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How to Unclutter Your Home

Keeping your house free of clutter can be a challenge—here are some tips to help you unclutter your clutter!

Keeping your house free of clutter can be a challenge—here are some tips to help you unclutter your clutter!

Where Do We Begin?

It's a new year, and let's face it—we all have those closets, drawers, doodads (dusty knick-knacks) that lurk around our homes and that no one will ever see. How many times have you opened a closet door, and everything in the closet started attacking you? Even the tidiest person has a clutter spot. It may be a pile of magazines or ten remotes to all of your electronics bunched in a pile.

My biggest horror is clothes. I have gone up and down so many times in sizes, but I think that if I keep the smaller sizes, I will get in them again one day. Wishful thinking on my part.

Some closets are nowhere near Hoarders Buried Alive, but you look at them, and they could be. I am a closet hoarder. Admission will set you free. If I can't use it or wear it, it goes in a closet somewhere until I want or need it, but I will never need it.

One of the best places to start is your bedside table. Get rid of everything in there that is just hanging around. You may feel your closets are too far gone to start with, and that is okay. You can start with something small like your bedside table or medicine cabinet.

Get rid of expired medications. I put my nail polish in my bedside table and some I had for years, so they went in the trash. The problem you may find is because you are throwing things away, you want to replace them. DON'T! Replacing them is just putting the clutter back into a space. Learn to only buy what you need at that time.

I used to buy 20 bottles of shampoo because I needed them all because they were on sale only to have them stay in a closet until I needed to use one. And once one was gone then I replaced them with 20 more. So now I had 39 bottles. You can see how this ends up being a clutter issue.

A picture-perfect bedside table—if we could only keep our bedside tables so nice and neat!

A picture-perfect bedside table—if we could only keep our bedside tables so nice and neat!

Getting Rid of Things You Don't Need

The only way to unclutter is to be willing to get rid of what you don't need. My favorite go-to is eBay for my clothing. Although you may feel like you have lost your best friend by parting with your 15-year-old shirt, there is money to be made on eBay.

Selling on eBay

The hardest part of eBay (because one man's junk is another man's treasure) is taking pictures of all your junk and adding a price. If you download the app on your phone, it is easy.

If you have a lot to place on eBay, it will take you some time, and if you are a first-time seller on eBay, they will only allow you 10 items to sell at once with no insertion fee. This is because they have to see how your product sells and the number of good reviews you get on products someone has bought from you. It really can be a pain in the beginning, but once you have it set up, it's easy. Of course, you can always put more on there, but you will pay an insertion fee.

Selling on Posh

Another website that you can sell your clothes on is Posh. This is not a bidding website like eBay. I have bought a lot from Posh, but I have not ever sold anything on there. With all websites like this, you have to pay a fee. Postage is usually bought at a discount, and with eBay, you can print the postage right from your computer.

There is no point in uncluttering clutter if you are just going to replace it. Use everything that is left until it is completely gone, then buy new. Only buy what you will need or use.

A closet of cheer—how we dream of a closet so nice.

A closet of cheer—how we dream of a closet so nice.

Removing Clutter to Make Way for an Organized Closet

Not everyone is a closet hoarder because some of you keep your closet so clean that dust can't live in there. Imagine everything so neatly folded and placed in its own place.

When I do clean out my closet, all my clothes are arranged in color order. It makes it easier to find what you are looking for when you are getting ready for work.

Closets are one of the biggest hoarding areas in your home—the garage as well.

An organized garage is so much more useful than a cluttered one.

An organized garage is so much more useful than a cluttered one.

Organizing Your Garage

We all know that our men have to have a man cave and that most of the time, that is the garage. Ours went from being a garage to a family room that is the catch-all because we don't have a shed yet. Once we get a shed, then all of the clutter in the family room will be clutter in the shed.

Organizing a garage is probably going to take you a few days. Plan out your attack on the garage as if you were moving. Box up stuff such as cleaners, paint, and other loose things until you can find the right place to put them. Boxes are much easier to look at than a pile of junk in the corner.

Buy some plastic totes. These can weather many storms, and they hold a great deal. You can then neatly place them on top of each other for the time being instead of looking at everything thrown around.

