Got clutter? Get rid of it the right way with these tips and tricks from our storage and organization experts here at Stor-It. Read on for general decluttering recommendations and room-by-room guides designed to help you streamline the decluttering process and get the most out of your space. Stop clutter in its tracks and open up your home this season!
Create Your 5 Decluttering Containers
To effectively declutter, you have to be organized. Simply attacking clutter with no clear plan or system is not likely to lead to any long-term solutions. (It may, in fact, lead to more clutter.) To make your next decluttering effort worthwhile, get organized by gathering a number of containers to house your items in the short-term. These containers will help you quickly clear out your space while simultaneously sorting your items and helping you determine their final resting places. Using containers will also save you time and energy since you won’t need to run back and forth from room to room as you sort, store, and throw items away. Here are the containers you’ll need for optimal organization during the decluttering process:
- The “Put Away” Container. The “put away” container is for possessions that have found their way out of their usual resting spots. If you see an item and you know where it goes, place it in the “put away” container. Common items for this container include dishes, loose books, shoes, portable electronics, and work items.
- The “Fix/Repair” Container. Broken items have an innate ability to collect dust and contribute to clutter. Why? Because most of us are too busy to fix them and put them away. Change this pattern by putting all of your broken items and incomplete projects into the “fix/repair” container, then place this container somewhere prominent in your home so you are reminded to take care of your future fixing errands. Common items for this container include torn or stained clothes, scuffed or tattered shoes, broken electronics, and incomplete craft projects.
- The “Recycle” Container. As you start to clean and declutter, you’ll likely encounter items that can simply be thrown away. But before you turn to the trash, check and see your throwaway items can be recycled. If they can, place them in the “recycle” container. Recycling saves energy and benefits the environment, so it’s an excellent thing to do whenever you declutter. Common items for this container include uncontaminated papers, plastics, and glass.
- The “Trash” Container. Useless, unsightly, and sometimes smelly, non-recyclable trash is the worst kind of clutter culprit. Create a “trash” container (an existing trash bag or trash bin will do) to quickly dispose of garbage whenever you find it. Common items for this container include food wrappers, food itself, tissues, old cleaning supplies or cosmetics, plant waste, and more.
- The “Donate” Container. Decluttering is an excellent opportunity for donation. If you find items you no longer use that might be of service to someone else, place them in the “donate” container. After you’re done decluttering, you can drop this container off at any community donation for an easy deposit (and a potential tax write-off, provided you fill out the proper paperwork). Common items for this container include old clothes, unused appliances or electronic devices, furniture, books, toys, jewelry, housewares, and more.
When in Doubt, Toss it Out
As you begin the decluttering process by placing your items into the above containers, you’ll likely find that there are several items you’re unsure about. Almost always, this hesitancy boils down to a single dilemma: do you keep the item, or do you throw it away? The answer: throw it away. Here’s why. The fact that you are hesitant about keeping the item shows that you may not need it in the first place, which is a good indicator that it’s likely a central part of the clutter problem. After all, clutter comes from an excess of items that sit for long periods of time without being used or properly stored. Simply sorting an item into a container may not solve the clutter problem. It may even perpetuate it.
Kept items will be placed in the “put away” or “fix/repair” container, while thrown away items will go into the “recycle,” “trash,” or “donate” bin. Items in the latter set of bins will quickly be leaving your building, either with the garbage truck or by way of the donation center. But items in the former set of bins won’t. They’ll get cycled back into your indoor space. Hopefully, they’ll be properly stored and used, but this isn’t always the case. More often than not, those items you were unsure about will quickly become clutter again. Lastly, throwing away an item away doesn’t simply mean tossing it into the trash. Many items can be recycled or donated, which means they’ll contribute to a good cause. Armed with this knowledge, you may feel a bit better about “throwing away” your items, which will ultimately make the decision-making process that much easier.
Expand At-Home Space With Creative Storage Ideas
Often, clutter is caused by insufficient or inefficient storage. When we don’t have places to place our items, they end up in piles or strewn about on the floor. If you think your home has adequate storage, think again. Today’s most space-efficient homes make use of several creative storage ideas that help minimize clutter, maximize space usage, and create incredible ambiance indoors. Here are just a few of these creative storage ideas you implement to declutter your space.
- Staircase shelves. If you have stairs in your home, you probably use them every day. But did you ever stop to think that your stairs are an excellent opportunity for extra storage? Staircases have some of the largest wall space anywhere inside a property. If the stairs are sufficiently wide, shelving can be installed along a staircase wall to expand storage and give stairs a unique aesthetic appeal.
- Under-the-bed drawers. Beds take up large amounts of area in every room they occupy. However, most beds are elevated off the ground by a bed frame, leaving the space underneath them free for storage. While simply cramming things under your bed is a recipe for clutter, investing in under-the-bed drawers will allow you to use the space under your bed effectively. When compared to the frightening cavern of an empty under-the-bed space, ergonomic drawers will also prompt you to actually access those things you’ve stored under your bed.
- Multi-use coffee tables. Most living rooms have coffee tables for people to set down food, drinks, books, and other items they might be holding. While useful and aesthetically appealing, coffee tables also consume a lot of space while providing very little storage. Solve this problem by investing in a coffee table with built-in storage space in the form of a lower shelf or drawers. You’ll be surprised at how many things you’ll be able to store in this single, multi-use piece of furniture.
- Door storage. Vertical storage is a great way to organize items and maximize space. Cabinets, shelves, and wall spaces come to mind, but doors are often overlooked when it comes to vertical storage. Doors have several square feet of space ideal for housing lightweight items such as shoes, hats, accessories, and even backpacks. Install a single hook or hanging shelf unit to bring vertical storage to any door in your building.
