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’s my plan of attack to battle the clutter in our living space:
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.
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
- 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.
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 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.
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? How often do you attack the clutter in your home?