We had container after container of nails, screws, bolts, and gadgets. I bought plastic cases that had compartments in them, sort of like a sewing box. I took everything and separated it piece by piece, and then placed them nicely on a shelf on top of one another. That in itself was worth the money I spent on the containers. I could throw away all the tins we had, and that cut down on space.

If you have a garage full of yard tools, hang them on the wall. Bicycles can also be hung on the wall. A good Saturday cleaning spree for a garage may end up in getting rid of your 30-year-old tools that are rusting and falling apart.

I know it's your man's space, but sometimes you have to take control. I guarantee by the time they are missing it, a year or two has gone past, and then you just say I haven't seen it.

Unclutter your tools so you can find them quickly.

Unclutter your tools so you can find them quickly.

Uncluttering Your Toolbox

How many times have you looked for a hammer or screwdriver, and you know you have 20 but none to be found? No one knows where they are, and no one claims to be the last to use it. I finally got tired of it and made my own toolbox and dared anyone to touch even a piece of it.

Men and tools are probably one of the hardest things to deal with. They need a million tools, but because they couldn't find the one screwdriver, they have to go buy another.

There was a tool belt hanging in the garage, and it was empty. There was also a toolbox that was filled with everything but tools, so I decided enough was enough and dumped everything out, and as I found tools, I either put them in the tool belt or in the toolbox. You would be surprised when you are going through your garage, just how many tools you have and some I didn't even know what they were used for.

The most used tools went in the tool belt, such as screwdrivers, hammers, and an electric drill. The rest I put in a toolbox labeled. It is a constant battle of put it back where you got it from, but it has kept the clutter to a minimum.

Keeping your pantry organized saves time.

Keeping your pantry organized saves time.

Cleaning Your Kitchen and Pantry

My real pet peeve is the kitchen drawers because the silverware is just thrown in there any kind of way, and pot lids can never be found.

I finally found a way to make everyone put things where they belong, starting with the silverware. All the silverware that goes in the dishwasher must be placed in their respective places. Forks with forks and spoons with spoons. It's the only way I can ensure things to be put in the silverware drawer correctly.

Pot lids are placed in the drawer in the stove and pots and pans are placed by biggest to the smallest on top of each other.

My pantry was a nightmare. There were 50 cans of beans but nothing else (of course, this is an exaggeration). Every time I went grocery shopping, I would add to the already existing cans.

There is nothing wrong with stocking your pantry, but when you have more than ten cans of the same vegetable or any other thing, it's time to use what you have and restock as it is gone. When replacing things in your pantry, remember to rotate your stock with the newest being in the back. It is the same method as done in the stores.

If you keep up with your kitchen as needed, you won't have to worry about it constantly.

Keep your refrigerator cleaned out. Throw out any leftovers that are more than three days old. Yes, I know you are going to eat it, but a month later, it will be growing with mold.

Organizing the filing cabinet is one of the most challenging tasks!

Organizing the filing cabinet is one of the most challenging tasks!

Organizing Your Paperwork and Filing Cabinet

I always leave the filing cabinet for last because this is the biggest horror in my house. Papers upon papers and some that are 20 years old. So which ones can you get rid of that you will never need?

Any papers that are over 7 years old can go. Tax returns that are 7 years older or more can go. The IRS only audits back 7 years. Receipts, books for electronics, and other instructions that are over 7 years old can go because the manufacturer's warranty has expired. You will spend less money replacing the item than having it fixed.

Receipts no more than a year if even that long. Most places have a 60-day money-back guarantee and that is it. If any papers are years old, get rid of them.

My filing cabinet is the equivalent of a mass murder of paper. When I go through it, I find things not even in the correct file. This is probably more stressful to me than my closet.

Get in there and clean it out. Find space for this year's hoarding of paper. If you really feel you can't depart with it, then find a box to put it in and place it in your nice clean closet on the shelf.

When It's Done, It Is Done

Yes, uncluttering your house takes everyone's part to make sure it stays that way. Like every other new year resolution, one of them is to get your house organized. The only way you can accomplish this and keep it that way is to do it continuously. If you just let it go again, it was pointless.