Eliminating Clutter that Builds Up from People's Stuff

Eliminating clutter is a challenge for most of us, and the accumulation of people's stuff is the number one source of it in most homes. Why? Procrastination, distraction or no 'place'.

I come in the door, book in hand. I put the book down on the table while I hang up my coat. On my way back to pick up my book, I go to the mail, start sorting through - and the book is forgotten. Or, I say to myself - I'll get to it in a minute, but never do.

Learning to pay attention to the things we put down is a learned skill, and easier for some people than others. So, it's a good idea to develop other ways to declutter.

Give Wayward Objects a Home

The things in your house should have a home, and that home should make sense. If at all possible - it should be very close to where the item is used most often, and must be accessible to everyone who needs to use it.

For example, if you want the kids to put their toys away, don't put the toy storage on a high shelf that they can't reach, or inside one of those coffee tables with a lid (who really wants to clear off the coffee table every time someone wants to get or put away a toy?)

Children's coats, hats, mitts etc should be hung at their height.

To help you in eliminating clutter with style, there are hundreds of beautiful storage containers in every size you could want, at almost every price point. Check out IKEA, Storage Solutions, or your local department store. Craft and Home Decor stores often have imaginative products as well.

Look at different materials too - plastics, wicker, wood, beautifully-decorated cardboard boxes, china - something appropriate for every use and decor style.

Although different shapes are nice, my personal preference is rectangular because items fit more efficiently on shelves.

If the items you are trying to corral belong to someone else in the household - it might be best to discuss with that person where they should go. Even quite young children (as young as 3 or 4) may surprise you with how good their ideas are. Involving children also increases the likelihood that they will follow through with the plan for eliminating clutter in your home.

Develop a Routine for Eliminating Clutter that Accumulates

Some professional organizers suggest a container in each room to collect clutter, and then get everyone to put their stuff away at the end of the day. This does work for some people. In my experience though, this just provides an opportunity for even more procrastination, and becomes another place for clutter to collect and build up.

I find it's more efficient to go through the living spaces with a laundry basket every few days, eliminating clutter, and then 'delivering' the items to their owners for handling. Anything left in the basket after that was mine or general 'household' stuff that I could normally deal with quickly.

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