How to Declutter and Organize Your Home
Toys and Games
One of the quickest areas to have clutter and a lack of organization is in the toy room. Children can quickly accumulate a huge collection of toys and games. Most of the time it isn’t even intentional. However, those toys and games can quickly take over and have the potential to become unsanitary if left on the floor or carpet. Here are some simple tips for decluttering and organizing the toys and games in your house.
5 Tips for Decluttering Toys and Games:
- 1 in 1 out - One way many parents will battle the clutter of toys is with a 1 in 1 out approach. This is a fairly easy concept when you think about it. For every toy or game that comes in, one has to go out as either trash or a donation. This can help to avoid the added clutter that comes from birthdays and holidays. Even better, it’s something you can start at any time to avoid adding more clutter to the home.
- Toy rotation - Kids can quickly get tired of their toys over time. Many parents will box up a portion of the toys and put them in an attic or closet. After a few months, they will rotate out the current toys and replace them with the boxed toys. This gives kids the feeling that they have all new stuff while controlling the clutter. It’s also a great time to decide what items in the new box can leave the rotation and be donated.
- Pull to donate - Many children are more inclined to remove some of their toys from the home if they feel like they are helping someone. Instead of a decluttering/cleaning project, pick a cause you can donate the toys to instead. Having the connection to another kid playing with that toy happily can make a world of difference for kids. There are many local charities that will take quality toys and games as a donation.
- Give kids a target number - One of the biggest reasons kids rebel against removing toys and games is the lack of control. They want to keep what they want to keep. This can be great until it’s time to clean and simplify the toy room. Instead of going in and choosing items for them, give them a target number of toys. Now, you may end up with 30 happy meal toys so you will want to be clear about size of toy as well. However, setting this simple goal can help kids to select the toys they want and let go of ones they don’t.
- Is there a place for it? Another way to get kids decluttering their toys is to ask them simply if there is a place for it. Sometimes seeing that they don’t have enough room for an item can help motivate them to remove some. It may be time to limit toys to only what there is a place for. By doing this, you give kids the choice of which toys they can keep. Even better, they have to keep things in their place consistently or that item may need to be donated because it doesn’t have a place.
3 Tips for Organizing Toys:
- Ample and accessible toy storage - When organizing a kid’s toy area, make sure to include ample and accessible toy storage. Shelves, bins, or toy boxes are only helpful if they are easily accessed and used by children. Avoid items with locking mechanisms that are hard to open or that are too high in the room. By having plenty of toy storage available it can be easier to keep things where they belong.
- Label. Label. Label. - Another way to help kids keep things in their place is to label the different areas. For instance, having a label of “truck” on the trucks bin will help smaller kids to learn to put things in their place. You may have to work with visual labels for younger children such as a picture of a truck or a doll.
- Have smaller containers for smaller toys - The floor is no place for toys, even if it is a clean area. Items like Lego and miniature figures can quickly get lost in a child’s room. Include small containers that can hold these items to avoid them ending up on the floor or lost.
One of the biggest areas of clutter for most people is clothing. No one means to collect so much. However, there are closets in every home with items that haven’t been worn in months or even a year. Keeping clothes clean and neatly organized is an obstacle for many people. So how do you remedy this? Here are a few tips for decluttering and organizing clothing. It’s time to regain control of your closet.
5 Tips for Decluttering and Organizing Clothing:
- If it doesn’t fit, it needs to go - Now, let’s clarify that one. It can go a few different places. If things don’t fit they can either go into a donation bag or into a box in the attic for the future. However, they don’t need to clutter up your home. If you have a collection of clothes “for the future” it may be time to box those up and put them in the attic until the future. It will remove clutter and help you to find pieces you can wear and use now.
- If it doesn’t get worn, it needs to go - As people get more clothing, pieces can be completely forgotten and never get worn. There are also pieces that will get kept because of a memory associated with it but the actual clothing is not going to be worn. Take some time to go through your clothing and ask honestly if it will get worn. If it won’t, donate it to a local charity that can give it a new life or sell it online to make some extra cash.
- Repurpose sentimental items - Many people will keep a favorite t-shirt or a special clothing item because of the memories associated with that item. While this can be a great way to make you smile, it can also quickly lead to more clutter. Items like these may not need to be donated or discarded. Instead, ask yourself if they can be repurposed into a quilt or memory box. However, it is important that you actually have those items made or it will stay clutter and a potential project.
