October 16, 2009

Solutions to Three Clutter Problems

Magazine Clutter

Toss magazines older than 3 months. A new one will always come next month. If you never get a chance to read them, consider not renewing them. Instead of keeping the entire magazine, tear out articles you want to read, decorating ideas, items you wish to purchase, etc., and place them in reading, or “idea” folders that you can access later. If you must keep the magazines, such as cooking magazines for the recipes, put them in a magazine holder in a location that is easily accessible in the kitchen. 

Clothing Clutter

Can’t remember the last time you wore an article of clothing? Turn all of your hangers in the opposite direction of the way you normally hang up your clothes. After you wear the item, hang it back up the normal direction. After 3-6 months you will have a good idea of what you are not wearing. It may be time to eliminate a few of those pieces and let someone else get some use from them.

Empty Boxes Clutter

One of the biggest space wasters in the garage are empty boxes – that are being kept, because you might need them “someday.” After a while the boxes will become dusty and could start to smell and then you will not want to use it anyway. You can always get another box and free up that space for something you really need to keep! If you are keeping the boxes purely for the information on the side, such as computer information, you may want to cut that section off and file it with your warranties, unless you think you may need to return the computer in the original box.

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Laura Leist Laura Leist, CPO, is a speaker, productivity consultant and the best-selling author of Eliminate Chaos: The 10-Step Process to Organize Your Home & Life. She founded the Seattle-based organizing services firm Eliminate Chaos in 2000 and is the President of NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers). Laura is a frequent guest on TV, radio and has been published in several national newspapers and magazines.

(c) Eliminate Chaos, reprinted with permission


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Christine Simiriglia

I absolutely love the hanger trick. I've got lots of info on de-cluttering closets on my site: http://www.organize-more-stress-less.com, but you've just hit me with a new tip. Thanks so much.

Jennifer Nichols

Are you kidding, that's the worst clutter in your home? First I don't subscribe to magazines or newspapers...they are just clutter! I have mail clutter, what do you do with it while you are waiting for your husband to deal with it...it just stacks up. Then there is laundry clutter, and teen stuff clutter (again waiting for others to do their organizing).


That's a great idea with the hangers! I bought colored coded hangers for pants, shirts, dresses, and skirts. When those colors are filled up, I can't buy any more of that type of clothing unless I donate some. It's saved me not only from clutter but from some excessive shopping!


I'd like to add on the magazines- if you need to keep them you can always tear out the stuff you're wanting. I use an accordian file to file them (or you can use a 3 ring binder) & date them. After 6 months if I haven't used the recipe, organizing or work out tip I toss it.


With the magazines, I've bumped it up a step, I scan the articles/recipes I'm interested in and save it digitally. Then I can give the magazines away intact.


I hate to be negative, but it seems these tips are a little too Simple. If you've got boxes empty in the garage you probably don't have clutter or you'd be using them. The magazines idea almost goes without saying to toss the old. The clothes hanger issue, usually when there's clutter there's 2 or 3 closets and boxes of clothes you don't wear.
This seems more like maintenance steps. I was hoping for some root of the problem ideas. Sorry, don't mean to be negative.


For Jennifer~when you come in my back door there's a small counter that was a horrible clutter collector with notices & stuff waiting for my husband, but there was a cabinet above it so I got my husband a large basket & started putting all his stuff in there. He got trained to use that so I no longer have a clutter problem there. For laundry, I systematically do one load at night & one in the morning when I have time to also put everything up. Hope these help.


I'd like to comment on the magazines.....once I thought "oh I will de-clutter my magazines" so I went though them and tore out everything I want to keep; instead of a nice section of "that" magazine on the book shelf, I had a bunch of papers in file so need more file space. Then never seemed to use them and also they aged much faster so ended up throwing them away! So, never again will through out my magazines-------until "I" decide I am through with them.


Sarah, your color-coded hangers is the best idea I've heard in a long time! I have a large family and between regular shopping, birthdays, and hand-me-downs our wardrobes quickly get out of control - and my laundry with them. The color-coding would let me (and them) know what we have, what we need, what we don't, and what needs washing. Thanks!


I agree with Jennifer! We are getting ready to move to another state and I don't have ONE room in our three bdrm, full bsmt and 2 1/2 car garage that we moved into three years ago THAT ISN'T FULL TO THE MAX. Yes, I do clean, but it is overwhelming for one person to do and work. I hate having to turn sideways to just get into a room! Do you think I get any help? Nope! And, to top it off... guess who gets the job of packing everything (with the exception of hubbys precious things that could fit in the back of a car.) Also, we are moving into a 2 bdrm apt about 1150 sq.ft. HELP!!!!

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