Here are 9 relatively easy ways to eliminate common sources of clutter and get a little more organized in 2012:
1. Add Drawer Dividers
Kitchen drawers can become a hot spot for clutter as utensils and tools are tossed in them, but drawer dividers are an easy way to clean them up and make it quicker and easier to find the tool you’re looking for.
2. Turn Hangers Around
Chances are there are at least a few items in your closet that you never wear, but it’s easy to become emotionally attached to the idea that you might wear it someday. For an easy visual, turn all of your hangers around backwards. When you wear something, hang it back up on a hanger facing the right direction. It won’t take long to see which clothes you really wear and which you don’t, which is an objective way to decide what to declutter!
3. Keep Cleaning Supplies Under the Sink
I first learned this tip as a newlywed using the Flylady system, and it’s always stuck with me. Rather than keeping them in one central location in your home, keep cleaning supplies where you’ll use them so that it’s easy to do those quick cleaning tasks throughout the week.
If you use homemade cleaners such as vinegar, you can keep these under the sink in your bathroom; otherwise you’ll want to keep them in a higher shelf in your linen closet if you have young children in the house!
4. Use a Pocket Basket
Find a small basket to keep on your dresser or entry table for all of the change, keys, etc. that you (or your husband) empty out of your pockets each day. It will stay contained and not feel nearly as cluttered as it does when it’s just dumped out!
5. Keep a Shopping List in Your Pantry
Rather than trying to guess which pantry staples you need each week — which can result in forgotten items and extras of the same item — keep a simple list in or near your pantry to write down the things you need. The key to this system is to write them down as soon as you notice that they’re running low so that you can rely on the list rather than trying to remember what might be running low.
After talking about a system like this for years, we finally implemented it about six months ago. It took a few weeks to get used to, but we now faithfully use our whiteboard to keep track of what we need to buy.
6. Open Mail Over the Recycle Bin
Rather than bringing it inside and setting it on the couch or counter to deal with later, immediately head to the recycle bin and open mail there, recycling the envelopes and junk mail and moving the rest to your inbox to be dealt with later.
7. Eliminate Junk Mail
Even better, take these simple steps to eliminate junk mail altogether so that you’ll have less mail to deal with altogether.
8. Use Color-Coded Rags
We use rags for everything from cleaning the girls’ hands and faces after meals to cleaning the bathroom. Obviously we don’t want to get those rags mixed up, so we use color-coded rags to keep track of which rags should be used for which job. You can pick up packs of colored washcloths for just a couple dollars. Start them out as hand/face rags and when they’re faded and worn out, replace them with a new set in a different color scheme, retiring the old set as cleaning rags.
9. Label & Organize Cords
As we bring more and more devices into our homes, cords are a huge source of clutter. Eliminate cord clutter by properly labeling cords under desks and behind entertainment centers to make them easy to identify. Use bread ties or label flags at the base of the plug to see which plug goes to which device!
I also use this handy little trick to “tie” my cords so that they don’t get tangled when not in use, and we often give away extra USB cords and chargers since so many devices use the same ones.
What steps could you take to eliminate a clutter hotspot in your house today?