The meteoric rise of organizing guru Marie Kondo and her philosophy of living a tidy life has made one thing abundantly clear for many Americans – we hold on to too much stuff! A cluttered space full of unnecessary things leads to a cluttered brain full of unnecessary thoughts. If the KonMari Method seems too extreme for you (Kondo recommends getting rid of everything that doesn’t spark joy), parting with even a few items and organizing the rest can completely rejuvenate your home. Follow these steps to start living a life free from clutter.
Unload What’s Unneeded
The first step to leading an uncluttered life is getting rid of the things you no longer use or need. Sort through the following examples of common clutter, and keep them if they add value to your life, or toss, sell or donate them if they don’t:
- Old books and magazines
- Clothes you don’t wear
- Unused kitchen gadgets
- Receipts, bills and documents
- Outdated or old electronics
Clean up the Kitchen
A cluttered life is often felt most strongly in the kitchen, where having adequate space can be the difference between a quiet evening of calm cooking or a hectic night of frenzied multitasking.
Preserve Precious Counter Space
Your kitchen counter’s layout should follow the logic of a craftsman’s workbench – an organized space for creation with tools thoughtfully arranged for efficient use. As a workspace, your counters shouldn’t sacrifice precious real estate to unused items. Store bigger appliances, like slow cookers and toaster ovens, on or in cabinets to be retrieved when needed. Utilize more vertical space with wall hooks and racks to hang kitchen towels, spices and even pots and pans.
Keep items together if they’re frequently used with one another. For example, putting your coffee supplies and mugs in the cabinet above your coffee maker and next to the sink will create a morning flow that’s a breeze, even when you wake up on the wrong side of the bed.
Sort out Your Storage
Don’t go overboard with containers! A few plastic reusable storage containers are great for holding leftovers and tomorrow’s lunch, but too many can easily lead to overflowing cabinets. Keep a reasonable amount stored with their lids somewhere out of the way (or inside a bigger container).
There are more ways to cleverly store kitchen items than ever before, so be sure to pick a system that works best for your lifestyle.
Lasso Clutter in Leisure Spaces
Much of your leisure time is probably spent in your living, family or recreation rooms, so it’s important that these destressing spaces are free from stressful clutter.
Keep Surfaces Clear
Developing good habits will help prevent your living areas from becoming cluttered. At least once a day, clear off any out-of-place items from the surfaces of the room to be put back in their correct places. This will only take a few minutes but will make a noticeable difference.
Put Stuff in a Storage Basket
For the items that always manage to reappear but never seem to vanish, keep a large storage basket handy. Large baskets are a stylish storage solution that are especially useful for blankets, toys and books.
Reinvent a Restful Bedroom
Many people are not getting enough rest. Your bedroom should be a sanctuary for dressing, relaxing and sleeping. Anything that interferes with this is clutter. Put small accessories, like jewelry, together in decorative bowls or jewelry boxes. You’ll also need a quality hamper to keep dirty laundry off the floor and out of sight.
Reclaim Your Closet
There are as many ways to organize a closet as there are clothes to put in them, but a few simple strategies will keep any closet looking its best. Decide how you want to organize your clothing and stick with the plan. Here are a few suggestions:
- Organize by zone, like garment type, occasion or season
- Keep favorite outfits together
- Reduce your wardrobe to only essential items
Closets can be easily transformed into a storage-lover’s paradise with a few organizing accessories. Keep shoes off the floor with a wall-mounted or back-of-the-door rack. Add storage bins or drawers for folded garments.
Bolster Your Bathroom Organization
Bathrooms are ripe for clutter, but the room where we clean ourselves should also stay clean itself.
Detox the Medicine Cabinet
The only items in your medicine cabinet should be things you use on a regular basis. Toss any old or expired medications while keeping useful things, like grooming supplies.
Get Hooked or Hit the Bar
A row of hooks is an easy and inexpensive way to add more space and productivity to your bathroom. Hanging wet towels on a hook on the wall or behind the door will aid in organization, help towels dry faster and keep your floor dry. Towel bars provide a similar benefit, but multiple hooks make more efficient use of space.
Utilize Unused Space
The area above your toilet is usually prime storage real estate that goes unused. Adding an over-the-toilet cabinet or shelf can drastically increase your bathroom’s storage potential without sacrificing a space that’s already being utilized. With basic wireframe toilet toppers starting around $30, this could be the perfect solution to your bathroom clutter woes.
With this guide, you’re now ready to ditch the clutter that has been encroaching on your home and mind. However, even the best decluttering guides boil down to this: the trick to living an uncluttered life is to not let your life become cluttered. Spending just a few minutes decluttering every day is much simpler than tackling the entire house for hours every week.