Take Control of Your Clutter
Did you know the mess around our homes can add to our stress levels? That may be why you find yourself feeling anxious instead of relaxed when you come home from a long day. With so much to do, it is challenging to lay out a plan for what you need to tackle first. That’s why we’ve come up with a room-by-room guide to decluttering your home and getting organized.
For most families, the kitchen is the most used room in the home, so we’ll begin with a few organization tips for the areas of your kitchen most prone to clutter.
Let’s start with the appliance that gets the most traffic – your refrigerator. Grab some gloves and a lined garbage can to get started.
- Get rid of any food past its expiration date.
- Make sure you have your temperature controls optimized.
- Clean your refrigerator, including shelves and drawers, with dish soap and warm water.
- Place similar items next to each other, with most-used items to the front.
- Place smaller items inside containers or reusable bags to keep them organized.
- Throw away anything in your freezer more than three months old.
Now it’s time to move on to your kitchen’s cabinets and drawers. It’s a good idea to have two bags handy for sorting purposes – donate or toss.
- Discard, or donate, any gadgets you no longer use – including old appliances you haven’t touched in years. Think the third toaster you got as a wedding gift.
- Pull everything out and take inventory of your dishware, pots, and pans. This could be a great time to donate mismatched dinnerware.
- Get rid of any cracked or peeling plastic dishware and cooking utensils.
- Discard any pots that may have rusted, warped or have developed holes in the bottom.
- Place larger items back in your cabinets first to prevent them from spilling out when you open your cabinets.
- Place every other glass back in your cabinets upside down to make the most use of your space.
Finally, the pantry!
- Throw out any torn packages which cannot be adequately sealed to maintain freshness, along with expired canned foods.
- If you have excess food you know you won’t be able to use before it expires, consider donating these items to your local food bank.
- Place heavy items, like large quantities of bagged rice and dog food, on the floor of your pantry to avoid putting stress on your shelves.
- Group foods on your shelves by category, making them easier to find.
- Consider purchasing a pantry organizer like this one from Target to help you optimize your shelving space.
General Kitchen Organizational Tips
- If you’re short on storage space in your cabinets and kitchen drawers, investigate hanging storage solutions like this pot rack from Wayfair.
- In addition, consider purchasing a set of matching baskets which can be used to organize loose papers or important mail, which typically piles up on your counter tops.
- Use stackable bins, or mason jars, for storing dried goods like beans, sugar or grains.
- Set yourself a monthly reminder to clean out your fridge and pantry. This will save you money in the long run as you’ll be able to keep a mental inventory of foods you need to use.
Your den or family area is a central room where you probably spend most of your free time. Take notice of the layout of your room. Is there a way you can reorganize the furniture to make it more functional, or help the room to appear more spacious? If you’ve been wanting to rearrange your space, or just clear out the clutter, the below tips are essential.
- Toss old cords and remotes which belong to equipment you’ve discarded long ago.
- Go through old mail, magazines and newspapers and recycle anything insignificant.
- Pull your sofa away from the wall to clean behind it and then clean under the cushions using a vacuum to assist.
- Arrange to have any old computers or media equipment picked up and safely discarded.
- Give any unwanted, old books away to your local library or charitable organization.
- Designate specific areas as “clear” spaces where clutter is not allowed. Contain clutter to a basket or assigned drawer.
- Think about whether you still want to hang onto those old DVDs, CDs, and videotapes. Consider digitizing these to save space.
- Use hooks on the back of your closet doors for extra storage.
- Consider placing organizational storage bins inside cabinets, or under furniture, where they are out of site.
The fewer knick-knacks and decorations you have around your room, the easier it will be to keep up with dusting. However, feel free to allow yourself a box or two of special keepsakes, like photographs, which add personality to your living spaces.
It’s important for your bedroom to be the place in your home where you can come to experience calm. That cannot happen if you’re finding yourself swallowed in clutter every time you step inside. Make it a priority to tidy your bedroom at least once a week after your initial decluttering.
- Store any out of season clothing away in bins. Either take these to a storage unit, or if your furniture allows, store your clothing in bins which slide under your bed.
- Donate articles of clothing that no longer fit or haven’t been worn in a while. In you haven’t worn it in the last 12 months, it’s probably a good idea to toss it.
- If you’re the kind of person who stores items under the bed, take everything out, evaluate if you still need it, and rearrange your stored items to use space efficiently.
- Throw away any trash or unneeded items which cannot be donated.
- Tackle each dresser drawer individually, pulling out clothing and arranging each item by type on the floor. Once you have cleared every drawer, place your clothing back in an organized way. No socks in your t-shirt drawer!
- Consider utilizing a jewelry tree or box to organize your jewelry.
Be firm with yourself – don’t let emotional attachment override practicality. You don't need to keep items you haven’t thought about until you came across them while tidying. It will be easier to assess what your home needs once you have cleared out all excess items. Keep the image of your home as it could be in your head as inspiration. Good luck, and happy decluttering!