In the long-running decluttering series, we’ve focused on tips for organizing and downsizing clothes storage, digital clutter, and photos and craft supplies, as well as how to bargain shop and garage sale without hoarding.
Today we will conclude with a look at how home improvement can help you remain clutter free.
The process of decluttering is about identifying what you do not need. The process of staying clutter free is about managing the things that you do need in a way that is effective for you. Often that means storing less-used items efficiently and organizing frequently-used items effectively. This will look different for everyone, so there is no “to do” list to follow. However, you probably have several little pushed-aside “meaning to dos” hibernating in your mind already: a spare change cup to set on the dresser, an office drawer organizer you’ve thought of buying, or some shelving that could be added to the garage. The bottom line is, put it on a list and do it. You’ll be glad you did. If you need a little inspiration, take a look at the ideas and resources below.
1. Visit the clutter-magnet areas of your home first and identify what is accumulating
Usually this is an “organization of frequently used things” problem rather than a “storage of less-used things” problem, and the solution is usually cheap: a cup for change, a hook for keys, a tray for pens, a caddy for toiletries, an extra laundry or trash basket for that nook….
2. Organize cleaning supplies so they are conveniently located but out of the way
This has been the most helpful organizational tip for our household. When the cleaning supplies are close to where they are needed but I’m never tripping over them, I can clean messes promptly, quickly, then actually put the cleaning supplies away before I’m needed elsewhere. The tiny projects that yielded huge returns in our house:
*Putting bottles of tile, toilet, and glass cleaner in the kitchen AND every bathroom of the house along with sponges and paper towels. Why didn’t I think of this 15 years sooner?
*Installing this in the laundry room
*Adding hooks above the litter box for the scooper and mini dust pan….well it changed the cat’s life even more than it did ours.
And the dust buster hogging this picture deserves an honorable mention. Hubs bought this for me when we brought June home from the hospital and were advised to keep the home as free of pet hair as possible. (hahaHAAA) I use this to vacuum up dog hair tumble weeds most days because I’m certainly not going to lug the big vacuum out every day, regardless of how good my intentions are to do so.
3. Brainstorm how to turn unused space into storage
Think vertically and look for unused space above and below the objects already in your environment; add a cabinet under a table, a hutch on top of a desk, a storage bag under a bed, bookcases used at/beside/as the head or foot of a bed, a short book case under the clothes hanging in a closet, or even add permanent shelves somewhere in your home. My wonderful hubby and son added shelves to our garage as well as our office closet when I could not find a suitable storage unit for those places on the bargain/garage sale circuit forever.
4. Think outside the box
Occasionally, a box is not the most effective way to store an item. The outdoor Christmas lights were an ongoing source of frustration for us. The clips got tangled on everything, lights would break during storage, and this contributed to the existing pains and perils of putting them on the house. This past Christmas my husband decided to act on the brilliant storage idea he had on his mental “been meaning to” list: he cut and painted lengths of 1X2s to match the high edges of our roof and stapled the strings of lights to them. Then he added hooks to the house so every year, he just needs to hang these 1X2s on the hooks then get down from that roof! And the lengths of wood and lights store easily in a back corner of the garage, taking up vertical space that wouldn’t otherwise have been used.
5. Visit Pinterest
Organization is personal and individualized. There are too many options to even mention. If you still aren’t sure where to start with improving organization and storage in your space, browse those topics on Pinterest or even just Google images if Pinterest is too over-the-top. Once something sparks an idea, you can begin brainstorming on your own.