6 Easy Ways to Avoid Everyday Household Clutter

Clutter...it's a dirty word and it happens to everyone. And if you don't still live with your folks or don't have an onsite cleaning staff manning your home 24/7, it's easy to accumulate clutter. Usually I write about online space organization and clearing the virtual clutter, but because keeping spaces organized is also where my heart lies, I decided to target this topic today.

Here are 6 easy ways to avoid everyday household clutter. Hint: Keep reading all the way to the bottom to snag a free printable to help you keep track of what you have on hand and keep it well organized.

 
Do you find yourself constantly tackling everyday clutter in your household? These 6 easy tricks can help you control and avoid clutter. BONUS: Click through to grab a FREE pantry tracker!
 

1. Tackle mail & paperwork as soon as it comes into the house.

You know how it is, you come home from a busy day and the mail/school folders/permission slips/book orders seem to vomit all over your kitchen or home office. I'm famous for making "I'll get to it" piles and there they sit, polluting my kitchen island and feeling neglected.

 
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Organizing Idea: As soon as the paperwork comes home, tackle it ASAP. Sign the permission slips and put them back into the appropriate folders. Pay those bills immediately and file the paperwork appropriately. And clip those mailer coupons together in one spot.

Anything that you cannot take immediate on needs to either have proper attention paid to it by the end of the week (remember **how many choices we make on a daily basis**?) Chances are you'll need to take the time to schedule time to tackle this paperwork....or you could just take care of it RIGHT NOW. 

All other things that you think you'll want to tackle some other time, need to be completely tackled at that time. In other words, that pile sitting on your countertop that you've been avoiding? You'll need to tackle the entire pile or you're going to continue to be swallowed up by it. (Consider tossing what's not been moved on after 1 week)

2. Avoid keeping every little bit of artwork those tiny hands made & brought into the house.

Those tiny hands & fingers make beautiful artwork, there's no doubt about it. And seeing their creations, as a mom, makes my heart so happy. But if I kept every.single.piece that came home with them, I'd need a dedicated "art collection" room for each child. {And I don't know about you, but I don't have that kind of space}

 
 

Think about how many pieces we made as children in art classes or during summer craft fairs. Do you remember all of them? Do you have all of them?? If you do, kudos on both accounts! But I honestly don't remember any piece I created before, say, 7th grade. And I'm perfectly ok with that. Chances are your child will be ok with you selectively purging their creations as well.

Organizing Idea: Keep each child's artwork in the confines of one file box. If it can't fit into the file box, consider taking pictures of the artwork to display digitally over the cloud or to capture the memories to put into a memory book later on down the road. Also, think about keeping one year's worth of artwork and then having a summer scrap-booking day (rainy day activity) and let those little fingers choose which pieces they want to keep and they can create their own treasured memories.

3. Take the few seconds it takes to put stuff away. 

If you're thinking "I'll put it away later"....I have a surprise for you friend: that time later rarely comes or when it does come, it's because you're potentially in a mad dash to stuff, shove & cram it away just in time for your guests to arrive. You're frazzled, stressed, and potentially yelling obscenities due to said clutter.

 
 

Organizing Idea: Take a few seconds to put stuff away as soon as it spills into your household. Try timing yourself out loud, or if you have kids, have them time you out loud and make it a game. Chances are, they'll want to join in on the fun. You'll be surprised at how much you can put away in under 3.5 minutes.


4. Don't keep every book you've ever gotten your hands on.

This can lead to quick clutter. Having books in our possession seems to give us a feeling of "I know that took someone a really long time to craft & create, the least I can do is keep it". That's completely normal. The though of getting rid of books tends to give most of us extreme guilt. 

Imagine how many books you've had your hands on throughout just the last 10 years. Chances are, just looking back on those ten years makes you think "wow! that went by quickly!!" Now, imagine how many bits of stories & resources you've wanted to pour into your brain through books over just the last decade.

Organizing Idea: Ask yourself when the last time was that you opened or referenced the book. If it's not yet cracked open and you haven't looked at it in over a year, consider donating it. If you find you really really need it, chances are your local library will carry a copy of it (probably the copy you donated)

Keep a basket or box near the door you use most to enter & exit your home. Do a quick book cleanse (maybe just one shelf or night stand) and put any books you haven't cracked open in over a year into the basket. When it's filled, toss it into your car or take it with you to the library to donate. You never know who may really, really want the book that you're now making available by your donation.

5. Re-think stocking up on supplies just because it makes you feel good

This is natural to want to do, trust me. Why do you think coupons are so successful? But honestly, it leads to clutter and it's not the best use of your available funds. Unless you have a money tree growing in your backyard, consider passing on the idea of stockpiling.

Organizing Idea:  Unless you're getting lots of supplies as part of a donation, which is perfectly acceptable, think of anything on your shelves as your money. We all have a limited amount of it, and we should use it wisely. If your is spent on supplies and you're not using them, paying your bills gets harder. And the last time I checked, paying your bills in boxes of macaroni or rolls of toilet paper isn't quite accepted. 

If you come across a good sale price on non-perishable items your family currently consumes regularly (think toilet paper, paper towels, tissues, soap, etc.), grab some extras. But use the physical constraints of your storage area (cupboards, shelving, pantry) as the ultimate limit of how much you should store. Your wallet will appreciate it, trust me. 

Keep simple tabs of what you currently have in your pantry or stock pile (or both if you have that kind of room) with this free pantry inventory printable.

6. Vertical Space is Your Friend

Do you have a kitchen? Craft room or craft supplies? Bathroom? Home office?

If you answered yes to any of the above questioned spaces, chances are you have small things within these spaces that crowd drawers or horizontal spaces like counter tops & desk tops.

These items can clog up your available space faster than I can say "oh look at this clutter" (and then I start to cry a little on the inside).

 
 

Organizing Idea: Consider using Command hooks for small items that can be hung on the inside of a cabinet door.

What items am I referring to in particular? Measuring spoons, measuring cups, scissors, rulers (if they have existing holes at either end), colanders, pot holders, hair dryer, hair brush, etc.

Take it up a notch and use 1 Command hook a medium binder clip and clip all of your takeout menus together, then hang them off the Command hook on the inside of a cabinet door. Now, every time you don't want to cook and instead order in, you'll have all of your takeout menus hanging on the inside of a cabinet. 

Say goodbye to everyday clutter by implementing some or all of these ideas.