There always seem to be particular areas of our homes that just attract clutter. These are usually high traffic rooms and places with lots of odds and ends that are difficult to organize.
Whether you have yours hidden in drawers or out in the open, clutter hotspots are unsightly and just plain annoying. So how do you get rid of them?
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How To Banish 12 Clutter Hotspots
1. Entry/ Foyer
Shoes, bags and coats create havoc in most entryways. Everyone is in a rush to get inside and drops their stuff as they enter the house.
Only leave items in the entry that are essential when you go out. Store sports gear and out of season items somewhere else.
Get rid of clutter at your front door by adding shelves, hooks and bins for your belongings. Simply attach these storage elements to an empty wall or utilize a closet, storage bench or free-standing cupboard.
2. Kitchen Counters
The kitchen is the heart of the home and usually, a well-used entrance is close-by. This results in a high traffic area that is susceptible to becoming one of the clutter hotspots in your home. Paper, food items and small appliances are primary suspects for contributing to the mess in the kitchen.
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Create a command centre (preferably one that can be hung on a wall) that includes hooks, small bins, folders and even a magnetic or pin board. This way keys, mail and other items can be easily sorted and stored for their next use.
Store food items and small appliances in cupboards or in the pantry.
The pantry becomes extremely cluttered when you purchase food you don’t eat or when items are bought in bulk. As a result, it’s hard to find what you need and you often forget what’s in there.
Sort through the items in your pantry and do the following:
- Discard expired items
- Group foods into categories and store in labelled jars or baskets. Sometimes it’s easier to take items out of their original packaging.
- Store frequently used items on shelves at eye-level, heavy items on the bottom shelf or floor and light bulk items at the top.
- Attach a notepad and pen to the back of the pantry door so family members can make a shopping list as food runs out. Ensure you use what you have before you buy any more.
4. Refrigerator Door
How many of you have a refrigerator door covered in children’s art work, important notices, schedules and photos?
Many of us are guilty of using the fridge door as a kind of notice board that holds good memories and to-do lists. When so much clutter builds up though, our brains really don’t process any of it.
Do the following to tidy the door:
- Remove everything.
- Only replace one or two pieces of artwork or souvenirs. Store the others in a bin and rotate weekly or monthly. If you find that you haven’t missed any of the items you removed, discard them.
- Write reminders for important dates or tasks in your planner or use a digital calendar like Google calendar that your entire family can access if necessary.
- Stash coupons in an envelope that you can take with you when needed.
5. Kitchen or dining Table
The table in the kitchen or dining room is usually a hub of activity. Not only does your family eat there, they also use it to do homework, pay bills, complete craft projects etc.
One way to combat the buildup of clutter left behind by these activities is to enforce a policy that all items must be removed and stored in their rightful place immediately after the task is done.
6. Bathroom vanity
Bathroom counters can become cluttered because people tend to get ready in a rush so they can leave the house for school or work. Also, why put away something you’re just going to use later, right?
A vanity surface covered with toothbrushes, moisturizer, makeup, soap and everything else you use daily, looks messy and cleaning it is a chore.
As always, discard expired or infrequently-used items. Then, dedicate drawers or storage bins in the cupboards of your bathroom vanity to place all the items that are left. If possible, give each person their own drawer or storage bin so they are responsible for putting away all of their items after use and it is easy to do.
7. Bedroom Furniture
Chairs, side tables and chest of drawers are clutter hotspots typically found in the bedroom. Clothes, books and other items find their way onto these surfaces and never leave.
Put a stop to that by setting a decorative tray or plant on top of drawers and side tables. When something looks pretty, we want to keep it that way and bare surfaces are magnets for junk.
If you have a chair in your bedroom that’s a holding area for laundry, this means you probably don’t sit in that chair. Remove it and replace it with a plant instead.
8. Coffee Table
Often a coffee table gets messy because we’re too lazy to put away items as soon as we are done with them. Empty glasses, books, toys and too many remote controls take over the space.
- Get a storage ottoman to house toys and keep them out of sight.
- Utilize the shelves of the TV stand to store DVDs.
- A magazine rack or bookshelf is a great solution if you have a ton of reading material that always piles up.
- Place a pretty tray on the coffee table to house the remote controls and to signal that it is not a place to store clutter.
9. Exercise Equipment
Do you have laundry hanging from your treadmill or a thick layer of dust covering the stationary bike?
If you do, it’s a safe bet that the exercise equipment is not being used. Sell it to get rid of these clutter hotspots and make a little cash while you’re at it. There are plenty of ways to workout at home without equipment when motivation strikes.
10. Junk Drawer
The notorious junk drawer. Whether it’s in your kitchen or office, we all have one. It’s usually full of all kinds of random bits and bobs that we don’t know what to do with.
- Clear the drawer out and discard anything you don’t need.
- Group similar items into piles.
- Buy a plastic drawer divider and store the categorized items in there. This will help to bring some semblance of order to the drawer and you will have a better idea of what you have stored.
Closets can be clutter hotspots as they are regularly stuffed with boxes filled with who-knows-what and clothes from a different era. Sometimes, you store items in a closet when you just don’t know what to do with them.
Sort through the closet and pare down your wardrobe. Remove items that are damaged, that you no longer want or need and clothes that don’t fit (or are out of style). Anything you have doubts about discarding, place in a bin. After six months, get rid of any items you have not taken from the bin.
Quite frequently, the garage becomes a dumping ground. Boxes filled with possessions you don’t want to store in the house, exercise equipment, sports gear and tools can quickly take over. Soon you find parking your car requires a skill that should not be necessary.
- Start by clearing the garage out.
- Install shelves and other storage solutions.
- Donate or sell items you no longer need or want.
- Limit the number of storage bins or allotted space for items you do want to keep e.g. Christmas decorations. This way you won’t buy more than you have room for.
- Try the one in, one out rule. If you purchase a new item, you have to get rid of something that already occupies that space immediately.
Make sure that your whole family is involved in maintaining a clutter-free home so that the people responsible for creating the mess are the ones managing it and not just the person who does most of the cleaning.
Banishing clutter hotspots requires you to break old habits and establish new ones. It may seem tough at first but once you have easy systems in place, it’s completely feasible.
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