Tips For Clutter Zones

We all have clutter zones in our house that seem to accumulate things while we sleep. Here are some tips for managing the clutter.

One would think you could organize your entire house from top to bottom – ONCE – and then just live happily in order forever. You find a place for everything and that’s that. While there are some areas of my house where this rings true, most areas tend to accumulate stuff without me even knowing. All of a sudden something that was once organized now looks like a tornado came through, and I have to spend an afternoon sorting, reorganizing and donating.

The most common clutter zones in my house are:

What do these areas have in common?

Things are coming in but things are not going out. That doesn’t always mean I’m shop-a-holicing items into my Target cart – a lot of the time the imports come from gifts, school, goodie bags, birthdays, and blog freebies. Of course intentional shopping is also involved, such as when I buy new clothes and don’t remove any old clothes from my closet or new ingredients come into the pantry but old ones don’t get used up first. So it’s a little bit of both.

Too many items will always feel cluttered

The first rule of organizing is always to reduce the number of items you’re trying to fit in a space. For example, your closet is only so big, so just removing 10% of your clothes will make your closet feel more organized. (Or maybe 25% for some of you!) So for those areas that have a high frequency of incomers, you have to have a system for outgoers too. It’s easier to do this with your own closet since you’re most familiar with the contents and harder with your kids stuff. I try to focus on birthday and Christmas time (when Mazen has a large inflow of gifts) and clear out space in his closet before these holidays take place so the newer things have a place to go on day 1.

The Ultimate Outbox: The Garage

Our garage is the least organized spot in our house, despite getting an overhaul at least twice a year. That’s because it’s our home’s outbox. Anything outgoing – from boxes to recycle to our Goodwill basket to anything I don’t have a spot for inside – gets tossed in there. At least the inside of the house is neat! I’m OK with having to sort through the big outbox a few times a year. Maybe one day it will get a FIFO method too.

A Place For Everything

My goal for my house is always to have a place for everything. This requires that you are intentional with both the places and the contents of each space. Things will naturally accumulate – that’s just part of life (and having kids!) Having systems to sort through the overflow will help keep that natural accumulation to a minimum. I always deal with mail the second it comes inside, and I have an inbox for Mazen’s school papers and art that I sort through when it’s 3/4 full. I have a basket for Goodwill items in the garage. When you have a place for everything – even the extra you know will come – then you’ll keep the clutter cycle to a minimum.

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