There are plenty of tips and articles out there on how to keep your space organized, but sometimes what we really need is solid advice on how to cut clutter.
In an article for Organized Home, professional organizer and author of The Complete Idiot's Guide To Getting Organized Cynthia Ewer said that, "too many home managers struggle under the burden of household clutter," and that too often important documents like credit card statements can get lost, leading to late payment fees, or people end up buying duplicates of things they already have, wasting both time and money.
When it comes to my apartment, I'm not actually all that disorganized — I know where things are in my kitchen and I have a simple process for things like mail and important documents — the problem is it often feels like there is just never enough space for my stuff, or worse, stuff piles back up within hours of a cleaning session.
Whether you're losing important documents in the chaos of your house or are just sick and tired of your space never staying neat with everything in its place, you're absolutely not alone. If you're looking for simple, manageable solutions to help your space stay decluttered, here are seven tips to help.
1. Utilize Wall Space
In an article for Real Simple, New York City prop stylist Erin Swift recommended using empty wall space for more shelves and storage. For a useful and decorative tip, she also suggested using chalk board paint against a wall and using chalk to indicate what items belong on each shelf.
Prepac Hanging Entryway Wall Shelf, $77.99, Walmart.com
2. An Everyday Tub For Essentials
In the same Real Simple piece, design blogger Benita Larsson suggested placing a tub by your front door for all the various little "unfindable" things that usually end up all over the house. The tub can be used for things like sunscreen and bug spray in summer, and mittens, hats, and scarves in winter.
6.5 Gallon Red Medium Tubtrug, $12.58, USPlastic.com
3. Keep It Simple
In an article for Apartment Therapy, professional organizer Jeni Aron stressed to keep things simple when aiming to keep your life decluttered. "I know I only like Aveda shampoo and Kiehl's face wash," Aron said. "This seemingly shallow information actually creates less confusion and clutter in my shower. In the mornings I'm not wrestling with a test laboratory of 18 different bottles of lotions and potions."
InteriorDesign Zia Shower Caddy, $21, Myhabit.com
4. Spend 15 Minutes Every Day Staying Organized
Aron also stressed the important of small everyday maintenance to maintain an organized and decluttered space. "I take out the garbage every day (because I have a tiny garbage can, which also encourages trash removal). I put things back in their 'homes' once I'm done with them. This way, I don't have junk piles all over my apartment that I have to spend hours on a Sunday wrangling and cursing," Aron said.
5. Create Systems
Keeping things decluttered doesn't just have to be about your physical space; it can be about your virtual space as well. Aron strongly recommended creating email folders for all your different projects and information so that you don't waste any time searching through hundreds of files for a single email. "You can do this with doctors, kid's school emails (sort by year, teacher, kid) and every other area of your life. When the project or year is over, go nuts with deleting," Aron said.
Similarly, in a compilation of home organizing tips on Good Housekeeping, one contributor recommended keeping all remotes in a decorative box or bowl so that you never have to spend time searching for them.
6. Deal With Mail Immediately
In the same piece for Good Housekeeping, Cheryl Eisen, home stager and President of the Interior Marketing Group, said she subjects every piece of mail that she gets to the "two F's test." If you can't file it or frame it, then you should toss it asap. This will save you sorting through a pile of mail on the weekend, or worse, losing something important.
7. Remember: Good Enough Is Enough
In an Apartment Therapy compilation piece on what not to do when decluttering your home, contributors stressed that no actual real people have homes or closets that look like a room in a Container Store catalogue. Those images are designed by a team of stylists and no one actually uses any of those neatly lined shelves and baskets. You should instead just aim for a system that gets the job done and keeps your clutter levels within the range you can line within.
Don't let a chronically cluttered space overwhelm you. There are a ton of small and totally doable ways to keep clutter levels manageable, leaving you more able to use and enjoy your space the way you should!