- Entryway drop zones. Like staircases and doors, entryways often go ignored as excellent storage spaces. Make use of your foyers and hallways by adding a few sets of hooks, wall-mounted shelves, or small side-stands to create quick-and-easy storage drop-able items like keys, coats, and backpacks.
Invest in Self Storage for Your Extra Stuff
Even with the most creative and efficient storage setup in your home, clutter can still persist. Sometimes, we simply don’t have enough space to responsibly store all of our belongings. If this sounds like the issue you’re facing, self-storage is your solution. With self-storage, you can store your excess items off-site for an affordable rate, freeing up space in your home and taking care of clutter in one fell swoop. Today’s top self-storage facilities offer a number of unit sizes to handle item collections large and small. Many also feature climate-controlled units for temperature- and humidity-sensitive items, packing supplies for sale, and facility surveillance cameras. Finding and reserving a storage unit near you is a great way to rid your space of clutter while still holding on to the things you love.
Tackle Decluttering Room by Room
Now that you’ve learned about general decluttering tips, it’s time to get your hands dirty and begin decluttering. The best way to do this is to go room by room — sorting, organizing, and rearranging your space one room at a time so as to not get overwhelmed and to keep your decluttering process relatively contained. To help you get started, we’ve composed a short decluttering overview for each of the primary rooms in the home. Check out these room-specific decluttering tips, and dive into decluttering armed with the knowledge you need to knock out clutter once and for all.
- The Bedroom
A clean and decluttered room can do wonders for your productivity and overall well-being. Your bedroom is your inner sanctum, the place you sleep and wake up each and every day. Clutter in the bedroom can quickly throw you out of balance, while a clean and clutter-free room can promote energy, positivity, and productivity. To declutter your bedroom, begin with the bed and move outward from there. Wash your sheets and make your bed. After that, clear off your floor before moving to your furniture. Clear off the tops of nightstands, dressers, and desks, throwing things you find into the applicable bins. Then, repeat this process with each drawer and its contents. Finally, clean out your closet. You may need to reset and empty out your bins before this last step, as closets often contain the highest concentrations of clutter. Once you’ve done that, empty your bins and put things in their proper places.
- The Living Room
Often the most spacious room in the entire home, the living room is also frequently the most trafficked. For this reason, it can quickly collect clutter of all kinds. To declutter your living room, first, take stock of all storage in the room. Do your shelves and cabinets have a specific use? Do they have space to spare? If so, begin your decluttering with an eye to each storage area’s specific theme, with the overall goal of freeing up space. Once you’ve taken care of storage areas, move around your living room picking up things off the floor and clearing off the surfaces of your coffee table and any smaller tables and stands. Lastly, assess all electronics in your living room. Are they being used? Do they work at all? If the answer to either of these questions is no, add the broken or unused electronics into applicable containers. By the time you’re finished, you should have a living room free of clutter and ready to entertain.
- The Bathroom
Though small, bathrooms are also heavily-trafficked areas of the room. As most families and tenants use bathrooms to store their cosmetics and other care supplies, these rooms can quickly become cluttered with smaller items. Start your decluttering with the densest area of the bathroom in terms of items: the medicine cabinet. Take stock of everything inside and discard the things you don’t need by putting them into the “trash” or “recycle” container. From the medicine cabinet, move onto other cabinets and drawers and sort through their contents. Finally, create an inventory of the items in your shower and tub, and clear off your countertops. Decluttering your bathroom shouldn’t take long, and doing so will make it easier to deep-clean.
- The Kitchen
The epicenter of food storage and preparation, the kitchen can quickly become a clutter cave of the worst kind. Dirty dishes, crowded countertops, and open food containers can contribute to a cluttered kitchen atmosphere that no one wants to visit. To make your kitchen welcoming and useful, clear out clutter by systematizing the decluttering process. We recommend either decluttering according to item type (dishes, foods, appliances, etc.) by kitchen zones (cabinets, countertops, eating surfaces, etc.). To get the best results with each system, it’s important to look over each and every item to assess whether you should keep it or throw it out. This will help you catch any spoiled food and efficiently clean out storage areas themselves. You might need to empty your containers several times, but the results will be worth it. A decluttered kitchen is a happy kitchen.
- Entryways, Hallways, and Spare Rooms
Entryways, hallways, and spare rooms in the home can often harbor clutter simply because no one spends a lot of time in them. Residents are frequently guilty of using these spaces as their personal repositories and nothing else. To declutter entryways and hallways, take a self-guided tour of your home and see what you find. Sort items into applicable bins and keep an eye out for any areas that may benefit from better storage. Empty your containers before entering your spare room, as you may find an excess of clutter there. Tackle the room from the entrance inward, taking care to assess each and every item. Who knows, by the time you’re done decluttering, your spare room might actually be fit for a guest.
Learn More and Declutter Your Space With Stor-It
Decluttering doesn’t have to be a dreaded chore. Meet clutter head on in your home with the tips in this guide and reap the rewards. Have extra clutter-related questions? Want more tips on how to declutter the right way to save yourself hassle and headache? Our experts at Stor-It are here to help. Visit our Storage FAQ and Storage Help pages to learn more about how self-storage can help you declutter, contact us to speak with a member of our storage team directly and have your questions answered. Ready to start decluttering? Visit our Locations page to learn more about each of 14 Idaho self-storage facilities and reserve your unit with us today!