8 Expert-Approved Decluttering Tips
Clutter is a common problem that can often feel too overwhelming to tackle. To help you solve your biggest storage issues, we turned to professional organizers and designers for their tips. Use these expert-approved strategies to curb clutter for good.
Target your efforts.
Problem: Your organization efforts don't seem to yield results.
Solution: Avoid zigzag organizing. Scattering your efforts over multiple rooms prevents you from seeing progress. For visible, dramatic results, work one room at a time, suggests Julie M. Start with one section and complete each area before you move on to the next.
Top shelf solution:
Problem: The top shelves of your closet are difficult to keep organized.
Solution: Slip a slim step stool inside the linen closet so you can easily access the top shelves, suggests Jamie N,. If you can't reach the upper-shelf items, you most likely won't use them.
Problem: Generous gifting at holidays and birthdays overwhelms already stretched storage.
Solution: Lorie M, suggests going through toys with your child before birthdays and holidays. Have a donation station always available for kids to put toys when they have decided they're tired of them.
Household Must Haves:
Problem: Household necessities are tricky to store and even trickier to find.
Solution: Stacey P , suggests using stackable plastic drawers to manage household supplies such as light bulbs, vacuum cleaner bags, and batteries. Choose clear bins so you can see the contents at a glance, and add printable labels to streamline organization.
Donation in waiting:
Problem: You set aside things for donation, but they never make it out the door.
Solution: If you earmarked something for donation, take it directly to your car, suggests Susan P., When items waiting for a trip to the charitable drop-box linger, they can grow into a mountain of clutter.
Clean out schedule:
Problem: Your refrigerator is jam packed with food.
Solution: Use trash day as a reminder that it's time to clean out and organize the refrigerator, advises Marrero. You'll make room for new stuff to come in and get rid of any spoiled food before it gets smelly or messy.
Overwhelm, no more:
Problem: There's just too much clutter to tackle.
Solution: Come up with a plan and timeline for taking it one step at a time, advises professional organizer Kathy. Examine the room you want to organize and visually break it into small areas that you can tackle in increments. Set achievable deadlines to give yourself a goal to work toward, and make a list of what stays and what could go to reduce clutter. Focus on the reason you need to reorganize, such as creating a clutter-free area for family gatherings or cleaning out a guest room to make space for visitors.
Problem: You have trouble getting rid of things. The items have sentimental value, or you think you may need them in the future.
Solution: Keep only things that really matter to you, that you use, and that you have room for, says Marrero. Ask a trusted friend to help you go through memorabilia and keep you on track while you read old letters or look through old photos. Sort items into piles first to make it easier to make decisions. Be kind to yourself and give yourself more time to tackle objects that have feelings attached to them. But don't let grief or guilt convince you to keep things you don't really need. Keep only a few strong sentimental reminders.