- Remove or repair damaged items - Not every piece of clothing is meant to be kept. Some pieces have damage that can’t be repaired. Discard those items or use them for rags for cleaning. If an item can be repaired, take some time to sew on buttons, sew up a hole, or do other repairs to make that piece usable again. If you don’t know how to do the repair, send it out to someone who does.
- Have a system or a place for each item - Once you decide on the items you plan to keep, have a place for each item to go. This may mean hanging up certain items while others go in a dresser. This could also mean rotating items based on the season to avoid clutter. Get a good quality dresser and organize it in a way that is easy for you to navigate and maintain.
Another big area of clutter in many homes is paperwork. Items like letters, bills, and warranty information can quickly take over and leave a mess in their wake. Instead of letting it overwhelm you, there are some simple and effective ways to manage the paper clutter. All of that paperwork doesn’t have to take over your home. Here are some simple tips to declutter and organize your home.
5 Tips to Declutter and Organize Paperwork:
- Have a filing system in place - Some paperwork has to be kept. However, it doesn’t have to sit in a pile in your house. Instead, having a filing system in place can be a huge help. This could mean using a small filing cabinet or having folders in a drawer for paperwork.
- Use an emergency binder - Paperwork such as social security cards, birth certificates, wills, and insurance information should go into an emergency binder. Having these items filed in a binder like this will make them easy to store in a safe. It can also be a huge help in an emergency because you can grab all of your essential paperwork from one location in an easy to carry format.
- Scan items to a hard drive - Not all papers need to be kept. Take some time to scan the ones you don’t need a hard copy of. You can store those items on a portable hard drive separated by folders. This will make the information easier to access and take up considerably less space. Make sure to get a high-res image of the document in case you need to read the fine print on it.
- Log your bills in a spreadsheet - It can be tempting to keep a pile of bills so that you know what you owe money on and can remember to send a payment. An alternative to this would be a simple spreadsheet. Whenever a bill comes in, log the account number, payment address, deadline, and bill amount on a spreadsheet. Once you have logged it in, you can recycle or shred that paperwork. When the bill is paid, simply mark it off on the spreadsheet.
- Plan for special mail items - Letters from a loved one, holiday cards, and more can quickly be kept and add to the clutter. For items like this that you intend to keep, have a plan for them. Will they be filed in a special folder, added to a memory box, or stored in a special file in your filing cabinet. By having a plan, you will avoid letting clutter take over while still keeping special memories.
A love of reading can quickly lead to clutter. After all, any avid reader will tell you that you just need more bookshelves not fewer books. However, books can take over the house and leave you overwhelmed. So how do you control the book clutter without losing out on your favorite books? We have a few tips for decluttering and organizing books to help you out.
5 Tips for Decluttering and Organizing Books:
- Ask yourself if you will read it again - Every reader keeps a stash of books they fully plan to read again. That said, there are probably also books in your collection that will never be read again. Remove these books from your collection. This will make more room for books you can read and love.
- Can this book help someone else? - When looking at your book collection, it can be tempting to want to keep them all. Instead, look at your books and ask if they can help someone else. Sometimes the best thing to do with books is to donate them to a local school, library, or charity. It is a bit easier to let go if you know they are going to a good cause.
- Should you sell it to bring in some extra cash? - Many books can be resold online or at used book stores. If a book is not your absolute favorite, it may be time to sell it so that you can have money in your pockets and let that book move on. Not only will this help you out financially, it puts that book back in circulation for someone else to enjoy. Sites like Amazon and Thriftbooks are a fantastic place to start if you are selling books.
- Are you saving it for the future? - Saving books for your kids or grand kids can be an honorable choice. We all have those favorites that we want to pass down to others. However, those books can quickly lead to clutter. If you are saving books for the future, it may be time to box them up and move them to the attic or garage. Saving books can be a great gift but it doesn’t have to clutter your home.
- Get a few quality bookshelves - For the books you are keeping, you will need a good organization system in place. Adding a few bookshelves can help to remove the cluttered look that comes with overcrowding books. Shelving books so that books for younger readers are on the bottom shelves can also be a big help. Make sure you are pulling out your books and dusting regularly though. You don’t want your books to be covered in dust.
