Deal With Clutter in Your Household

Deal with clutter piles before they become an insurmountable impassable mountain. You will need to systematically eliminate the piles in your house.  Identify and write down the piles that continually accumulate in your home. You have created these piles or allowed other people to put them in your life.  It is up to you to remove them and make a plan to keep them from reccurring.  I will discuss the most common household piles and develop a system for elimination.

Papers are the most common piles that create  clutter in your house.  Deal immediately with each paper that you touch.  Make a decision to file it or throw it away.  Set up a filing system for papers you need to keep. Use colored folders designated for all major categories.  Stacking papers on the counter, furniture, or floor should never be an option.

Unworn Clothes
Say good-bye to clothes that are dated, do not fit, you do not like, or you simply do not wear.  Clothes your children have outgrown should be packed away for future siblings, or shared with a friend.  It is difficult for me to give away clothes my children have worn because they hold special memories, memories I want to keep.  One day I realized that saving clothes from four children was creating many piles in my life.  I spent several days going through all the clothing and saving a selected few;  the outfit they wore home from the hospital, an outfit from someone special, or a hand-made item. I looked in my photo albums to see if I had a photo memory of these clothes.  I took a picture of the clothes that I didn’t keep but wanted to remember.   I donated the clothes I had a photo of.

This is a pile you will have to discipline yourself to deal with daily. Doing laundry lends itself ideally to multi-tasking.  You can put a load of clothes in the washer, another in the dryer and quickly move on to other tasks.  Use a system of divided laundry baskets or hanging bags for dirty clothes to eliminate sorting dirty clothes each time you wash.  You will need to train your family to put their dirty clothes in the correct container.  Fold clean laundry immediately and put it away.  Do not throw it in a basket or on top of the dryer to deal with later: That is the beginning of an undesirable pile.  When you have extra time, go ahead and do a load of laundry even if it is a small one.  Select an economical cycle on your washer.  By keeping dirty laundry at a minimum, you can maintain control of laundry piles during busier times in your schedule.

Movie DVD, Videos, and Games
Look at the area next to your entertainment center and see if every household member has put the tape or disk back into it’s labeled container.  If you have piles of tapes scattered around you will need to do three things.  Devise a storage system that will allow access to each item without moving other items.  Give away articles that have served their purpose, such as that weight loss DVD that didn’t work.  Items that are infrequently used should be stored in containers somewhere else in your house.  Leave room for growth in case you add to electronic library.

Books and Magazines
Limit the number of books and magazines you own to the amount of storage space you have.  Every book and magazine should have a home.  Office stores and discount stores stock inexpensive magazine holders that fit on bookshelves.  These magazine racks are available in many sizes and colors.  Do not fill your shelves to capacity because you will always need room for growth.  When you purchase a new book make sure you first have created a home for it on the shelf.

Little pieces
Make sure little items such as paper clips, rubber bands, nails, batteries, etc. have a home. Separate them into small containers and place them in a drawer or box that is accessible for everyone.

One dirty dish always has the potential of becoming twenty-five.  Deal with the one dish in your sink and you will never face a sink and counter full of dirty dishes.

If you do not want your house to look like a toy factory you will need to rotate toys so they are not all available at once.  Select a few toys for your child to play with and switch the toys weekly or monthly.   Your child will be excited to play with ‘new’ toys and you will not have piles of toy clutter.  Train your children to put toys away.

 Establish two principles:

  • Deal with piles while they are small and easy to tackle.
  • Purge your home of unwanted items on a regular basis.


About Diana Koenig