- The other side of a pair of lost earrings
- Scraps of wrapping papper
- Cards people have given you with no sentimental value
- Receipts you don't need
- Ticket stubs
- Socks with holes
- Old t-shirts
- Leftover change
- Dried flowers
- Hair elastics that have lost stretchiness
- Hair accessories you don't use
- Shoes that don't fit or that you don't wear
- Extra photo prints
- Little knickknacks (designate a bowl and fill it)
- Kitchen things you don't use
- Cooking utensils you have two of
- Tired bras
- Scarves you never wear
- Clothes that don't fit
- Gifts you don't like
- Old towels
- Old makeup
Do you go to great lengths to hide your mess from visitors? For example, you stuff all your clutter in your spare bedroom and don't let anyone see it so they are none the wiser. There are two types of people who do this: perfectionists and people who just don't think it's worth it to be organized. For the perfectionists, they think if they can't do it perfectly, they're not going to do it. The people who don't think it's worth the effort simply don't think it's a priority and it doesn't impact their life in a big way.
Solution: First, "get over yourself!" said the organization expert. Second, get a friend (wine optional) and make decluttering a fun activity. But don't ask someone in the family or who lives in the same house as you to help because that can cause tension, warns Walsh. Make sure you offer to go over to your friend's place the following week to declutter. Third, start small so that it's not overwhelming. Perhaps you can start by clearing out your bedside table or your bag.
You have endless piles of magazines, books, and more. Don't beat yourself up over missing out on special tips, because Walsh jokes that there are only three original ideas in the world and magazines print them over and over again. Sooner or later, you'll come across the same information again.
Solution: Walsh only keeps two back issues of a magazine, and if he decides to keep a new issue, he will throw away an old one so he will only have two copies of the magazine. As for books, if your shelf is full, make sure every time you buy a book, you give one book away. Decide which ones are important to you and keep those.
Is paperwork adding too much clutter to your home? Keep reading for seven tips on going paperless from Kiplinger.
If you have a smartphone, scanner, and computer, you have all the tools you need to banish paper clutter from your life. We've rounded up ways to digitize records and receipts, as well as cut back on paper bills and financial statements. The payoff: you can more easily organize your files, photos, and miscellaneous pieces of paper, and you’ll be able to access them with the click of a mouse or tap of an app. Plus you are likely to save money on paper and printer ink.
1. Scrap the small stuff
Get a handle on paper receipts with tools that save and categorize them. With the free Lemon app (available for Android phones, the iPhone and iPad, and Windows Phone), you just snap a photo of a receipt and add a label — for example, “Personal” or “Business.” Lemon arranges receipts based on your labels as well as the type of spending the receipt reflects (such as “Food and Dining”), and you can view a breakdown of the information on the app and at Lemon.com. If you don’t have a smartphone, you can email receipts to your account or enter information from receipts manually.
Shoeboxed, which manages receipts as well as business cards, caters to small businesses but can be helpful for personal finances, too. The online tool has applications for Android devices and the iPhone and iPad (you can email photos to Shoeboxed from any phone with a camera and email capability). Plus, it integrates with several outside accounts, such as Evernote and Google, so that you can export data into them. Send five documents per month to Shoeboxed to have a human verify, at no charge, that the data pulled from the images of the documents is accurate (receipts submitted through the phone app go through verification). You can have more documents verified with paid plans that range from $10 to $50 per month or $99 to $499 a year. But you can always upload documents directly to Shoeboxed.com and skip data verification to keep using the tool free.
I was watching Peter Walsh, an organization expert, on the Oprah show, and he gave some pretty good tips for decluttering. I recently wrote about the places you should clean up in your house, but for more specific tips from Peter, read on:
- Back, Not Front: When you buy groceries, put the new ones at the back of the storage space. That way, Peter says, you'll be sure to use up the old items before you get to the new ones, and "you'll never find yourself with food items that are out-of-date."
- Clear Baskets: Have a place to keep everything whether it be in shelves or plastic containers. Use clear containers so that you'll be able to see what's in them.
- Slim Hangers: Use really slim hangers so that you'll have more space for your clothes in the closet. Peter used velour hangers so the clothes won't slip off.
- Flat Surfaces: Always keep the flat surfaces clean, because as soon as you give up on a flat surface — whether it be the floor, the tables, the kitchen counter — the moment it's not clear, it becomes clutter.
Clutter is expensive, because you spend a lot of money buying and storing it. Having clutter can also emotionally cost you — the sight of things lying around unused or messing up your house may cause you stress. Here are some places you should consider cleaning up:
- Closet: I'm sure you have a couple of pieces that you can't fit into or that were in fashion, like, 10 years ago. Start afresh and either sell, donate, or throw them away. Remember, you can help someone out (and get a tax refund) if you give it away to places like the Salvation Army.
- Computer: Come on, admit it. There's plenty of stuff in your computer that needs to be thrown out — old word documents, emails, and online coupons you haven't used. Clean up your computer to make way for more memory space, and sell your unused coupons on CoupRecoup. Make sure to freshen up your online accounts as well like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn so you can use them more efficiently.
For more places that could use some January cleaning, read on!
Plastic bins got you down? While the massive Rubbermaid tubs are beyond helpful for basement stashing, they aren't exactly showstoppers when plopped down by the front door. Come check out all of the other storage solutions that are just as simple but much more charming than a big ol' straw basket.
I'm currently in the process of organizing my closet, but because entropy is inevitable, there's been a lot of deliberation about what system works best for me. I've figured out how to best organize my hangers, and am trying to be diligent about hanging my clothes back up after I try them. And, I've organized my tops and sweaters by color.
But I'm still working on the shoes; I think I have a gene that prevents me from keeping them in order, or at least looking neat. There are a few other war zones in my house that need to be handled with a peace treaty of some sort as well, particularly the garage. How about you? What area of your home needs to be organized, or reorganized? Where do you need to implement an actual organization system (inbox, outbox, labels, etc.)? Do you have any spots that are truly out of control? Are you disorderly to a point where it affects your efficiency? Tell me by commenting below!
One of the most sensible ways to deal with clutter (and consumerism) is to abide by this rule: "Every time you bring something new into your home, something else must leave." Since I bring you wonderful home décor products day in and day out, you'd laugh in my face if I told you to stop shopping — wouldn't you? But, if you get in the habit of recycling or donating one possession before you bring home another, you'll not only prevent clutter in your home but you might actually feel good about yourself. That's not to say that when you finally save up for an ottoman, you should get rid of your matching armchair, but you should routinely get rid of things you genuinely don't need or want. Just as you'd organize your desk, keep an outbox of things you can part with. It's the only healthy way to purge.
This month, I've been offering you tips to get organized. At my house, we've been dealing with too much of our clutter by simply stacking it in the garage. This has led me to wonder where everyone else keeps their clutter and junk. Or maybe you're that very smart and organized person who doesn't have any clutter in your house at all — and if that's the case, I've very envious indeed!