It’s time to get in the habit of letting go of excess stuff, instead of finding a place to put it away. Having to walk around or over things does not create a peaceful living environment. Let’s go room by room and tackle some of the most common clutter issues.
1.) Kitchen: ask yourself what items do I use on a daily basis?
These items truly deserve the prime time space in your kitchen. They should be within easy reach in the best available location. Beware of kitchen space hogs like multiple coffee cups, plastic bags, and cleaning supplies.
2.) Next, ask yourself how many of each of these items you need to keep a reasonable amount on hand.
Do you have 6 of something but only use one? This is a common problem. Setting boundaries will help you keep an organized kitchen easily. Any torn, stained, or chipped items must go.
3.) Donate or throw away your extra items, or in the case of glasses or plates, keep them in long-term storage until you need them.
That’s only if you have space in or for long-term storage. If you already have a long-term storage problem, go ahead and dispose of your excess, unless it’s an item you can’t replace like grandma’s good china, in which case get rid of something else and store grandma’s china . Remember to periodically check cabinets and drawers to purge any extras and replace worn or damaged parts.
4.) Clear up your countertops: the most visible part of your kitchen.
Start by placing all the items in boxes or trays. Take this opportunity to thoroughly clean your counters. Now put back only the items you use daily. Eg toaster, coffee pot, utensil pots. Only display decorative items on your counter if you have plenty of space to do so. Otherwise, decorations in moderation should be on the walls in order to save valuable real estate in the kitchen.
5.) Avoid piles of paper by creating a RAF file, or as some people call it, an action file.
A RAF file can be anything that can contain 3 files or folders. RAF stands for Read, Act, File. As the paper arrives at your house, you must use your RAF file to place each piece, whether it be for reading, for acting (meaning you have to take action), or for filing. Every piece of paper you keep is important for one reason or another, so you need to be able to find it quickly. Then of course there is the trash can, use it regularly. You can also set up folders with clear plastic pages for things like receipts, recipes, take-out menus, school information, and frequent phone numbers.
6.) Clean your fridge!
Reduce or eliminate old fridge magnets or at least move them to the side. Clear everything from the front, put important items like takeout menus in a folder or in your RAF file. Keep your children’s best artwork in a plastic container with their name on it, be sure to write their age on the back with an acid-free pencil or acid-free pen that you can find in the scrapbooking section of any store. Once the fridge is clean, just put the current items back.
TIP: Keep an erasable calendar on the front of your fridge, update it on the 1st of every month from your pocket calendar that you keep in your purse or briefcase. That way, you won’t miss any appointments or meetings or duplicate your schedule.
7.) Restroom: Clean out your medicine cabinets.
Discard expired medications and throw away nearly empty perfume, lotion, and nail polish bottles. Stick with the products you like and use. Don’t settle for products you didn’t like or weren’t effective just for what they cost. They cost you more in the long run in wasted space.
8.) Clean out full drawers.
OK, so we’ve all at one point or another shoved one more item into an already full drawer. Now is the time to change all that. Go drawer by drawer, pull everything out, and ask yourself “Do I love this?” Do I need this?” Why do I keep this?” The answers to these questions will tell you what to do. Then you save it, donate it, or throw it away. By lightening your drawers you will reduce stress and be able to find the things you need faster and easier.
9.) Transparent bathroom counter.
It makes it so much easier to get ready in the morning and reduces stress when your bathroom counters are clean. This is also a time saver because cleanup is a breeze. See tip #12 for the solution on where to put all the things you removed from the counter.
10.) Use your wall space.
If you’re having a hard time finding storage solutions, take a look at your walls. There are plenty of options for creating storage and reducing countertop clutter. Ask yourself, is there somewhere you can add a shelf or shelves? Maybe a wall mounted soap dish or toothbrush holder. Search EBAY for hotel towel racks that hold 2 bath towels, 2 hand towels, and 2 washcloths each.
eleven.) Create a peaceful retreat.
Most bathroom tubs and showers seem to be overflowing with bottles of shampoo, conditioner, bath toys, and body washes. Again start by removing all items; Clean surfaces thoroughly with a soapy foam remover. Then only put back the products you use daily. Consider buying a shower caddy if you don’t already have one and a basket or bag for the kids’ toys.
12.) Make personal toilet bags.
Each member of your family should have their own container to store and transport their own personal bathroom supplies. This container can be a small plastic box, a wicker basket, or any other small container that can hold your items neatly. Placing each family member’s items in their own container makes it easy to store these items under the bathroom sink or in the bathroom or linen closet until needed. This also keeps your toiletries together so it’s easy to find your hair comb or detangler and no problem moving to another bathroom when a visitor arrives.
13.) Create a haven of peace.
Your bedroom should be a place where you can rest. It is not the place for work or other stressful activities. Don’t let things unrelated to sleep accumulate there. This room should contain a bed, dresser, nightstands, lamp, and perhaps a chair or bench. Do not clutter your bedroom with furniture, it will make it feel small and will not promote peace. Your nightstand should be clear except for reading glasses (if you need them), a book or magazine (just one, not a stack), an alarm clock, and maybe some tissues. Start by clearing the room of all excess things, only replace those items that promote peace and rest. Donate or store additional items elsewhere.
14.) Remember the one in one out rule.
Once you have your home looking and feeling good for each new item you purchase, you will need to donate, sell, or give away an item. One by one, it’s the only way to keep the balance you’ve achieved.
fifteen.) Place 4 bins in your laundry room.
There are 4 bins that every laundry room should have. Three of them can be boxes, bags, laundry baskets, or whatever you have on hand. The last one is a trash can. Label your bins, donate, repair, rags and trash. The donation box means that you continually sort out items that are out of style but still have some wear or are too small. Repair means you need to do a small repair. Rags mean they have holes or ugly stains on them, so you can use them to clean or stain furniture, cotton or wool clothes are the best rags. The trash can is for items found in pockets, dryer lint, and other trash. This way, it won’t clump up in the dryer and eventually end up on the floor.
There you have it, 15 steps to a clutter-free home.