Battling Clutter: A Plan of Attack

attack clutter

It lives on countertops, tables, shelves, desks, and just about anywhere else that stuff can be set down. It collects dust and takes up space, and at some point, we become so used to seeing it everyday that it just starts to blend in. What is this menace to minimalists and neat-nicks alike?

It’s clutter, and it’s driving me crazy!

So here’s my plan of attack to battle the clutter in our living space:

Papers

In this digital era, how do we still manage to accumulate so. many. papers? They’re the one thing that I can never seem to stay on top of.

We have a drawer that is basically the black hole for paperwork. It’s where organization goes to die, because paperwork is mixed up and piled up in one big, stupid mess. Every time that I open that drawer to shove something in, I think about how desperately it needs to be cleaned out and organized, and every time, I just shut the drawer and move on. Not anymore!

I have some plastic file folders that I got for a dollar, and the papers will be sorted and separated accordingly. I made designated sections for categories:

  • Car related– insurance, repair work records, sale records
  • Medical– insurance, bills from Doctor visits, etc
  • Pay Stubs
  • Credit Card & Bank statements
  • Misc.– anything else

Drawers

We just got a new dresser for our clothes, as well as one for our daughter. This presents the perfect opportunity to purge and let go of those items that haven’t been worn in years.

I know I’m definitely guilty of holding on to things just because I think, “what if my style suddenly changes and I do want to wear this someday?”  Never happens, but I’m sure some of you can relate. Also, because I try to be minimalist, I feel guilty letting go of things, even when they clearly need to be replaced. I hate buying something new if I don’t absolutely need to. Need, of course, is sometimes a matter of opinion.

There are so many items just cluttering up my drawers and taking up space, not to mention all of the things that get set down on top of the dresser. It’s time to let go of old clothes, makeup, and jewelry so that my new dresser is organized and neat from Day 1.

Toys

A note to all new parents: There’s a pretty good chance that you won’t need to buy your child any toys, because other people will be more than happy to give them more than they could ever need. At least, this has been the case for us. My daughter has enough toys for 10 kids, and we’ve hardly bought any of them ourselves. Relatives and friends seem to give her something just about every time we see them, not to mention the relatives who are happy to offer us their unwanted items when they do a clean up, too.

This has left us over-run with kiddie clutter. We finally bought a toy box from Ikea for $15 for the bedroom, and as I mentioned the other day, I refinished another wooden box that was collecting dust in the basement. That one is going in the living room.

When in doubt, throw it out

This is my new motto towards junk. If I can’t think of how something is useful or needed within a few minutes, it’s going in the trash or donation pile.

Is clutter taking over your life? How often do you attack the clutter in your home?

About Lauren

Lauren May is a freelance writer and travel lover living on a budget.

27 thoughts on “Battling Clutter: A Plan of Attack

  1. Pingback: This Week's Favorites! | The Weight Of Debt
  2. I really need to go through my clothes at the end of the Summer and decide what I want to keep and what I want to get rid of. There’s too much in my closet and drawers that I don’t wear. I hear you about papers…I have a pathetic number of file folders at home.

  3. I attack it when it becomes a hassle and less of a benefit. I tend to only bring home stuff I really need, and not useless stuff. Being frugal it helps to keep things simple and clutter free.

  4. Lauren,

    I hear you on the papers. One of the best things we ever did was buy a lateral filing cabinet from IKEA. We have folders for all of our important type papers that are neatly filed away. It keeps us very organized and keeps the clutter to a minimum around the house.

  5. I hate clutter so I am doing pretty good in this department =) We also had a huge garage sale earlier this year. That helped to get rid of the clutter in our garage. We’re now clutter-free, but it never seems to take long to start accumulating stuff again.

  6. My mom used to keep a really organized file cabinet with just about everything we ever needed to access. I wish I could get there. We actually moved a whole box of papers with us, how sad is that? We finally sat down last month to clear most of it out. I think we still need to file things away, but at least the junk is gone. I blame my boyfriend, as I opt-in to all the paperless options when available. Good luck!

  7. I don’t have kids but I already have plenty of clutter. I was cleaning out a closet this weekend and found a car manual for a car we don’t even own anymore. I found vet bills from 3 years ago and just all sorts of crap. Drives me crazy too!

  8. I go through a massive de-clutter process once a season and then little ones at least once a week. I have found that I actually have a difficult time working with clutter around me and the time that I take to clear things up, gives me so many more hours in productivity afterward that it is worth the investment.

  9. I’ve move a few times in my life and every time I can’t believe how much stuff is on my drawers. I don’t understand how I can collect so much crap.

    I don’t have kids yet so I don’t have the toys problem… wait, I have a bunch of toys. Why?

  10. We relocated a long distance internationally and to a much smaller space in 2009, a great opportunity to declutter! I got rid of a huge amount of stuff, and miss none of it. And we made $2,000 through a couple of garage sales!

  11. I feel your pain Lauren, we have clutter all over the place. I’ve challenged myself though to get rid of a lot of it this summer, by the end of next month actually. Our garage looks like something exploded in there. As far the toys & kids, I could not agree more. We have three and it seems like their junk…err toys…is half of it. 🙂

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