear it and we eat there every day. It’s also still used for homework by my college kid. She roams from room to room doing homework and the dining room table is always one of her stops.
But if your family doesn’t use this as a dining room, who says it needs to stay that way? Get rid of the table and make an office for yourself. Or a dedicated playroom for the kids. It’s your space. Make it make you happy.
Some clutter in the living room is acceptable for most people. I mean, it is the living room. We live there and hang out there, so we tend to leave traces of us. You want to evaluate what level of clutter you’re really comfortable with.
Usually, if there’s an entertainment center or side tables, they’re prone to clutter. They have tons of stuff all over the place on a routine basis. Think about what needs to be there and organize it. In addition, why not put a small trash can near every lamp and table to collect tissues and other garbage easily right where it happens.
Here are some organizational tools to consider for the living room:
Shelves and wall-mounted cubbies – These can create storage for books, movies, or games so that they aren’t scattered all over your entertainment center.
Storage ottoman – We all love to have comfy blankets to keep us warm, but we don’t need them covering every piece of furniture when not in use. Choose your favorites, fold them up, and tuck them away. Get rid of all of the extras.
Basket or wall organizer – Tables in the living room can be the dumping ground for all types of electronics. Consider having a designated basket or hanging organizer for remotes and charging cords.
Many people use their bedrooms for too much. In theory, your bedroom should only be used for three things — sleep, sex, and recovering from illness. However, I understand that isn’t possible for everyone. I have an office space in my bedroom for my husband’s company. My office is in the guest room. You have to make do with the space you have.
What you do want to do is find ways to make your bedroom a sanctuary of relaxation. If it’s filled with clutter, you won’t be comfortable and relaxed.
Here are some organizational tools to consider for the bedroom:
Towel bars –Towel bars can come in really handy for organizing things that often get set down or shoved in a drawer. By attaching hooks to the bar, you can organize things like scarves, hats, or jewelry.
Shoe rack – You will find many varieties of shoe racks and organizers that keep all your shoes in one place, and take advantage of the vertical space in your closet. Another option is to get one that hangs on the back of the door with pockets. Shoes are off the floor and the mates are easy to find.
Under-bed bins – Finally, consider some bins that slide under your bed for things like blankets, seasonal clothes, and random items that have nowhere else to be stored. If you have a bed that sits on the floor, you can still utilize this type of bin and slide it under other furniture.
If you have a home office, it may become known for collecting clutter from around the house. I feel this one. Any time one of my kids is clearing out things from their room, they put it in my office, just in case they want it back. Sometimes, it’s baskets or bins that they no longer need and I know someone in the house will have a use for it. Unfortunately, that means at least one corner of my office is always filled with crap.
If you allow this to happen (as I do), your office may become an impromptu or “emergency” storage room before you know it. Unless you put a screeching halt to this practice, you may end up working in the living room on your couch with your laptop instead of in your office. Your office should be designed and maintained for optimum success.
Here are some organizational tools to consider for the office:
Cable management box – This is a box where you can hold those cables and keep them in one place so they at least look a little neater.
Baskets and bins – We’ve talked quite a bit about baskets and bins. When considering what you need for your office, think about what needs to have a home. Then, choose bins for those items. If you have ADHD, I recommend clear bins so you can easily see where things are.
Filing accessories – I think most people these days don’t want a big ole file cabinet in their office. However, we all still have paper that we need to save, and keeping those things organized helps tremendously with the clutter.
If you don’t like having paper around, by all means, scan and digitize what you can. If you like to have the physical product to refer to, then you need some kind of file system. You can get a small, two-drawer file cabinet, or a small beside table with shelves and use a basket with hanging folders to organize your paperwork. The important thing is to continuously file things where they go.
The laundry room, depending on how big it is, often ends up as a depository for lost socks and things no one ever wears. To organize this room, ensure you have a space for each of the functions you need to do with laundry.
Here are some organizational tools to consider for the laundry room:
Rolling laundry bin – A rolling cart can be a simple way to sort laundry. Having separate baskets or bags can allow you to teach the kids to sort clothes. That way, clothes are not scattered on the floor.
Folding table – If your laundry room is where it all happens, you need space to be able to fold. Consider getting a small table with a storage shelf underneath to hold your laundry supplies. However, if you have a habit of filling every flat surface with more clutter, you might want to skip adding a table here.
Over-the-door hanging rack – Having a place to immediately hang things that don’t get folded can save you a lot of wrinkly grief.
Due to cabinets and closets, the bathroom is also a potential catch-all for stuff being hidden away behind closed doors. Going through those items and making sure only bathroom related things are in the bathroom will go far in helping you get this room as functional as possible.
Here are some organizational tools to consider for the bathroom:
Drawer organizers – These are the same types of drawer organizers you get for your kitchen or office, but instead use them in your bathroom. You can organize smaller items like bobby pins, hair clips, scrunchies, cotton swabs, and even makeup.
Cabinet door organizers – For a smaller bathroom with less storage, consider an organizer that hangs on the inside of cabinet doors. These work great for hair styling products like your curling iron and blow dryer.
Shower caddy – For your shower, keep the items off the bathtub edge and more organized in a caddy. These come in different sizes to be hung above your showerhead, or even nailed into the wall if the top of your shower stops at a reasonable place on your bathroom wall.
Countertop storage – Keep your bathroom countertops more organized and less cluttered with accessories that can hold your toothbrushes and toothpaste, cotton balls, cotton swabs, and skincare products.
These common spots for clutter may not seem to be a big deal. However, the problem is once an area is filled with clutter, the overflow starts spreading to neighboring areas and even onto the floor. This can make moving around freely more difficult and dangerous due to the likelihood of tripping or coming into contact with more germs. When you start thinking about the uses for each room and area in your home, it should be easy to identify the things that should be in that room, as well as how to set it up for optimum usage.
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