Battle clutter and enjoy a tidier home

Clutter Free Home Ideas That Actually Work

It lives on counter tops, tables, shelves, desks, and just about anywhere else that stuff can be set down. It collects dust and takes up space. At some point, we become so used to seeing it every day 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! Is it driving you crazy, too?

When clutter starts to overtake every surface in my home, I know it’s time to take action. Achieving and maintaining a tidy home with kids is no easy task, so having a plan to tackle it fast helps.

Here are my clutter free home ideas that I’m putting into action:

Cutting Back and Organizing 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 all paperwork. It’s where organization goes to die because paperwork of all kinds 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. Every time, I just shut the drawer and move on.

Not anymore!


Choose an area to store and keep paperwork that you may need in the short term. Then, get some colored file folders to organize the different categories of paperwork. Use an accordion folder to keep paperwork that you need or want to hold on to, but aren’t likely to need in the short term.

Start separating the papers and filing them away accordingly.

I picked up a few plastic file folders from the dollar store.  Using the tabs that they came with, I made designated sections for each of these categories:

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

Now anything that I need to reference, I can find and grab quickly. It’s no longer sitting in a pile in a drawer and taking over my dining room hutch. When new papers come in, they have a home.

Clutter Free Home Ideas for 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 clothing items that haven’t been worn in years.

I know I’m definitely guilty of holding on to random 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!

Since I strive to be more minimalist, I feel guilty about 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 the start.

Set aside some time to go through your dresser drawers. It doesn’t have to take hours- even just a few minutes of looking through the items you have in each drawer can make a big difference.

Ditch any clothes that you no longer fit or ever wear. Also, get rid of worn-out socks and undies, swimsuits that you haven’t worn for 5 summers, and anything that hasn’t seen the light of day in the past year.

The changing seasons is the ideal time to give your drawers and closet a quick once-through. Toss the clothing items and accessories you no longer want to wear or simply no longer fit into a donation bag. You’ll free up space and have less to look at when you go to get dressed.

Clutter Free Home Ideas for Kids: Tackling Toys

3.1% of all of the world’s population of children live in the United States, yet they own 40% of all toys globally. This stunning statistic is an excellent reminder that our kids simply do not need so much junk.

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 kids have enough toys for 10 kids, and we’ve hardly bought any of them ourselves. Relatives and friends seem to give them something just about every time we see them, not to mention the relatives who’ve been happy to offer us their unwanted items when they do a clean out, too.

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

Toys tend to spill out into every room in the home. In the living room, I use baskets and bins to keep the most-liked toys stored. At the end of the day, it only takes a minute to get everything picked up and tossed into the bins.

A great way to cut back on toys without actually ditching them is by taking half of your children’s toys and storing them in a plastic tote for a few weeks or months. Limit the number of toys that they have to play with right now. Then when you swap out the items with the ones in the tote, it’ll be like they’re seeing the toys for the first time! They’ll be excited to play with the “new” stuff, and you’ll be excited to have less crap to clean up each day.

When in doubt, throw it out

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

Staying organized and keeping a home clutter-free is a constant work in process. With kids, it’s almost impossible to avoid messes and clutter accumulation. I’ve found that the trick to tackling it is to simply commit to staying on top of it as much as I possibly can. It makes for a tidier, happier home.

Is clutter taking over your life? What clutter free home ideas work for you?



27 comments on “Clutter Free Home Ideas That Actually Work

  • Let It Go - The Write Budget , Direct link to comment

    […] been doing lately, you’d think it was Springtime. I’ve mentioned before how I cannot stand clutter, but despite my best efforts, it always seems to creep back in. Such is life with a little one, I […]

  • This Week's Favorites! | The Weight Of Debt , Direct link to comment

    […] Write Budget is sharing her time Battling Clutter: A Plan of Attack. Love posts like these as I am preparing to purge my own home of […]

  • Addison @ Cashville Skyline , Direct link to comment

    Before we can start renovating our basement, we have to go through all of our stuff and de-clutter. Once it’s renovated and rented, we’ll have less space, so we’ll have to sell/donate/toss quite a bit.

  • DC @ Young Adult Money , Direct link to comment

    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.

  • EL @ Moneywatch101 , Direct link to comment

    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.

  • MoneyAhoy , Direct link to comment

    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.

  • Holly@ClubThrifty , Direct link to comment

    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.

  • Debt Busting Chick , Direct link to comment

    I’ve been meaning to tackle the clutter in my top draw for 1 year now. I guess I’m lacking the motivation to just get on with it.

  • E.M. , Direct link to comment

    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!

    • Lauren , Direct link to comment

      I admire people with organized files. I always try to stay on top of it, but it never seems to stop growing.

  • Liz , Direct link to comment

    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!

  • Will , Direct link to comment

    I don’t own anything I don’t use nearly each day. Really helps help clutter from building up.

  • Shannon @ Financially Blonde , Direct link to comment

    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.

  • Aldo @ Million Dollar Ninja , Direct link to comment

    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?

  • MMD , Direct link to comment

    Toys are the worst! If it were left up to my son, there would be Lego sets in every room.

  • Kurt @ Money Counselor , Direct link to comment

    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!

  • John @ Sprout Wealth , Direct link to comment

    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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