One area many people quickly clutter is the kitchen. With a variety of devices, dishes, and utensils, your kitchen can quickly become cluttered, leaving a fresh, clean room. This can be frustrating when trying to cook or clean. The more you have in your kitchen, the longer things will take to clean. Here are some tips for decluttering and organizing your kitchen.
5 Tips for Decluttering and Organizing the Kitchen:
- Pull the oldest food forward - As you are bringing in new groceries, make sure your older items are in the front. This will help you to avoid wasting food by letting it spoil. If you have items that have a longer shelf life, write the date on the packaging in sharpie so that you know when you purchased it or when it is expiring. Most kitchen clutter comes from food that sat too long and went bad.
- Cut down on dishes - It can be tempting to have countless dishes in different colors, patterns, and sizes. While this can be convenient for having a large crowd of people over, it isn’t necessarily practical for a less cluttered home. Take some time to go through your dishes and see where things can be thinned out. This may mean throwing out that Tupperware lid for the Tupperware you don’t have or donating the second set of dishes you no longer use.
- Don’t overbuy appliances - There are so many great kitchen appliances on the market right now. It can be tempting to want to own them all. While they all serve a function, they can also quickly clutter your kitchen and leave you overwhelmed. Ask yourself, “will I really use this and how often?” By asking that question you can free yourself from some of the appliances that will only bring more clutter to your kitchen.
- Clear counters as much as possible - Nothing makes a kitchen look more cluttered than a counter full of appliances and stuff. Instead of keeping everything out, put it away until it will be used. This will help to remove some of the clutter from your kitchen and give it a cleaner look. Keep the items you use daily but other items can be stored in a cabinet or drawer until it is needed.
- Have bins and containers to store things in - Sealable bins and containers can help you to better organize the kitchen. Items like spices, cereal, and packaged items need a place to go once they have been opened. Utilizing containers for these items will give your kitchen a cleaner feel while making items easy to find. Having clear containers that you can see into easily can save you clutter and help you to find what you are looking for in a hurry.
Mementos and Special Items
One of the hardest areas to declutter are mementos and special items. These are the things that grab your heart and don’t let go. While these items are special to you, they can quickly lead to clutter. Instead of letting the mess take over for the sake of memories, there are some ways to enjoy these items in a less cluttered way. Here are some tips for decluttering and organizing mementos and special items.
5 Tips for Decluttering and Organizing Mementos and Special Items:
- Ask yourself if it can be repurposed - A favorite blanket, an old shirt, or an old stuffed animal can be such special items. However, the more of them you have, the more overwhelming the clutter can become. Ask yourself if these items can be repurposed into something else that still helps you remember while cutting down on clutter. Some options might include a shadow box or having fabric items sewn into a quilt. With these formats, you are still able to keep that special memory without the clutter.
- Can it be digitized? - Photo albums and photo books can quickly take over the home. Ask yourself if there is a way that you can digitize these items to save on space. This might mean having them moved to a digital photo frame that switches out photos on a preset time. By doing this, you are still treasuring those photos. You are simply giving multiple photos the chance to be enjoyed without the clutter.
- Does it need to be on display? - Some mementos need to be on display for you to treasure that memory. Others may need to be boxed up and saved for when you need them. Sometimes having that memento and being able to visit it when needed is half the battle. If it is a special item you don’t need to have on display, have it safely packaged and put it up in the attack or garage. When you need to revisit it, it will be there waiting without cluttering up your home.
- Ask yourself if you still need it - As we grow and change, some of our memories or our views of them can change. Take some time to look at the special mementos you keep. Do you still need them or are you keeping it out of habit? Look through some of these items and decide if they should be donated or passed on to another person who might have a connection to that memory. It is completely ok to let go of a memory that once held a more substantial place in your heart.
- Try a different way of displaying these items - If there are mementos you can’t part with, that is completely ok. It might be time to look at a new way to display them. Whether that means buying a new cabinet for special items, having a photo wall in your home for special photos, or decluttering other items to make room for that one, these items do not have to go. Take some time to look at what items hold less value in your home. It may be time to remove some less valuable items to make room for the ones that matter most to you.