Thanks for visiting my blog. Hope you find some helpful hints for organizing your time and space. My passions are to help you make home a refuge instead of a crisis center, and to help you function in peace rather than chaos - at home or at work. I have switched my main blog to 1-2-3 ... Get Organized on WordPress, so please visit me there.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Create No-Clutter Zones Where Clutter is Off-Limits

Yesterday I spent some time on the phone doing some virtual organizing talking about this very topic! It's universal, isn't it?

Do you have areas in your home that are clutter magnets - coffee tables, the entry table, the dining room table? Places where people drop their stuff instead of putting it away?

Declare certain places to be no-clutter zones, especially those that are visible when you enter your home. It's depressing to walk into your home after a long day and see a mess!

How to do this? First, solve the underlying problem of not having designated places for clutter, if applicable. Here are some ideas to reduce clutter coming into your house:

- Keep the mail in your hand until you dispose of it into various containers: recycling bin, trash, bills and items that need attention. This, of course, assumes you have such containers. 

Sort your mail while you're walking back from the mail box or as you enter your house. A few intentional moments will save a big pile of mail clutter! We have recycling containers in our garage, so some of our mail doesn't even enter the house.

- Create repositories for book bags, purses, briefcases, keys, coats and shoes. Hooks, shelves in an entry closet, a coat tree, a bench with storage, cubbies - whatever works with your space. If the entry point of your house looks like an explosion, spend some time figuring out a solution and train your family to use that solution!

- Don't buy things unless you need them. Avoid garage sales, thrift stores, and recreational shopping. Just because something is a great bargain doesn't mean you need to buy it!

The next step is to declare no-clutter zones. 

- Determine which surfaces will NOT collect clutter, no way, no how. That forces you to think through where that clutter should live. And it identifies those items that don't have a home. 

- Work on creating homes for everything. If you have too much stuff for everything to have a home, it's time to get rid of some stuff or get creative with additional storage.

- If need be, have a container for each family member in which their stuff can be deposited until they put it away. This is a short-term solution to clutter in common areas. At the end of the day, plan in a few minutes for everyone to empty their containers by putting their items away in the right place.

- If you are behind on clearing clutter, institute a 15-minute family clutter challenge one to three times a day until you get caught up. Set the timer for 15 minutes, put on some fun music, and have each person collect their own clutter and put it away. You may even want to give a prize for the most things put away. Is that rewarding the biggest clutter bug? Hmmm..... Oh well! You decide. :)

- Another option - leave the commercials on during your TV programs and declutter during those 2-3 minute periods. It breaks down a big job into bite-sized pieces. 

These are some ideas to help you get started. Here are some other ones:


3 Tips to Staying Motivated While Downsizing or Decluttering

6 Ways to Prevent Yourself from Bringing Clutter Home

Teaching Kids How to Sort and Declutter