8 Clutter Culprits to Clear Out Right Away
If you find yourself frustrated by clutter and disorganization, try focusing on these eight clutter-causing household items to start getting things under control.
It might be effective on the surface, but clutter hidden behind cupboard doors tends to find its way out into the open. It’s best to take care of the clutter at its core. One clutter culprit is simply having too many of the same item or holding onto things that can no longer be used. Easy fixes, right?
Here are eight household items to pare down and get you on the right track for a neat and tidy home:
A cutlery re-evaluation may be in order if you find that your utensil drawer is jam-packed full of forks, knives and spoons going in all directions. What typically happens is that multiple sets of silverware get squeezed into the same drawer, even though they don’t fit. Because they don’t stack neatly, it becomes the Wild West — silverware going every which way. Remember: Most families only need around 8 or 12 of each utensil on a day-to-day basis, depending on the size of the household. If you’re unsure how many to keep in the drawer, think about how many utensils your family uses in a day, as well as how often you are willing to wash silverware. Store the extras you may need for entertaining separately and donate any excess.
Whether you’re a devoted reader or someone who generally avoids reading, it seems like overflowing bookshelves are a universal conundrum. To counter it, consider taking a little time to go through and pull out the titles you know you’re not going to read. Box those books up and take them to your local thrift store, library or book buyback store.
Plastic Food Storage
Ideally, finding the right food storage container — and its lid — should be simple when it comes time to transfer dinner leftovers. If you struggle with this, it could be a sign that you have too many containers. Try emptying your entire stockpile onto the kitchen table and match all the lids with their appropriate container bottoms. Any random items left over without a match can be recycled. Did you find any stained or disfigured containers? Toss them out. Any rarely used ones can be donated or used elsewhere.
If you add up all the pitchers, vases and mismatched cups in your home, it’s easy to see how glassware can take up a lot of valuable cupboard space. Reality check: All those different types of glasses you have for different occasions probably aren’t necessary. When editing down your collection of glassware, keep matching sets together and donate any random pieces. Also place any stemware and flower vases that you haven’t used in the donation pile. Take time to think about what glassware you consistently use, and which are just duplicates cluttering up your cupboards.
Another common clutter culprit? Nearly empty products, like cleaning supplies or beauty items. For this one, head to the kitchen and bathroom, and start hunting down those containers pushed to the back of the cupboard or drawer and accidentally forgotten. Next, inspect expiration dates and toss out products that are expired. Move the products that are still usable to the front of the cabinet. When possible, combine any duplicate items into one container. If you have an excessive amount of something or an unopened product that hasn’t been used in years, look to local shelters or charities that could use donations.
Closets can be clutter magnets. They’re the place where old clothes that you fully intend on wearing again go to hibernate. Another clutter culprit? Having more than one of the same garment. For example, just consider the multitude of T-shirts you’ve accumulated over the years. To start making sense of your closet space, simply sort and get rid of the clothes you do not wear. Be honest! The same strategy goes for your sock drawer. If you mainly wear ankle socks, do you need 12 pairs of crew socks? Donate any clothing that is still in good shape. The rest can be repurposed as rags, used for fabric, or thrown away.
Obsolete Cords and Chargers
It seems like every house has a drawer where random cords and broken chargers are stashed to become a jumbled, chaotic mess. Makes sense, as new devices are acquired over time and those cords and chargers start adding up. You may even find you have multiples of the same cord. When attempting to sort out this drawer, first throw away any cord or charger that doesn’t function properly anymore. If you can no longer remember what device a cord belongs to (think long-forgotten digital camera), dispose of it as well. All remaining cords and chargers can then be bundled up, secured with a rubber band or length of Velcro, and arranged in an orderly fashion.
Kids may be the worst at using something for a day and never looking at it again. If you find that your child’s room or playroom is stuffed full of plush toys, dolls, or other multiples of the same type of toy, consider downsizing. Toys that still function but just aren’t being used can be donated to daycares, shelters, thrift stores and other local organizations. Once you’ve pared down to a manageable amount, develop a system of organization that works for you so that the remaining items stay tidy and clutter-free.